THE BLOG
01/04/2013 07:39 am ET | Updated Mar 06, 2013

Change How You Travel In 2013

Unlike typical New Year's resolutions such as losing weight, quitting smoking or training to run your first marathon, which -- let's be honest -- are often times hard to keep, I offer here three tried and true travel resolutions that are fun and much easier to adopt! While many of you may resolve to travel more frequently, perhaps to more exotic locations, or to travel at all, there are easy and fun ways to maximize the opportunities inherent in any travel experience. If your goal for 2013 is to take the vacation of a lifetime or just to make the most of even a seemingly prosaic trip, these three tips will help you keep your resolve and add considerable value to your experience.

Exceed the ordinary by not traveling ordinarily. When you visit a new place, there are usually a handful of touristy sites to see and a myriad of cultural ideologies to learn. While embracing these aspects of a new location is the ordinary experience in educational travel, there are countless unconsidered modes of transportation that can turn an ordinary trip into an extraordinary, more immersed and authentic experience. If you seek a clever variety of ways to get around -- mix it up -- especially those which bring you closer to the terrain, the locals and their daily customs, good things will happen. Whether you move about by foot, Segway, bus, pedicab, kayak, boat, zip line, bike or even a hot air balloon, you will see your destination and its people through a new and entirely more rewarding perspective. Dare to veer off the tourist path and you will be richly rewarded!

Travel with a theme. Decide to travel with the lens of a specific theme and ironically you will actually see and learn more. No matter where you visit, you can't go wrong when allowing yourself the opportunity to engage with locals -- and thus taking a thematic approach makes that happen. For travelers looking to take their trip beyond an ordinary vacation to an educationally profound level, commit to preparing for it within the context of a specific theme. For instance, your theme when traveling to a foreign city could be "origins," meaning your trip is guided by your search for the roots of culture in everything you encounter. With such an approach, you seek to learn the real story behind the local cuisine, art and architecture, as well as the new customs you witness, and peculiarities of lifestyle which you notice.

Depending on where you are, you might of course add the back-story of local flora and fauna, geology and other natural wonders. By being more specific in determining what it is that you want most out of your travel, you dramatically increase the chances of creating those magical spontaneous and authentic moments -- the ones that make educational travel so special. Naturally, this approach requires added preparation, most especially determining who might be your best local guide, but it so leverages your opportunity that it is always worth it for the traveler interested in going beyond the ordinary.

Dare to travel locally as if you were a tourist, with an edge. If your resolution this year is to take a trip -- but fear your lack of time or money will permit you from reaching this goal -- don't be discouraged! You do not have to leave the country, city or even your town to embark on a new adventure. Routinely, most of us forget that the very area in which we reside is rich with opportunities for exploration, adventure and fun which happen as well to afford dramatic learning opportunities. When we become accustomed to our surroundings, it's very easy to overlook the beauty, culture and even the foreign and sublime in the nooks and crannies right outside our front doors.

No matter your locale, there are countless museums, unusual stores, neighborhood restaurants and parks and most importantly, people that can enrich your local journey! If it turns out you can't afford to take that trip you've always wanted, take a trip downtown instead, by yourself or with others, and resolve to learn something entirely different. Approach the ordinary in an extraordinary way. Frequently, plotting such a venture with a buddy yields powerful results as you will surprise yourselves with how cool your home is if you actually see it as a tourist, but with an insider's advantages. Of course, if you are able to take that trip to an exotic foreign destination, by all means, have at it -- and heed any of the above tips to maximize your travel experience!

If traveling is one of your resolutions for the New Year, and you can afford to take that trip, your next logical step is to pick a vacation that's right for you or for you and your family. If your goal is to travel abroad, or you're looking for a particularly personal approach to travel, Chill Expeditions offers fantastic, unique, customized and affordable educational adventures for families, schools and travelers to spectacular destinations throughout Central America, South America and Spain.

To learn more, visit ChillExpeditions. Happy New Year and hope you get to do something beyond a vacation in 2013!