7 Travel Resolutions for 2020

Every year I make the usual resolution about losing weight that never happens so instead this year  I made a fun list of travel goals that I have for myself. I feel that writing them down makes a big difference because it makes it more concrete and it's something I can look to hold myself accountable to make sure I achieve this list.  I want to consume less and instead focus on spending money on experiences and travel, not things/clothes. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to some really amazing places already  (and never cared about a passport stamp or will add the number to my IG bio as some badge of honor) so my goal is to continue that journey of quality travel experiences.

1. Learn more about points and miles
2020 is the year that I travel for free on points. My goal is to go more places while spending less money. I've had a few trips in the past where I traveled on points. Ten years ago I went to Hawaii for Christmas with my mom and that whole trip was on points but it took me 5 years to earn those points since I travel very little for work.  But I've been learning more about travel rewards and how you can earn them and will be traveling smarter this year. I made some changes last year that have enabled me to take two free international flights this year!

2. Travel Deeper and Slower
I like to really get to know a country and spend a long block of time in one place when I travel so I experience the culture like a local. So I'm not one to do a multi-country tour of Europe seeing just the capital in each country. I like to go to one country and travel around it to really get to know the culture. I did this in Holland and  Portugal.  One city doesn't tell you everything about a country and one day in a city is not enough time. While I have yet to stay in an AirBNB, I recently discovered AirBNB experiences where you can book tours directly with locals.

3. Wake Up Early
I like to make the most out of my vacations so instead of sleeping in I try to wake up early for sunrise which isn't something I can see at home. I get the best pictures at sunrise because all the popular sites are empty, so there's no one in the background of my pics and the light is perfect for photos. In Miami, I like to sit on the beach and watch the sunrise. I'm not going to lie it hard getting up early but it's worth it. These have always been my favorite memories of my trips. The first picture below is of London's Tower Bridge at sunrise.

These pics I took of Miami at sunrise. I booked a 5am Orangetheory class then went to the beach afterwards and surprisingly there were a couple other people there. Sunset is on the other side of the island of Miami so you don't get this color at sunset. No, I'm not a morning person, setting a 4am alarm is not easy. It's just a matter of going to bed early.

4. Travel Somewhere New
I want to go off the beaten track with my trips and go to places that aren't super popular on Instagram. This year I'm traveling to Oaxaca, Mexico;  Doha, Qatar, and Puglia, Italy (below). Next year I want to go to Gdansk, Poland (my homeland), Cartagena, Colombia, Banff, Canada, and not so popular places in France.

5. More Weekend Trips
I plan to travel more by taking more weekend trips. I used to go to NYC once a year, last year I went 3 times and loved it so much! This year I want to do 2 trips to NYC and one trip to Charleston, SC using points for free hotel stays.

6. New Travel Gear
I updated my travel gear. I've been using the same pink suitcase for over a decade and it's held up well so I was hesitant to replace it but I wanted a suitcase with 4 wheels. Then I got a pink carry-on to match along with a bunch of other pink travel accessories. I also bought a collapsible water bottle so I can travel more sustainably and not buy bottled water in airports. I heard a story of a woman who took the airport shuttle home and another guest on the shuttle took her suitcase off the van but she didn't discover it until her stop! Her suitcase unfortunately didn't have a luggage tag on and she never got her suitcase back. I think if you have a unique looking suitcase, it decreases your risk of someone accidentally taking your suitcase. I know someone else who got a photo wrap of her face for her suitcase. lol  I bought luggage tags that have my photo on it because I once picked up someone else's pink suitcase thinking it was mine, but stopped when I saw her photo luggage tag. Here are the luggage tags on my suitcase and a close up clearer shot of it.

7. Better Photography
I've set some photography goals for myself. I'd like to start using more props in my photos such as flowers, hats, food, etc because they make a photo more interesting. I want to take some more spacer photos for my insta grid so every pic isn't always a pic of my smiling face. By that I mean breaking it up with some scenery shots, a close of a fashion detail, or a packing flatlay. I want to try new poses to mix things up. Use the rule of thirds so I'm not always in the middle of the photo but to the side of it. I also want to post more monochromatic color schemes in my insta grid so each row is of the same color. I do this by making an effort to look for all these colored backgrounds when I travel so I have the full rainbow of photos available to choose from. I already do this a little, the first screenshot shows a row of green and purple, in the second screenshot I did 2 rows of pink and one row of stripes. I really like curating pictures from my trips to flow together.

I follow a food blogger who said she likes to take a cooking class every time she travels. I love to cook and that sounds interesting, but I don't want to give up half a day on vacation to do that.  Then I thought why don't I look into booking photography tours, so that is something I'm going to try. When I went to Amsterdam  I felt the lighting was so tricky since all the streets are so narrow and there's so many shadows. I thought it would have been so useful to be there with a photography expert who can explain the best way to capture the city.

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