Make a New Year's Resolution: Experiences Over Stuff

Get happy. Buy less. Do more.
Machu PIcchu

Machu PIcchu

Photo by: VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

What’s on your list of New Year’s resolutions? If your goal is a happier life, consider this: research says that Americans who choose experiences tend to be happier than those who opt for "stuff"— material things. 

Almost a third of us regret not taking that “trip of a lifetime,” according to Claris Financial's Dollars and Sense report. This year, resolve to see and do more, instead of buying more. Even better, go big with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We’ve got ideas to get you started.

Yacht in New York Harbor

Yacht in New York Harbor

Photo by: Entertainment Cruises/New York Metro Fleet

Entertainment Cruises/New York Metro Fleet

Cruise in a Private Yacht, New York, NY

Catch the winds in your sails when you book a charter with Elite Private Yachts. Your captain will cruise New York Harbor, so you'll see One World Trade Center, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, while a private chef and butler offer cocktails and a three-course meal. When the sun sets, an acoustic trio plays for guests on the lounge-style deck, so you can dance. Price starts at $2,900. 

Experience the Holy Land, Tel Aviv, Israel

See the Holy Land with a winter escape package from El Al Israel Airlines and Dan Panorama Hotels; airfare and six nights of five-star, luxury accommodations are included. During the day, stroll a sunny beach in Eliat, Southern Israel’s premiere resort city, or indulge in a spa experience. Leave time to explore Tel Aviv’s archaeological digs, ancient sites, world-class museums and more. Prices range from $1,599-1,849 per person, double occupancy.



Photo by: Dana Friedlander/Israeli Ministry of Tourism

Dana Friedlander/Israeli Ministry of Tourism

Help Save Sea Turtles, Puerto Vallarta, MX

Travel makes you feel good, but travelers can also do good. Guests at the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta are invited to participate in the resort's turtle protection program. An on-site biologist shows you how to monitor the nesting sites of endangered sea turtles and help release their hatchlings into the ocean. After you finish your good deeds, reward yourself at this beach front resort’s infinity pool and spa. See the hotel website for prices.

Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle

Photo by: Casa Magna Marriott PV

Casa Magna Marriott PV

Drive the Grand Prix Track, Monaco

Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo offers guests a unique chance to take the curves on the famous Circuit du Luc track in an F-1 race car. Before you climb into the driver's seat, you'll participate in a safety and training workshop led by a certified Formula 1 driver. Prices start at $3,362 per overnight stay in a junior suite. 

Grand Prix Track

Grand Prix Track

Photo by: Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo

Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo

Hike the Inca Trail, Cusco, Peru

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incas as you journey to Peru’s mystical Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Guides with VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations lead small groups of walkers and discuss ancient traditions that are still observed in Peru. You’ll also experience the culture through visit to local markets and restaurants, trips to ancient Inca villages, and more. Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Price: $2,795 per person, double occupancy.

Machu PIcchu

Machu PIcchu

Photo by: VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

Experience a Different Culture, Curacao, Netherland Antilles

Curacao, in the Netherland Antilles, boasts a heritage of some 55 different cultures. Experience Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and other ethnicities through the island’s architecture, cuisine, museums and monuments. After you see the sights, relax on one of the beautiful beaches on this Southern Caribbean island. Willemstad, the capital city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Soar in a WWII Airplane, Geneseo, NY

History buffs can step back in time when they book a flight in a restored WWII aircraft. This adventure is offered by the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, New York. Choose a ride on an actual Whiskey-7 transport plane used in 1944 or other historic plane. Price: $3,500 per hour.

World War II plane

World War II plane

Photo by: Larry Tetamore/

Larry Tetamore/

Savor Exclusive Armagnac Spirits, New York, NY

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House New York is an elegant, three-story restaurant in midtown Manhattan. Diners can opt to pair their hand-cut steaks or other cuisine with tastes of exclusive Armagnac blends and vintages. Selections include Louis XIII Rare Cask, one of only two available in New York City, and Pappy van Winkle. Price: $1,395 per ounce. 

Del Frisco's Steak House New York, Spirits

Del Frisco's Steak House New York, Spirits

Photo by: Del Frisco's Steak House New York

Del Frisco's Steak House New York

Fly in a Private Seaplane, Key West, FL

Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria resort, offers a Soaring Experiences Key West package with direct flights from most major airports in Florida. This package for two includes a pre-flight champagne toast and a landing on the beach, where you’ll be guided to your ocean front suite for a two-night stay. Two complimentary pairs of Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses, as well as in-room cocktails, are also included. See the website for prices.

Seaplane in Key West

Seaplane in Key West

Photo by: Mike Freas/Casa Marina Key West

Mike Freas/Casa Marina Key West

Would any list of resolutions be complete without vowing to work out, so you'll be fit and fabulous? Once the holiday leftovers are gone, hit the beach for some exercise at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. “Yoga Girl” Rachel Brathen, an international yoga teacher and popular Instagram poster, lives on this Caribbean island and leads resort guests in SUP (stand-up paddleboard) yoga classes. Prices are $50 per person and include board rental, instructions and a yoga class. See the website for room rates.

Yoga SUP

Yoga SUP

Photo by: Aruba Marriott Resort

Aruba Marriott Resort

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