The idea of going partying on New Year’s Eve sounds pretty much terrible.
Whenever I go out on any of the drinking holidays (NYE, St. Patty’s Day, and Halloween, mostly), the bars are even more crowded, the people even more drunk, and the shoes more uncomfortable. No thank you.
I took it easy this go around, for two reasons: I hate crowds (see above) and because I was cheap when I booked my return airfare from Christmas and arrived in Houston around midnight the night before & had to work the next day. A full work day with only 3 hours of sleep doesn’t make for a very late night.
I stayed in and instead focused on what I want from the upcoming year and to reflect on my past year.
This past year was pretty legit from a travel/experiences perspective. I started off February visiting New Orleans to check out Mardi Gras festivities. In March I went to Estes Park, CO for a friend’s wedding. In April I traveled to the Italian countryside and basked in the sun while drinking fantastic wine. In September I went to Mississippi and Tennessee for a southern weekend of fried chicken and football. In October I went to Switzerland to enjoy mountains & fondue (and, of course,chocolate). Upon returning, I almost immediately went to South Dakota for a wedding and finally got to see Mt. Rushmore. And I went back to Colorado for Christmas.
I can’t believe I was able to do all this with only 13-14 vacation days per year! I do get every other Friday off, but it gave me new hope for what I can accomplish in 2019. For some reason, I had only really acknowledged Italy and Switzerland as “vacations”, but that simply isn’t true. With some planning, I think I can take some more local weekend trips and still take 1 or 2 longer trips.
With that in mind, I’ve come up with my (travel) goals for 2019:
1 – Maximize my vacation time as much as possible
Everyone knows that airfare is more expensive on the token long weekends (Memorial Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, etc). However, vacation time is more limited for me than money is. I need to keep reminding myself of this. I can’t keep squandering my long weekends just because airfare may be $300 dollars more than other weekends. Saving a vacation day or two is well worth spending a little more on airfare or hotels. That means I can do more!
I need to sit down, sometime this week, with my company’s holiday calendar and off-Friday schedule and look for 3 or 4 day weekend opportunities. With that information, I can figure out a budget for vacation days, keeping Thanksgiving and Christmas in mind. With a “vacation day budget” I can be an opportunist when good travel deals pop up!
2 – Take more weekend trips
I’m not originally from the South and there is so much down here that I haven’t experienced. I’m not sure all of this will be possible, but I would like to explore a little bit more. Some places I would like to check out (both in and out of the South) are:
Austin – a short drive from Houston, super dog friendly, and known for being weird (but in a good way). I live so close, I need to make the effort to go.
San Antonio – the Alamo, the River Walk, and wine country, and only two hours away. Again, I’m too close not to do it.
Houston – yes, I know I live here! But I think we often forget to be tourists in our own city. I really want to spend more time in and around Galveston, check out China Town, and see what else I’m missing in my current home.
Las Vegas – I have been wanting to go as an adult for ages. I haven’t been since I’ve been of drinking age, and I want to experience it from that side. Maybe a girl’s trip?
Orlando – I know it may sound childish, but I really want to check out Disney World. Plus the ocean isn’t too far away.
Boston – or anywhere else on the east coast. I really want to go in the fall to leaf peep and pick apples. And I love checking out college campuses and colleges in this region look gorgeous. Plus I’ve never had a lobster roll and they look delicious.
Jackson, WY (and Yellowstone) – I think this is where I want to go for my 4th of July trip. I still have plenty of friends in Wyoming so I think I could round up a good group. On the way I could swing by Laramie, as well!
Wild Card locations – Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah, or Charlotte. I’ve had all these locations on my mental wish list for ages. I think San Fran, Savannah, and Charleston are top 3, but I’ll probably just be an opportunist and wait for a good travel deal to pop up.
3 – Travel somewhere for immersion language learning
I’ve been studying languages on Duolingo for just about 4 years now. I’ve lost my streaks here and there, but I’ve been able to complete both my Spanish and Italian trees and start French and German trees. If you are also a Duolingo user, feel free to add me as a friend here. In both my primary languages I have about a 3rd grade fluency for reading, but speaking and listening are both still really hard for me.
I want to be truly, genuinely conversational in a language and I know that being surrounded by it is the best and quickest way to accomplish that. Because of that, I would like to travel to Italy or Mexico and take a week-long immersion class.
I’m initially leaning towards Italy, but I’ll see how the year goes.
4 – Continue expanding this blog
I’ve thought about starting a blog for ages now. I finally started publishing in late 2018 and I’m really enjoying it so far. I want to write good content, build up my following base, and figure out how to navigate social media as the year progresses.
What are your travel goals for 2019? Do you have any strong opinions on my weekend locations written above? Share below 🙂