7 Travel Intentions For 2023
A number of years ago I started setting “travel intentions” to help guide my planning in the coming year. I call them “intentions” rather than “travel goals” because they’re less about checking a box on a list and *really* about being more…intentional.
This has become a fun habit as I wander through the fog of that last week of December, and I love being able to look back on the year and see how I did.
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I try not to make them exactly the same each year, though there will be some overlap. In fact, I’m purposefully leaving off two perennial intentions (getting my PADI certification and finally getting to Asia) since I keep failing at them.
Superstitiously I feel like if I take them off the list, maybe I’ll FINALLY do them…
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My 2023 travel intentions
This past year was actually pretty exciting travel-wise, despite taking the whole summer off to deal with some health stuff. It was a very roadtrip-heavy twelve months, including the Florida Keys, Ireland, and Greek islands. Though when it comes to my travel intentions, I didn’t do…awesome in 2022.
It was by no means a bust—I *didn’t* let restrictions keep me from traveling and I played around with travel videos a bit more—but I ended up not really achieving most of my 2022 intentions. I did, however, manage to fulfill some of my 2017, 2019, and 2020 intentions that has slipped past me in their respective years.
So without further ado, here’s what’s really “speaking to me” right now for 2023 travel goals.
1. Planning further ahead
I often start with dates in mind, and a vague idea of the type of trip, but then end up finding a destination that works and isn’t crazy expensive. That’s great sometimes, but it means that I don’t get to some of the places that I’m dying to go (for example, see my list for 2023).
So this year I’m going to work on finding a balance between the two approaches, and make sure I am purposeful about at least one or two of my trips—pick a destination at the beginning of the year, and find a way to make that trip happen.
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2. Plan at least one cool trip between November & February
Related to #1, SPECIFICALLY I want to get out ahead of the November-February timeframe…this always ends up being an accidental “dead” travel window for me because I don’t get my crap together (between holy days, Thanksgiving, winter break, etc.).
That 1) forces me to cram all my travel into just 8 months, and 2) means I miss out on some places that are really best during those months (like Antarctica and some southeast Asian destinations).
Don’t get me wrong, I usually manage to snag a few days at the beach somewhere in late December, but I’m talking about a real adventure. So here’s to planning ahead!
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3. Get better about using my companion passes
I have a couple Delta companion passes a year that usually end up getting wasted, and that is a crime. I will need to plan ahead better to make this happen. The biggest challenge is that they’d have to fly on the same itinerary as me, and right now that’s from Louisville. So…we’ll figure that out.
And this relates to a bigger theme, which is finding a way to travel with people again. I’ve been doing only solo trips the past few years, not really by design but just because I didn’t have anyone I cared about who was about able to come with me.
That’s fine, I love traveling alone, but you do also really miss out on something…being able to share a mind-blowing sunset with someone, share in a joke, make memories together.
And for a deep introvert like me, having someone who’s more outgoing and willing to chat up locals or push me to go out at night is really valuable. So I’m hoping to convince one or two friends to take an adventure with me this year!
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4. Be more mindful…and grateful
Even in everyday life I am sometimes bad at really soaking in the moment…my mind is often racing ahead to what’s next or thinking of logistics. And that can be especially true for travel.
I know I have an amazing jam-packed itinerary, and I sometimes think about what’s next vs. what I’m experiencing right then. I’m usually trying to capture amazing pictures and video from every angle, and need to be better at just appreciating where I am.
I’ve also realized that in the last couple years I’ve gotten a bit too bougie. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes splurging on an amazing hotel, business class flight, or top-tier experience is awesome, and I’m blessed to be able to do it (due to my non-travel career/life).
But it’s becoming too commonplace for me, to where I’m not appreciating the “regular” hotels, flights, etc. as much. It insulates me from “real life” too much as well. So I’m going to work on that as one of my 2023 travel intentions, having the right perspective of gratitude and not always upgrading.
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5. Take more long weekend trips
I did a great job of knocking out some longer (and awesome) trips in 2022…a week each in the Florida Keys, Ireland, and Greece, among other trips. But I failed miserably at quick long weekend jaunts.
One reason is that flights (especially domestic flights) were insanely expensive last year, so it made really short trips not make a lot of sense. But I didn’t even take advantage of easily drivable destinations like Nashville, Indianapolis, Lexington, the Red River Gorge, and tons of other spots within 3-4 hours of Louisville.
And this factors into my intention to be a better local tourist (featured on both 2020 and 2022’s lists). I don’t even know Louisville itself well enough despite living here for almost five years. So I WILL get better at that.
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6. Step out of my comfort zone
I used to be SO good about this! But sometimes I get so locked into my itinerary, or I’m just…tired and want to read and go to bed. I need to remind myself that I’M NOT 80 YEARS OLD!
I’m not talking about planning crazy adventurous things (I’m actually good at that), but more about missing out on spontaneous opportunities that arise. Like when the hotel owner in Naxos invited me to a friend’s baby’s Greek Orthodox baptism celebration and I ended up not going because it started at 9p and went all night. I was weirdly exhausted that day, but I’m still kicking myself about that.
I need to just say “yes” more, or force myself to seek out experiences (usually triggered by chatting with locals) that my introvert self typically wouldn’t.
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7. Get back to somewhere I love
It can be a temptation to always chase the “new and shiny”, adding to my list of countries and continents visited. I’m already fairly balanced in how I approach travel (and have returned to Portugal, Turkey, Ireland, Italy, and more). But I want to be more intentional about it in 2023.
Some favorite destinations that are on my short list for returning would be Prague (LOVE), Jordan, Chicago (it’s been too long!), and Paris (I’d like to do it better this time). And I am jonesin’ for a trip to Italy…I usually try and get there every couple years to brush up on my Italian, but haven’t been since late 2019.
I’ve already started thinking about how to bring these to life! I’d love to hear what’s on your 2023 travel goals or intentions list…what is exciting you, or what do you want to accomplish or get better at?
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