Well, it is officially the new year, and as many of you have probably being doing, I’ve been looking back over everything we did last year and all of the fantastic places we visited. Not only have I loved looking back on our travels, but it’s been really fun to see other people do the same on social media, sharing their travel highlights and things that made their year really special.
It’s actually given me some really good ideas for family travel resolutions for the new year; things that I always say I’m going to do when we travel, but either completely forget or never get around to. I’m not the greatest at keeping my new years resolutions (my healthy eating one went out the window with my morning chocolate biscuits!) but part of the fun of the new year is making these resolutions, and looking back next year to see if they’ve stuck. So here and my 5 family travel resolutions to try to keep when we travel this year.
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1. Keep more mementos
This was inspired by another mom on social media, who posted a picture of her daughter with all of the boarding passes she’s collected from her flights this past year. We’ve flown an awful lot this year, and yet I’ve only managed to keep one set of boarding passes from all of our trips. Similarly, we’ve been to amazing theme parks, visited museums and historical centers, and used different kinds of foreign currency, and yet I haven’t remembered to keep very much of it.
One of my favorite ways to display pictures from our travels is to use a shadow box, where I include photos as well as things like ticket stubs, foreign coins, and things like that – but this year I’ve been really bad at keeping those bits and pieces (take a look at other creative ways to display your vacation memories).
It’s really easy to stuff a boarding pass into your pocket as you board a plane, and then totally forget about it, but I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep hold of these things!
I just bought this to remind myself to keep all of our ticket stubs and other bits of paper in the new year!
2. Take more family photos with everyone in them
What I really mean is, take more photos with people other than the kids! My kids dominate my photos in everyday life, as well as our travel snaps, and there will be no doubt that they’ve traveled to these amazing places when they look back on the trips one day. As for me, there are literally entire trips where I don’t crop up in a single photo – there will be no evidence that I was even there!
I think every mom falls into the trap of not being in photos enough, since we’re usually the ones behind the camera, but this year I am going to find a way to be in more photos, whether it’s taking more selfies with them, or having passers by snap our picture.
I’m going to make sure I get our other traveling buddies in the pictures too; daddy, grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins – I’m going to try to make sure there is evidence that we were all in fact on the trip!
3. Try some new places and get everyone involved
I am a creature of habit, and if I go somewhere I particularly love, I immediately want to go back. Two places we seem to travel to every single year are England and New York City. We visit England every year because I grew up there, and my whole family still lives there, and New York City is my favorite place in the whole world (also home to my favorite ever dessert, Magnolia Bakery’s banana pudding!)
Although I don’t think I could go a year without visiting those two places, I would love to visit some new places this year as well. There are so many places in the United States that I’m dying to get out and see, as well an entire continents that we haven’t explored yet. My list of places I’d love to see this year include Chicago, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Amsterdam.
I’m also trying to get the rest of the family involved in deciding where we visit. My 7-year old Harrison has a map in his bedroom, and loves to point out the places we’ve been. Occasionally he’ll read about a place in a book, or see somewhere new in a movie, and ask me to point it out to him on the map, so I’ve started asking if he’d like to visit those places one day. This year he’s asked to visit Paris and the Grand Canyon. Who knows if we’ll get to visit all of the places on our lists, but it’s fun to plan, and definitely more fun to plan as a family.
This is the map that Harrison has; it’s perfect for kids, and he loves looking at it!
4. Enjoy the moment
I am absolutely terrible at doing this! When we visit somewhere new, I am always trying so hard to take pictures and video and get my kids as involved as possible, that by the time we leave, I’ve haven’t been able to spend any time actually enjoying the place myself.
We have photos from trips and I know I took them, but I have little memory of actually being there because I was so busy taking those photos!
I think social media makes this a lot harder; we want to share when we visit somewhere we’re really excited about, but then taking pictures and posting about a place actually takes away from really being there. I’m not going to say taking pictures and videos is going to stop – there’s no way! – but I’m certainly going to try to enjoy being in the moment a little more.
5. Keep a travel journal
I used to keep a journal when I was younger, and I loved it! It’s great – and a little mortifying at times! – to look back on things I was doing and how I was feeling, and I love that I wrote things down now that memories have faded.
When we travel, I’ll sometimes look back on pictures and have trouble remembering where we ate breakfast that day, or I’ll remember eating an amazing dessert someplace but not know where it was. I’m going to start writing down not only what we do each day, but how I feel about where we are and what we’re doing; whether I like somewhere or not, what the people are like, or fun little things that have happened that I probably otherwise won’t remember.
Harrison has a travel journal where he can draw pictures of things we’ve seen, or write down his favorite memories from a day, and I want the same thing for me! One day hopefully I can look back on these memories and be reminded of all of the amazing things we did when we traveled.