Start the New Year with new rules (Sally Mahoney)
List 02 January

6 New Year resolutions from the travel experts

New Year... New you? Bloggers, travellers and writers give Wanderlust their top resolutions for a new beginning

1. Visit fewer places but stay longer

As an expedition leader and security consultant I've been lucky enough to visit places as diverse as Patagonia and Afghanistan. If there is one thing that makes my journeys more complete, and gives me a better understanding of where I've been, it's when I've put down some roots and stayed put.

In Argentina, I helped a biologist monitor Andean condors in the foothills of the Andes, and in Afghanistan I advised the UN on logistics. It's these immersive experiences, working with the local people, that always stand out as my favourite times away from home.

Ed Stafford, first man to walk the length of the Amazon

2. Keep immunisations up-to-date and stay organised!

My husband set up a useful spreadsheet listing all our injections, and cleverly he input booster intervals to calculate when follow-up jabs were needed. Even so, with the four of us in our family accessing immunisation through the GP, work, University and private travel clinics, it is more important than ever for us to keep our records straight – so we can inform the immunising nurse: otherwise how can we expect to ensure good safe vaccine cover?”

Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth, travel health advice-giver since issue 1

3. Get a little bit scared in 2012

"Does it scare the shit out of you? It should!" We first wrote about this on our blog last summer, and we are taking this fun quip to heart in 2012 as we face our own fears and limitations in the places and things we see and do.

Expanding our comfort zones means we'll be able to enjoy much more of the world in the coming year, and we hope you will, too. Take a risk and push your boundaries and you'll be duly rewarded with rich and memorable experiences.

Warren and Betsy Talbot, epic world-wide travellers

4. Never change your cash at a UK airport

You have no control over the financial markets that seem to drive the poor old pound ever deeper into despondency. But as a traveller, you have every opportunity to avoid the expensive business of changing money at an airport. Those poor folk queuing to buy euros or dollars at Heathrow or Manchester might as well hold open their wallets and invite the teller to help themselves.

You can improve on the rate on your High Street; do better still by buying online and picking up at the airport; or do way better by going to a specialist such as Thomas Exchange. Best of all, wander along the best street in Britain for intense competition between bureaux de change: Queensway, London W2.

Simon Calder, Senior Editor at The Independent all-round travel guru

5. Head to the Arctic before it's too late!

Canada's Churchill, in Manitoba, is nicknamed the "polar bear capital of the world" because every October and November, hundreds of polar bears migrate from inland to shore, to stock up on their favorite snack – ringed seal – as soon as sea ice forms on the Hudson Bay.

Travellers can see the bears from purpose-built tundra vehicles but I want to go with Churchill Northern Studies Centre's week-long educational program. This unique up-close polar bear experience is at risk as the warming climate destroys hunting grounds so take a trip there in 2012!

Marie Javins, Wanderlust blogger and expert independent traveller

6. Do something you've never done before

I think it's very important to set yourself challenges and then achieve them to the best of your ability. Britain is jam packed with half-cocked and odd pastimes that you can throw yourself into with gay abandon.

In 2011 I went bath-tubbing in Llawrtyd Wells, river swimming in Carmarthenshire and kite surfed in Northumberland. I was rubbish at everything but I gave it my best shot.

This year I'm going to compete in Man vs Horse. It's a 25 mile race that puts runner against rider. I'm going to be a rider. I've only sat on a horse once in my life and it ended badly. So far I've only tried on a pair of riding boots. The zip broke and I was trapped in one of them for an hour. I had to get my newsagent to get me out of it.

I don't know what the next six months will hold but I do know this – life is for living. So get on with it!

Emma Kennedy, author of I Left My Tent in San Francisco and The Tent, The Bucket and Me

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