Eco-Travel Tips Life & Reflections

10 Travel Resolutions worth Keeping in 2017

New Year’s resolutions get a bit of a bad rap, don’t they. January 1st comes around and, unsatisfied with our questionable life choices, we all rush out to stock up on juicers, gym memberships and online dating subscriptions. Come the following Saturday we’ve swapped our super green smoothies for gin and tonics, swapped the gym for the couch and swapped tinder for a new cat. It’s no wonder people are sceptical of the old cliched resolutions.

However, there’s something that I can’t help but love about them.

New Year’s Resolutions give us the chance to really reflect on the steps that we can take to improve our lifestyle and develop better habits in the New Year. For anyone interested in personal growth, the New Year is the perfect time to set some goals for the next 365 days ahead.

As travellers, there’s a lot of small steps that we can take to improve our lifestyle in 2017; to improve our health, our overall happiness and wellbeing, and to lessen the footprints that we make as we circumnavigate the globe. Here are a few travel resolutions that really are worth keeping in 2017.

Stop Buying Plastic Water Bottles

If there’s one thing that we need less of in the world, it’s more plastic. However, when travelling through countries with little access to clean drinking water, it can be difficult to stay hydrated without buying plastic water bottles.

This year for Christmas, I (strategically) bought Veeran a Steripen (so that I can use it too….) Steripens are awesome because you can use them with your own refillable BPA-Free bottle. The pen lasts for around 7 years and purifies your water in next to no time. Ours (I mean, Veeran’s…) came with an attachable filter too so it purifies and filters your water at once!

If you want to reduce your plastic consumption even more, I really recommend also investing in solid shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes and a female menstrual cup. This will save you money in the long, and ensure our grandchildren and great grandchildren can explore our beautiful planet, too!

Explore your own Back Garden

Bonnie Scotland

When I lived in Scotland, I barely saw even half of the country that I call home. With budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet, it can be significantly cheaper and more convenient to spend a week in Spain than a week road tripping in the highlands. However, now that I live abroad, there is so much of my own country that I long to see.

Travelling doesn’t always need to mean tropical beaches and 12-hour flights. I bet there is so much to see in your own country that other people would only dream of. If a big trip isn’t on the cards for you this year, then why not keep travel closer to home?

Start Saving for a Big Trip in 2018

Save Money Travel New Years Resolutions 2017

So many people will say that their New Year’s resolution is to travel more in 2017. That’s all well and good if you have the savings, but what if you don’t? Why not make this year a year of saving so that you can take the trip of your dreams next year!

Ever since moving to South Korea, I’ve become a huge advocate for saving money. Make 2017 the year that you start tracking your spending and encourage yourself to save for your trip by making mood boards on Pinterest or researching your destination on your favourite travel blogs.

Just £20 per week is over £1,000 in a year. That’s more than enough for return flights and spending money for a 3 week trip to Thailand!

Support Local and Independent Hotels and Businesses

Travel Resolutions 2017

If you’re ever in Kochi, stop in at Happy Camper and tell the guys I said hi!

In an increasingly globalised world, local businesses deserve all the support that they can get.

On your next trip, why not consider staying at a homestay. Not only is the money that you’re spending supporting local people, but you’ll learn a bit more about the culture and have a more immersive experience.

As for restaurants and coffee shops, break out your comfort zone. If you’re in a big city, consult local magazines rather than Trip Advisor to read about new restaurant openings. Scour the internet for more sustainable restaurants, or go a step further and find organisations that are truly making a difference.

Learn the local Language

Travel Resolutions

Travelling is the perfect opportunity to pick up a few new phrases for your repertoire. While you’re probably not going to become conversational in a 2-week trip, it only takes a tiny bit of effort to learn how to say Hello, Please, Thank You, Goodbye, Yes, No etc. Plus, the locals will appreciate that you’ve made the effort.

Say no to Exploitative Animal Attractions

Travel Resolutions

Safari: ok, tiger selfies: not ok!

It’s 2017 guys and it’s time to see an end to tiger selfies and elephant rides. Please please please please, if you want to visit an animal attraction, do your homework! Even places disguised as “sanctuaries” are often operating solely as commercial businesses. The more demand that there is for this kind of “entertainment”, the longer these organisations will continue to exist. Vote with your dollars and take your business elsewhere.

Overland Travel

Travel Resolutions

Train travel in India is so fun, you’ll never want to fly!

With the rise of cheap flights, a lot of the time it seems like flying between destinations is the best deal. (Prime example: see my previous point about exploring your own back garden.) You can save time and, fairly often, you can even save money.

However, this new trend of flying everywhere is extremely unsustainable for the planet.

I recently did an online survey and was shocked to see that, despite living in a tiny shoebox apartment, not having a car and being mindful about what I eat and consume, I still had a significantly larger carbon footprint than your average gas guzzling, red meat munching Brit or American. Why? Because I took so many flights this year.

As long as people keep creating this demand for flights, the cheaper they’ll become and the more they will rise in popularity.

If you have the time, I urge you to consider overland travel rather than flying. It’s so much better for the environment and, in some cases, it’s a lot more fun too!

If you’re heading on a backpacking trip, why not consider exploring a region that can be explored easily overland or focus on a continent rather than a multi-stop RTW trip. Eastern and Western Europe, most of South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Latin America are great places to explore without taking too many flights when you’re on ground.

As travellers, our carbon footprint is already pretty astronomical. This is one of the ways that we can most significantly reduce ours in 2017!

Pack Lighter

Travel Resolutions Pack Light Cycling Korea

There are so many benefits of packing light. You can save money on checked baggage fees, save time waiting on bags at the luggage carousel. Oh, and you don’t have to lug a huge bag around with you, either.

I love my Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 which is the perfect size to take as hand luggage. It’s roomy enough to fit clothes for multiple seasons, too. After hearing so many bloggers raving about them, I decided to order the Eagle Creek Compression Cubes for my next trip, too.

Consider Working Abroad

Teaching Abroad 2017 Travel Resolutions

“Just quit your job and travel” is a quote almost as cliched as “New year, New me!” 2017 is the year to start being a bit more realistic so, if your 2-week long holiday just isn’t cutting it anymore, why not consider working abroad rather than dropping everything to travel?

If you work for a company with offices overseas, you could try and get a transfer. Or, if you’re in the same boat that I was and don’t really know what on earth to do with your life, teaching English abroad can give you a great opportunity to save money, see the world and get your shit together!

Hate kids? The rise of the digital nomad life is upon us! Recently, I’ve been making a sustainable income online doing freelance writing work; work that I can do absolutely anywhere. There are actually so many jobs that you can do online, including social media management, graphic design and digital marketing. For inspiration, I recommend reading Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Workweek.

Do your Homework

Travel Resolutions

Taking tours with companies like Go Mowgli is a great way to brush up on your knowledge!

This year when you travel, try to learn a little bit about the places you visit before you go. I’ve been so guilty in the past of travelling to places and having no idea about any of the history. If museums aren’t exactly your thing, maybe read a fictional book with a historical backdrop so you can at least learn a little bit about the country.

Clue yourself up on the local customs and cultures. Even if you’re in an extremely touristy place, still try to be as thoughtful and mindful as you can be when you travel. Remember that you are a guest in someone else’s country. A little bit of R-ES-P-E-C-T never hurt anyone!


Let’s make 2017 the year that we all start taking a bit more care of ourselves and the planet. I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe hogmanay! Much love, and I’ll see you all next year. xxx

Travel Resolutions 2017

Keep on track and save this Pin for later!

Disclimaer: This post contains affiliate links. However, I only ever promote products that I know, use and love and that I hope you will love too!

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    1st January 2017 at 12:02 am

    These are all great resolutions and seriously things people can actually easily start doing! I love how many of these like stop using plastic bottles and ethical tourism are for a cause! Hope you have an awesome 2017!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      2nd January 2017 at 11:42 pm

      Thanks so much Megan, I hope you guys do too! Maybe our paths will finally cross this year 🙂 xxx

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    4th January 2017 at 1:49 pm

    This is such a lovely, refreshing post! There are tons of great ideas on here!! I’m personally gonna look in to the Steripen and work on packing lighter (I have a terrible back). These are all very doable, practical ideas and perfect for the avid or aspiring traveler 🙂
    Lindsay recently posted…Top Moments of 2016 – A Year in ReviewMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      5th January 2017 at 9:46 am

      Thanks so much for such a lovely comment, Lindsay! The steripen is amazing, I’m so glad that we have it now. I had to buy loads of plastic bottles in India and I felt terrible about it. Looking forward to the convenience of travelling with the steripen!

  • Reply
    Hallie
    6th January 2017 at 11:46 am

    Great list. I think everyone needs to be more aware of consumption and how to reduce it. The options you gave people are all great ones and they can totally start doing now. The animal adventure travel too.. ugh.. just not enough people know what those animals go through before people can even interact with them. Always good to point it out whenever we can!
    Hallie recently posted…Comment on Brewing Beer & Drinking It Up at Eudora Brewery by Claire SummersMy Profile

  • Reply
    Wendy
    6th January 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Funny how I was reminded with my 2017 personal Money Challenge in the middle of reading this post. So, yeah I had to pause and put money in my Money Challenge canister. There’s no goal for what to use it for but just to prove that I can do it:-)… I support the Say no to Exploitative Animal Attractions… I feel bad for our whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu. Even friends can’t wait for the opportunity to have a photo swimming and touching them and post them in their social media accounts. It was so different when we, tourists adjusted to the time of the dolphins freely dancing in the waters of Panglao, Bohol. We didn’t interact with them. We just watched with the engine of our motor boats turned off.
    Wendy recently posted…Seussical at Dwight School SeoulMy Profile

  • Reply
    Des
    6th January 2017 at 10:00 pm

    These are great ideas. I had a similar list I started implementing in my travels and just in everyday life in general. I always carry a reusable bottle with me at all times because saving the planet and hydration are both extremely important. I also love my DivaCup, it saves me so much money.
    I also wanted to say that not only is overland travel better for your carbon footprint, it also lets you mingle more with the locals and see more of the landscape. Taking a train across Europe, for example, lets you see so much more of it than you can from a plan.
    Loved this post.
    Des recently posted…2016 in life and travelMy Profile

  • Reply
    Shelley
    7th January 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Great list of travel resolutions for 2017. I confess that I own a Steripen and intended to use it on our RTW in 2012, but it just didn’t happen. Bad traveler. 🙁 I do however travel with carry-on size luggage whenever possible (though it’s much harder with a baby who would you believe also gets a baggage allowance!), and totally agree with you about saying no to exploitive animal attractions. We’ve skipped elephant rides, Tiger Kingdom and any number of these types of things in various countries, and don’t regret it one bit.
    Shelley recently posted…Resilience in Sirmione, ItalyMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      9th January 2017 at 10:01 am

      Thanks Shelley! I can’t believe that babies also get a luggage allowance.. that is insane! I would also have absolutely no regrets about skipping out on those attractions. No thanks!

  • Reply
    Karla
    7th January 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Cool list! I can totally relate with the “Pack Lighter”. I’ve been adapting the minimalist lifestyle. Being a traveler, having too much things is a hassle. As they say, “You don’t need more space, you need less stuff.” Have a great year ahead! ^^
    Karla recently posted…Korea Bucket List 2016My Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      9th January 2017 at 9:59 am

      Definitely, I agree. I have accumulated far too much stuff in Korea and want to get rid of it and start a fresh! I don’t ever want to own so much stuff again!

  • Reply
    Katie Featherstone
    8th January 2017 at 8:08 am

    This is great, thank-you! I am particularly happy you’ve included plastic and trying to fly less. It’s so important! 🙂
    Katie Featherstone recently posted…2016, thanks…My Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      9th January 2017 at 9:39 am

      Thank you Katie! I was so shocked when I read my carbon footprint. I always knew that flying was pretty horrendous for the environment but I didn’t realise how many omissions were omitted per person. Eeeek!

  • Reply
    Alla Ponomareva
    8th January 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Lots of great advice! Yes as travel bloggers its hard to advocate for change, especially since we fly a lot. I like your recommendation for land travel such as trains/buses/motorbikes/etc. If the time allows, train travel is my favorite, since it lets you hangout with the locals, see more of the country, try some local foods/snacks and make up for some fun stories down the road.
    Alla Ponomareva recently posted…Top allaponomareva.com posts from 2016My Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      9th January 2017 at 9:38 am

      Train travel is also my favourite. I travelled mostly by train in India and it’s definitely the best way to go. The trains there were so cheap and comfortable too so it was great. I loved all the food like samosas and chai that they brought on. So cheap and yummy!

  • Reply
    Ana Park
    8th January 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Hooray to supporting local businesses ~ been doing that for years and even more now that I’m a small business owner. Hooray to Steripen ~ got curious and they ship to South Korea. I don’t like purchasing so many plastic bottles myself but we recycle in South Korea and I hope that makes a difference. And hooray to knowing about the country we plan to visit ~ makes traveling more worthwhile to just not pose for photos but to learn a bit about a different culture makes us more accepting of our differences.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      9th January 2017 at 9:36 am

      Haha thanks so much for reading. I ordered my steripen from Amazon to Korea and never got charged any customs tax on it which was nice. Hope you have a great 2017!

  • Reply
    Star Lengas
    8th January 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Loved this post and gave me ideas for my own personal goal of reducing my carbon footprint — especially using shampoo bars & the steripen (I’d love to know how it holds up in “third world countries” before I purchase it, so I’ll be bookmarking your site for the update. Also, you’re so right about saving for 2018 — that $20/wk is gonna give me a nice fund for next year! ps. I pinned your post! 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      9th January 2017 at 9:35 am

      The shampoo bars are amazing! We’ve not used our steripen yet but I’m also curious on how it’s gonna hold up in places with kinda murky water. Eeeek. Good luck saving for your trip!

  • Reply
    Izzy
    9th January 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I love new years resolutions although my tradition is to spend the first week of the year meditating on what I need to resolve or promise to myself this upcoming year. You seem like a mindful traveler and those are the best travelers in my book. I love the one about doing your research, it baffles me how many people don’t take the time to do the research and then complain about how they didn’t see what they wanted to see or not have a good time! What is your big trip in 2018?!?! Mine is a month long experience in South Africa and the surrounding countries 🙂 Hope you have a great year!!
    Izzy recently posted…Meet Melchor Bernardo, Travel BloggerMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      10th January 2017 at 8:06 pm

      That’s a great idea, always best not to be too hasty! I’d love to hear what your resolutions are this year 🙂 I actually have a few big trips. We’re finally leaving Korea so Veeran and I are going home to (my home,) Scotland and then visiting his home in South Africa. We’re then heading to Central America to start our big South America trip that we’ve been saving for over a year for. Getting really excited to finally leave. When are you going to South Africa, maybe our paths will cross? That would be amazing!

  • Reply
    Matthew Collamer
    9th January 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Awesome resolutions! I like how you discussed being more mindful of out carbon footprints…after thinking about it, I realized that mine is huge, and I don’t feel to good about that. I’m also a HUGE Tim Ferriss fan, and I just recently read the 4HWW…great stuff! Thanks for all the actionable resolutions!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      10th January 2017 at 8:04 pm

      I got a rude awakening by how gigantic mine is! Eeeek.. makes me cringe just thinking about it. Thanks for your lovely comment and I hope that you have a great 2017!

  • Reply
    Rocio Cadena
    9th January 2017 at 2:35 pm

    What a great list Nicole! I especially like the explore your backyard and save up for a big trip in 2018. I plan to do just that as I found I was so focused on my writing aspirations during 2016 that I did very little exploring in Daegu, not even in my own neighborhood! I also spent a lot more money than I would have liked to on silly things, rather than stashing it up for what matters most – travel!
    Rocio Cadena recently posted…The Rosebud Diaries – End of Year ReflectionsMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      10th January 2017 at 8:03 pm

      I very rarely explore my own neighbourhood here in Masan which is a shame because it’s not a bad place to live. I agree that travel is one of the best things to put money away for. Good luck with your saving plan in 2017, and happy new year!

  • Reply
    Strycenkay (Kirsty Mac)
    11th January 2017 at 1:03 am

    KIRSTY MAC: We have been in Korea almost a year now and I am still no closer to learning the language. When I lived in China, I was out in the sticks so it was way more necessary. Here, it’s almost too easy to speak in English. It one of my new year’s resolutions! Great post.

  • Reply
    10 Practical and Useful Products for Eco-Friendly Travel - Wee Gypsy Girl
    13th January 2017 at 5:05 pm

    […] readers will recognise this from one of my last blog posts. This year for Christmas, I got a steripen for Veeran. (Because, let’s be honest, I want to […]

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