The New Year is a time to enjoy a fresh start. We all love the prospect of a clean slate and the feeling of hopeful, new beginnings. Are you planning a travel escape in 2024? As you map out your next trip to your destination of choice, do it right! This is the perfect time to create some New Year’s travel resolutions that will help you plan your best trip to date! Read on for our best advice on creating a new philosophy on travel for 2024.
1. Get in Touch with Nature
We are all navigating stress these days. Research shows that time in nature can help reduce stress levels. This year, a rewarding resolution might be to include more Vitamin Nature on your travel itinerary. Luckily, the United States is full of many gorgeous National Parks, waterways, and trails. From the beautiful waters, parks, and hiking trails in Queen Anne’s County and Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, to the raw natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, there are endless possibilities to experience American nature while you travel.
Whether you love ocean beaches, peaceful lakes, majestic mountains, or wooded trails, State Parks are an amazing option. Allegany State Park in the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York make fun vacation destinations for biking, camping, kayaking, rowing, ice skating, or cozying up by the fire in a lakeside cabin. The Finger Lakes National Forest in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State offers another 65,000 plus acres of protected land, including over 18 trails for horseback riding, walking, and hiking. These trails turn into snowmobile and skiing paths in the cold season. If you enjoy waterfalls, farm-to-table food, fishing, or hunting, these regions of New York are wonderful destinations.
Along the Eastern coast of the United States, New Hampshire White Mountain National Forest is another fantastic place to enjoy pristine, protected waters, stunning mountain views, and protected wildlife. The White Mountains feature close to 150,000 acres of Congressional wilderness area and 67 lakes. On the West Coast, the red cliffs of Utah’s Zion National Park are another uniquely American nature site to see. Nature is healing and will make your trips unforgettable– while also making for some brilliant photos!
2. Educate Yourself Along the Way
If you are traveling anyway, why not resolve to learn as you go? Another worthy New Year’s travel resolution is to soak up some education each time you travel within our beautiful nation. If you have kids, this will help their minds grow. If you are traveling solo or with adults, remember that it’s never too late to learn something new!
Have you ever thought of visiting Chicago? Stay in the lush suburban Chicago Southland and you’ll have access to a range of educational outings. Are you a sports buff? Visit historic Cooperstown, New York’s National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, along with the Farmers’ Museum, the Fenimore Art Museum, or Hyde Hall. While there, you can check out nearby Cayuga County and see the one and only Harriet Tubman’s home.
As you brainstorm educational travel ideas, another spot to research is Greensboro, North Carolina. The area is rich in American history, which you can explore at the Greensboro History Museum. The area also features the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Historic Magnolia House took in Black American travelers during the Jim Crow era. If you love art, you and your fellow travelers might love the Elsewhere Museum or the Greenville Center for Art. Greensboro also features a nice children’s museum.
Another unique educational trip option is traveling to Cody, Wyoming. This is a dream destination for those who are curious about American Western cowboy history and culture! Ever visit a rodeo? Dream of horseback riding? You can do that and more in Wyoming. You can also learn about founder Buffalo Bill and the culture and art of his era at the five amazing museums included in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
3. Support Local Businesses
Supporting local business is something that many of us make an effort to do since the pandemic and its harsh impact on small business owners. Why not spend your money supporting local businesses while you travel this year? This New Year’s, resolve to put money in the pockets of communities and families whose businesses you believe in. Their products, goods, or services will come from the heart, and you’ll enjoy the satisfying feeling of knowing you helped local businesses thrive! This is also a wonderful way to travel because you can experience a genuine taste of local culture.
For example, if you travel to the wild beauty of Fairbanks, Alaska, you can celebrate solstice or Christmas at the actual North Pole. Here you’ll find a wide array of local crafts, foods, and winter activities that have been cultural traditions for ages. Or, consider the capital city of St. Paul, Minnesota– another area known for fun local experiences such as the Gilded Age-themed Holidays on the Hill Tours and many local winter and holiday festivals, foods, breweries, and shops. Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory is yet another American travel site that is rich with local businesses, eateries, and arts to support as you travel. The locally famous Northwest Cherry Festival is the perfect venue to taste local products and see the creativity of local business owners on display. It is a tourist’s dream when it comes to delicious local foods, chocolates, wines, and local art.
On that note, if you love wineries, consider supporting local award-winning wines from famous small wineries in the charming Finger Lakes wine region. Are you more of a seafood lover? Add Baltimore, Maryland, and the Chesapeake Bay to your list of potential travel goals! You can eat some world-famous boiled crab, crab cakes, and oysters, and generally have a delicious range of local culinary delights at your fingertips. Or, if shrimp is more your thing and you love beaches, consider eating local in Alabama’s Gulf Shores & Orange Beach region.
4. Keep Active
Staying active is great for both your physical and mental health, whatever your age. Travel can be extra fun when you incorporate endorphin-producing sports or physical activity! If you are an athlete, you may want to look up local, seasonal 5K races. If your mobility is limited, you can still find low-impact activities such as walking or swimming!
Consider Utah for mountain biking, canyoneering, ATV riding, hiking, or horseback riding against glowing vistas of the Great Basin, Zion National Park, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Plateau. The West Coast also offers opportunities for fun physical activity if you travel to the magical Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, near Seattle. In the warm months, enjoy hiking, biking, swimming or boating. In the winter months there are ample options like skiing, tubing, sledding or ice skating! If you have an active family, you will not run out of things to do.
Another charming and heartwarming vacation idea for physical activity is the Cadiz-Trigg County Kentucky region. Local Kentucky food is delicious– work off those calories by exploring local woods, glistening lakes, hunting grounds, and trails! Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana is another fun, unique destination that is walkable. Get your steps in while exploring the shops, museums, and local attractions, or check out the awe-inspiring natural landscapes of the region.
Eastern attractions in astute New York, New Hampshire, and New Jersey also offer land and sea adventures such as fishing or ice fishing, hunting, camping, skiing, mountain hiking, ATV riding, and more.
5. Don’t Break the Bank!
Whatever type of travel you book this year, remember that you don’t have to break the bank to have fun! Budget-friendly travel is possible. Planning ahead can help. Research your ideal destination. Have access to a senior or military discount? Use it! If you are a member of AAA or AARP, ask them about discounts on flights and lodging.
Contacting your target area’s chamber of commerce or tourism board can also be useful. Finally, don’t forget to grab your free travel guide. TravelGuidesFree is here to help you enjoy this new, fresh year of adventure!