The New Year is less than 2 weeks away and if you’re like us, we’re already thinking of the amazing travel experiences we want to have in 2014. We’ve gathered up a checklist of 14 Things You Gotta Do in 2014. Check it out!
1. Go back to your roots
This past year, YouTube musician Marie Digby traveled to Ireland to get in touch with her Irish heritage. Being half-Japanese and half-Irish, she had never “returned home” until she celebrated her 30th birthday. Like Marie, make 2014 a year of self-discovery and explore the different cultures that make you so unique.
2. Travel back in time
Alright, so we don’t have the TARDIS or a tricked-out Delorean to take us back in time. Yet many destinations around the world still have architecture and structures that throw you back to a different era. Visit the Great Wall of China on Contiki’s China Adventure to see how Emperors lived or walk through the cobblestone streets that gave birth to the Renaissance era in Italy on Contiki’s Italian Espresso.
3. Go One Place You’ve Never Gone Before
It’s easy to fall into the trap of going to the same places time and time again. In 2014, make it a mission to visit a destination you’ve never gone to before – maybe even a different continent! If you find yourself flocking to Europe, try your hand at Asia. If you’re always traveling as far as you can, try to stick locally and explore the United States (we have 50 states to choose from!) Whatever the case may be, you gotta make sure that 2014 stands out from any other year.
4. Visit a World Heritage Site
Whether you fancy seeing Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or the works of Antoni Gaudi in Spain, take a trip around the world and feast your eyes on the wonders of the world that have been given a special designation as unique and interesting places. There are over 980 different World Heritage sites to see, so time to start ticking off those boxes!
5. Attend a Major Sporting Event
If you can’t make it down to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, make an effort to attend a major sporting event somewhere around the world. Maybe you need to see the Running with the Bulls in San Fermin, or you want to root for your favorite football team in the United States, get your rear into cheer mode and set your sights on some sports!
6. Eat your way through a new city
We’re lucky that the United States is such a great melting pot of cuisine – but why not really discover the local food at the epicenter of it all? You can eat your way through the city. In the morning, have a local cup of coffee (or tea!) and then experience a traditional breakfast. Or you can be adventurous and try the crispy ‘cuy’ (guinea pig) in Peru, a Sacher torte in the famed Hotel Sacher in Vienna, or a Bavarian pretzel. Let your taste buds do the talking during your visit in 2014 – you’d be surprised at the flavors of a region that you never knew you liked!
7. Discover Hidden Gems at the Flea Market
While traveling on Contiki’s Berlin, Prague Plus Vienna tour, YouTubers Theodore Leaf and Rachel Talbott visited a flea market and found unique souvenirs that they could take home. Local markets are a great opportunity to find gifts for friends or a nice reminder of all your trips you’ve taken so far!
8. Get Active Abroad
Vacation doesn’t mean that you have to stay in one place – take it from our friends over at Tone it Up. Take advantage of physical activities and mix them in with your sightseeing, whether you’re whitewater rafting in Costa Rica, snowboarding the fresh powder in Whistler on Contiki’s Powder Rush, or riding a bike through the streets of Amsterdam – there’s plenty of ways to not only get active, but also see the world and take care of your mind, body, and spirit all at the same time!
9. Learn the true meaning of “Me Time”
Traveling is an introspective process – unique to the individual even when the experience is shared with your Contiki tour mates. Whether you’re taking a minute to yourself to soak in the beauty of Machu Picchu, or decide to spend the morning sipping a coffee all by your onesies at a seaside cafe, make sure to soak in the destination and get a little “ME Time” – time that you spend focusing on you! (and hey – Contiki has ME Time built into our tours, score!)
10. Keep a Journal of Your Trips
Whether you’re live-blogging every step of the way or keeping the traditional paper journal and pen by your side, keeping an account of your activities helps you relive the moments long after the trip has ended. It’s an opportunity to not only share your experience with others, but you can also invite new friends to contribute to your travel story – and will be a souvenir for years to come.
11. Step outside your comfort zone
Have you heard the phrase, “Do one thing a day that scares you?” Why not take that leap of faith, get out of your comfort zone and try that bungee jump or sky dive? Or take a chance at whitewater rafting in Tyrol or horseback riding in the Sacred Valley – you never know what you’re capable of if you never try – and what better time to try than RIGHT NOW?
12. Open yourself to new perspectives
We often default to our creature comforts, staying at the same hotels or having the same travel experience. Instead, open yourself to new perspectives with Contiki by staying in one of our guesthouses in Asia or visiting a Buddhist temple. You can find yourself listening to the sounds of the jungle at an Amazon lodge or rising to new heights from atop the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai.
13. Do as the Romans do
Be a traveler who actively participates in the destination and experience. Don’t just buy a cappuccino and watch from the sidelines – get involved and immerse yourself in the local culture! Take that Argentine tango lesson in Buenos Aires, eat local exotic foods or take time to use the local language to strike up a conversation – you never know where the path will lead you!
14. Undergo a Digital Detox
In this digital age, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the moments where you can’t help but take out your mobile phone and snap a photo and share it right away! Designate some time to live IN the moment, away from your digital devices and computers. When out to dinner with new-found friends, turn your phone on airplane mode so you’re not enticed by the digital “ding!” that notifies you that someone just “liked” your new profile pic.
These are only a handful of amazing things you should be doing in 2014. What advice do you have for the coming New Year? Let us know!