Today’s the day when all those promises to get fit, spend less and do more in the next year are made. Some might even incorporate those resolutions into their travel plans: healthy retreats, budget escapes, cultural odysseys that promise to make you a better person.
But you know what? Forget those resolutions. Vacations are meant to be just what the word means: “An extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.” Time away from the regimented lives we lead, in other words.
“Wellness travel, taking your healthy habits with you or learning new ones to implement at home, as well as a push toward authenticity, have been on the rise the past few years,” says Misty Belles, managing director of global public relations for luxury travel company Virtuoso. “However, travel itself is an indulgence, so why not indulge when you’re there?”
So, in honour of a new year, here are some anti-resolution vacations. Destinations that let you revel in pleasure, hibernate (it is winter after all), overeat and simply veg out. You can worry about all that self-improvement business when you get back.
Resolution: Exercise more
Anti-resolution vacation: Channel your inner sloth
Book a vacation where “leg day” consists of a slight bend of the knee as you ease into your hammock and attempt to keep your drink from spilling. Petit St. Vincent (PSV) is a tiny, secluded island about 64 kilometres off the coast of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The entire island is a private resort that is home to 22 boutique villas and two-bedroom cottages on the beach, but no WiFi, no phones and no TVs. If you want to truly get in touch with your sloth side, you could easily never leave your villa. The most effort you will need to put in here is to raise either a yellow flag (requesting service to your cottage for drinks or a picnic lunch, for a golf cart or to be taken to the spa) or a red flag (signalling please do not disturb). If you do feel an urge to be active, head to the beach for swimming or other water activities. Also of note: Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau, opened the Jean-Michel Cousteau Caribbean diving centre on PSV. So should the need for adventure strike (despite your best intentions), you will be able to master your diving chops before going to relax in your hammock again. Now, that workout deserves another daiquiri.
Resolution: Eat healthy
Anti-resolution vacation: Eat all the carbs and cheese
Repeat after me: There is nothing wrong with eating pasta and cheese twice a day for 10 days. Nothing. Carbs are your best travel friend in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy (a.k.a. the epicentre of all things the rest of the world loves about Italian food). Start in Bologna, where you can eat all the hearty pastas from its namesake meaty Bolognese sauce with spaghetti to tortellini filled with meat and a ragu sauce, or spinach and cheese tortelloni. The region is also home to Parma ham, Parmigiano Reggiano (see how those big wheels of happiness are made at cheese factory Caseificio La Campola in the small town of Crostolo) and the delightfully fizzy Lambrusco red wine. An added bonus is the view while you discerningly sample true balsamic from the patio of Agriturismo Cavazzone in Viano. This region’s sweeping hills and deep valleys are reminiscent of Tuscany, with a lot more drama, fewer tourists and bolder food. Book a stay at a boutique hotel or an Italian bed and breakfast and, if you’re lucky, the on-site nonna will make you some extra pasta, too.
Resolution: Save, save, save
Anti-resolution vacation: Swipe that credit card like it has no limit
There is something to be said for a luxury dream vacation that is over the top and has nothing “budget” about it. At Gili Lankanfushi resort in the Maldives on the North Malé Atoll, you’ll have a vacation that is so personalized your daily whims are taken care of instantly. A concierge team of Mr. Fridays (named after Robinson Crusoe’s assistant) will be there to make those whims come true, whether it be a private dining experience, island tours, water excursions, private boat rides, you name it. And no matter what you choose, the views are killer: Gili Lankanfushi looks like something you would find on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Instagram feed as a consciously coupled honeymoon vacation hot spot. Bungalow villas over the clear water come with infinity pools, open-air dining and living areas, massive bedrooms with incredible water views and quiet nooks where you can practise the art of doing nothing (expensively). Throw in snorkelling adventures, tennis lessons with a pro and cooking classes, and you are most definitely living your best life. It’s also an eco-friendly and sustainable resort, so you can fulfill your resolution of being a greener person.
Resolution: Get out there and enjoy winter
Anti-resolution vacation: Hibernate
You know the best way to enjoy winter? From inside your cozy, warm, ridiculously chic igloo hut. At Kakslauttanen in Lapland, Finland, if you never left your rustic cabin/igloo combo, no one would blame you. The igloos are a combination of a log cabin with a glass extension so you truly never have to leave. They come with kitchens, fireplaces, saunas, and a glass-ceiling bedroom to view the Northern Lights from under your duvet. (Full-on glass igloos are also available, but they don’t all come with showers, which means you will need to venture outside.) I think we can all agree that winter always looks and feels so much better from the other side of a thick pane of glass and beside the comfort of a roaring fire.
Resolution: Visit authentic destinations
Anti-resolution vacation: Be a tourist
The word tourist gets a bad rap. And while there has been a trend to veer away from so-called “touristy” destinations, there’s nothing wrong with hitting up a spot that caters to visitors when you need an easy vacation fix. I’m not talking about going to the Instagram-of-the-moment locale for a pic, but instead heading to destinations that have always been popular for a reason: because they’re awesome. Make a weekend vacation one where you embrace and play that tourist role. So go to Las Vegas (who doesn’t want to see Shania Twain?), visit all the royal hot spots in London, or book a cruise to Puerto Vallarta or a girls’ trip to Cancun.
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