Why 2022 should be the year you put YOU first

The pandemic has put so many of our plans on hold that now, as we enter a new year with optimistic hopes for the future, it might finally be the time to think about what YOU want. A happier you = a happier everyone else. So, how can you put yourself first when you travel and improve your own mental wellbeing? Whether it’s making the decision to travel alone or tasting the new foods you’ve always wanted to try, here are some ideas to set you on your way…  

See the places you’ve always wanted to see  

The easiest way to ensure your 2022 travel is making you a happier person is by visiting the places you’ve always wanted to see. Now is the time to tick off your own bucket list – and don’t let your travel companion persuade you out of it.  

If your usual travel buddy has a different destination in mind to you, maybe this year is the time to go it alone and try solo travel. To travel alone doesn’t mean you enjoy your partner or friend’s company any less, it’s just about realising that after so long missing out on the joy of travel, now’s the time everyone should be free to get out there and see the world again. So, take that trip, see those sights and taste that dish.  

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 reasons to travel solo by Trafalgar guests who’ve done it 

‘Go big’ 

After two years of pent-up excitement to travel, 2022 is the year to ‘go big’ on your destination choice. Whether that means enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime holiday or splashing the cash on a first-class plane ride, reports suggest that over 59% of travellers are making this the year they make their travel dreams a reality and book that no-expenses-spared trip they’ve always yearned for.  

Hawaii, Costa Rica and dream trips to Italy and Scandinavia are all ‘big deal’ holidays that are high on the list of in-demand destinations for this year. So put yourself and your dreams first and make this the year you ‘go big’ on your travels. 

RELATED ARTICLE: 9 trending destinations to earmark for 2022 travel  

Say ‘no’ when you want to  

If there’s one good thing to come out of the pandemic, it’s that we’ve learnt to be more selfish and say ‘no’ when we don’t want to do something. Those events we don’t really want to attend that pre-Covid we’d have dragged ourselves along to unwillingly or made up an excuse not to go to? They’re now easily skipped thanks to a ‘I don’t feel safe’ get-out-of-jail-free card.  

When it comes to travel, now’s the perfect time to say ‘no’ to trips or destinations you’re not really into – because you’ve been starved of wanderlust for so long, why waste precious holiday taking a trip you don’t feel excited about? Be selfish and say ‘no’ to that long-lost cousin’s wedding in Europe and use the time (and money) to plan a trip that you really want to do. And why not travel alone if it means you’ll really get to do the things you want to do?

RELATED ARTICLE: What to do if your partner doesn’t share your love of travel  

Try the foods you’ve always wanted to try  

Food is a big part of who we are and trying new foods on holiday is a great way to put yourself first. Admit it, we’ve all been in the situation where we’ve been held back from trying a new dish because our travel companion hasn’t felt quite so adventurous.  

Whether it’s to experience a new kind of food, visit a new restaurant or to just be healthier in what you eat, make 2022 the year you try a taste of something new. And if you still can’t persuade your travel buddy to be more adventurous in their food choice, why not take that leap and eat out alone – put aside some time to visit a restaurant of YOUR choice and order the food YOU want.

RELATED ARTICLE: 10 food experiences from around the world that should be on your bucket list 

Prioritise your wellbeing – without jeopardizing others  

While taking the time to ensure your travel isn’t putting others in harm’s way (wear a mask, abide by other countries’ Covid rules and regulations, only travel when vaccinated), now is the time to ensure you’re thinking about your own mental health and physical and mental wellbeing.  

Put yourself first by avoiding risky situations, making your own decisions about the country’s you visit and only seeing the people who you REALLY want to see. While behaving this way is prioritising your own wellbeing, it’s also ensuring you aren’t jeopardizing the health and safety of those people and communities around you. And that will succeed in making you a happier person. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Why travel ‘life moments’ are back for 2022 

Don’t be scared to get to know the inside of your hotel room  

Ever been on holiday and just wanted to stay in bed all day? DO IT. Not every day of your getaway must be spent out and about, after all you’ve spent enough money on the hotel that it’s only right you might want to spend more than six hours a night in it.  

Stay in bed, switch on the TV, order room service… enjoy a moment of pure selfish joy. Or make like the Italians and the Spanish and enjoy an afternoon nap – or a ‘siesta’ – in your hotel room. And remember: some psychologists say that a 60-minute nap can be as effective as a full night’s sleep, so you’ll be ensuring your mental health is tip top.

RELATED CONTENT: 8 of the best travel podcasts to listen to this year 

Travel sustainably  

Doing something for you doesn’t have to mean doing something that you feel the impact of right now. Sometimes doing something for someone else is a great way to make yourself feel like you’re doing good – and subsequently making yourself a happier, more fulfilled person.  

We’ve all wondered exactly how we can ‘do our bit’ for sustainability when we travel, and now’s the perfect time to learn how you can give back. Things like only choosing green travel experiences, buying local crafts and ensuring you reuse and recycle in destination are all good ways to give back when you travel.  

RELATED CONTENT: 9 ways you can travel more sustainably in 2022 

How do you ensure your mental health and your mental wellbeing are in tip top condition when you travel? Would you travel alone in 2022? Tell us in the comments below.

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