Happy New Year! For 2012, I resolve to:
- Monitor airfare specials more closely
I resolve to not let any more $300 round trip flights to Europe slip away. In 2011 a friend found a flight from Phoenix to Paris for less than $300 on airfarewatchdog.com. All she did was set up fare alerts and follow @airfarewatchdog on twitter. Other good websites are: kayak.com, cheapoair.com and farecompare.com
- Create a travel savings account
Call it a dream account, vacation account – whatever. I resolve to set aside a certain amount each pay period or month for vacation money – it might only be about $50 or so. This amount could be used for weekend getaways, or the spending money for souvenirs, shows, entrance fees, guided tours – any extras.
- Invest in better luggage
My luggage is too heavy. I’m not shipping off to war. True, it’s an extremely sturdy rolling duffle, but even if I only packed a couple of T-shirts, sneakers and a toothbrush, it would probably still be close to 50 pounds. I resolve to shop around for a lightweight rolling duffle or just a durable, yet roomy backpack.
- Use my camera less
I went to Costa Rica a few years ago, but didn’t find out about it until later when I uploaded my photos. Seriously, I spent way too much time with my eyes behind the viewer to enjoy what I was shooting. I resolve to capture the scenery less with the camera, and more with my memory. Enjoy the moment. When the time is right I can take some photos.
- Re-confirm reservations
Just when I think it’s safe to trust agents or websites, something goes awry. Having a confirmation number means nothing. I have been burned too many times. I resolve to remember to call one or two days in advance and re-confirm a reservation – especially for lodging, and especially for those discount motel chains, that I have reserved through third-party travel websites. When possible, call directly to the property’s front desk, not some offsite 800 operator. It’s helpful to get a name too.
- Be more spontaneous
I resolve to go with the flow more often. Let the adventure happen. It’s nice to have an hour here or there to linger at a sidewalk café, explore a historic hotel, make an unplanned stop, take a detour, talk to locals or simply gaze out on the view from a hotel window.
- Use public transportation whenever possible
Unless you’re sure you’ll be driving daily, why rent a car? Public transportation, hotel shuttles or taxis can take you almost everywhere. Taxis are plentiful, and usually cheap. Remember to agree on fares before getting inside. Check availability on buses and trains, too. I resolve to at least do the research and learn what mode is most cost effective — not automatically think I always need a rental car, only to have it sit in some expensive hotel parking lot.