The 10 things every traveller should do in 2017

This time of year is great for many things: calling in sick so you can watch the cricket; working out what to do with half a leftover turkey; and setting goals for the coming 12 months. These aren't always goals you'll reach, but still, it helps to form in your mind the things you want to achieve.

For travellers, that will inevitably involve seeing the world. But your travel goals for 2017 should be about more than just what you want to see – they should also be about how you want see it. These are ways of making travel better, but they're also about making yourself better.

You may not achieve them all. But it's good to have goals.

Go somewhere new

It's tempting to just keep going back to those places you know and love – travel is, after all, an expensive exercise, so why risk all that money and commit all that time to somewhere that might turn out to be terrible? Don't, however, get caught in this mindset. The world is full of amazing, interesting and beautiful places. You don't want to miss out on the thrill of discovery purely to go somewhere safe.

See also: Why you should always go back

Love the journey

Even the most passionate travellers sometimes catch themselves moaning about the nightmare of airports, or delayed flights, or dodgy buses, or trains that never show up, or cab drivers who rip them off. I'm as guilty of it as anyone. On your next trip, make a pact to embrace the travel experience, to try to eke as much joy out of the act of moving from place to place as you can. It is, after all, a huge part of the holiday.

Learn. A. Language.

I think I've had this goal for every single year I've been travelling, and yet I'm still embarrassingly monolingual. This is an extremely important weapon for any traveller to have in their arsenal: the ability to speak another language, to converse with locals of another country in a natural way, to go deeper into the travel experience than you ever have before. The hardest thing is deciding which language will be most useful. Given its geographical spread and similarity to English, I'd suggest Spanish as a good place to start.

See also: The one thing that will make you a better traveller

Take a gap year

You're never too old for a gap year. Whether you've just finished high school, or university, or stagnated in your career in your mid-20s, or are getting bored in your 30s, or have just never found the time to do this until your 50s or 60s, now is the perfect moment to beginning planning a year overseas. Yes, there are some sacrifices, but it's unlikely this is an experience that you'll ever regret.

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See also: Five myths about taking a year of to travel in your 30s

Just do it

So many people I've talked to about the 4WD trip I did around southern Africa last year have said something along the lines of, "Oh, I'd love to do that one day." So… just do it. Book it. Make it happen. It's not expensive, and it's not difficult. Same goes for so many of the dream holidays that people always talk about and never actually go on. Want to climb a mountain? Or cruise the Galapagos? Or ride a scooter around Thailand? Or eat in Italy? Just do it.

Take fewer photos

This is a tough one, because I know a lot of travellers are also passionate photographers, and I'm as bad as anyone else. But I do honestly believe that obsessing over capturing every moment on your phone or your SLR, of treating beautiful scenes as an excuse to get yourself in front of it and take the perfect selfie, is ruining the travel experience. Don't view the world through a screen. Put your camera down for a while and just enjoy.

Take chances

Many of the entries in this list reflect the notion that travellers should always be taking chances. Whether that's with the destination you choose, or the way you choose to see it, or the people you associate with, or any number of variables, I've always found that the best experiences come from taking a chance. In 2017, make a pact to do something you've never done before; do something that scares you a little. Chances are it will turn out well.

See also: Why you should choose the dodgy restaurant

Take as many different forms of transport as you possibly can

Air travel is cheap and convenient, but it's hardly the most adventurous way of getting around. I've found you can vastly improve your travel experience by committing to taking as many different forms of transport as you possibly can. Go for trains, and taxis, and buses, and rickshaws, and tuk-tuks, and motorbikes, and pushies, and horse-drawn carts, and minivans, and really, anything else you can think of to move you from A to B.

See your own city like a tourist

You can't be on holidays all the time. For those who wish they could be, however, use 2017 to see your own patch the way a tourist would. Get on TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet or traveller.com.au and find out what visitors to your city do and enjoy, and do them as well. Once you've finished with those clichés, explore a bit further – dedicate days to seeing parts of your city you've never visited, to going to new restaurants or bars or just wandering new suburbs. That's the travel feeling.

See also: How to see your own city like a tourist

Get something booked

Really, this is the only goal you need. If you love to travel, and you don't have your next trip planned… Get on it. Happy 2017 everyone.

What are you travel resolutions for 2017?

Email: b.groundwater@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Instagram: instagram.com/bengroundwater

​See also: The hottest new countries to travel in 2017

See also: 10 countries you (probably) haven't visited - but should

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