NEW YORK (Reuters) - Good intentions. They come around every year and are practically synonymous with champagne toasts on December 31.
Wavering already? Not to worry, online travel adviser Cheapflights (www.cheapflights.com) has come up with a top 10 list of destinations to help keep those New Year’s resolutions on track. Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1. Resolution: Stress less
Destination: St. Lucia, Caribbean
Blissful white sand beaches, lush green palm trees that provide welcome shade, and a seemingly endless sea - the recipe for pure relaxation. Add to that the incredible lightness of being and the warmth of the Caribbean locals and you’re practically in heaven. The Body Holiday LeSport resort on St. Lucia is an ideal destination to offload stress, humming the mantra, “give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.” The resort has a wellness center for dealing with all the bells and whistles, lots of activities, culinary ecstasies and - simply nothing that resembles stress.
2. Resolution: Spend more time with family
Destination: Quebec City, Canada
Even on a well-planned family vacation, it’s not often you get to spend much time together. The kids jump around the pool all day while the parents sit on the beach and read. While relaxing for the parents and fun for the kids, it’s not very sociable. For fun the whole family can enjoy, visit Quebec City in the end of January and beginning of February and catch the Quebec Winter Carnival. The biggest winter carnival in the world is like a kid-friendly Mardi Gras, boasting snow sculptures, dog sled rides, ice skating and other outdoor activities worth bundling up for.
3. Resolution: Exercise more
Destination: Dolomites, Italy
Italy is a place normally associated with pizza, pasta, gelato and wine - all fairly unhealthy indulgences. Nevertheless, it is also the perfect destination for fitness, especially when it comes to the country’s majestic Dolomites, mountains in northeastern Italy which offer a picturesque backdrop for every season and a great excuse to get some fresh air. Travel fitness provider Fitscape can help you get fit and stay fit. Try out the popular range of ski courses in the morning, stretching with yoga and fitness classes in the afternoon, and winding down in the sauna and Jacuzzi in the evening.
4. Resolution: Allot more time for yourself
Give in to absolute luxury and have a little time to yourself - and where better to do this than the Maldives? The luxurious One & Only Reethi Rah resort is like a journey for the soul. Individual villas, endless idyllic coves, and white sand and turquoise sea all offer uninterrupted privacy. Should the children not be able to stay with the grandparents, there is a separate area for them at the resort with numerous activities throughout the day, so parents can relax and revel in the luxury of complete seclusion offered by the resort.
5. Resolution: Eat better
Destination: Tokyo, Japan
Fresh, unprocessed foods, optimal servings and enjoyable, sociable eating - this is known as the Japanese Kitchen and belongs to one of the healthiest culinary nations. A typical diet comprises lots of rice, fish and spices, most of which contain little to no fat and oil in preparation. The diversity of the healthy-yet-delicious food available on a vacation in Japan makes avoiding temptation and cleansing your system relatively easy. Tourism has not yet fully recovered in Japan, so now is the best time to visit the fascinating metropolis of Tokyo and experience its unparalleled pulse without the crowds. Aside from the city’s breathtaking hotels, visitors can also enjoy a trip to a traditional Ryokan (Japanese hotel) connected to an Onsen (hot springs) on the program.
6. Resolution: Lose weight
Destination: Razines, France or Devon, UK
Diets are impossible to endure when all around you are temptations and unhealthy treats. A weight loss retreat is the perfect solution to kick start a healthier lifestyle. Being among like-minded people and getting advice from professional medical staff as well as fitness trainers will help create long-lasting effects and life changing approaches to food and exercise. The Nubeginings retreat has locations in Devon, UK, and Razines, France, and provides the perfect blend of a boot camp and a relaxing spa break. On average, guests who stay are said to lose around 5-8 pounds.
7. Resolution: Save money
Destination: Bucharest, Romania
Budgets have been tight for a while now, but in an increasingly dire economy, next year we really don’t quite know what to expect financially. Those wanting to save on vacations should naturally look for bargain deals and compare the costs of cheaper alternatives to popular tourist hotspots. Romania is one of those well-kept secret destinations that’s still relatively cheap with plenty to do and see. Its capital, Bucharest, offers plenty of decent hotels, which are priced around 40 euros per night. A beer costs about 1 euro and food is cheap - and delicious. On a tour of the various natural phenomena such as the Romanian mud volcanoes, glacial lakes, the Black Sea or the legendary Transylvania, you can discover a pristine part of the planet that is both inexpensive and lovely.
8. Resolution: Watch less TV
Destination: Cape Otway, Australia
On average, people spent almost one-fifth of the past year in front of the TV. This New Year, why not try to spend less time in front of the television and other gadgets such as computers, smartphones and iPads? Anyone wishing to leave the world of electronic gadgetry - that means emails, too - should head for Australia’s Great Ocean Ecolodge. Located in the middle of the huge Cape Otway Conservation Area, it’s surrounded by pure wilderness with company in the form of kangaroos, koalas and the beautiful nature of South Australia, about four hours from Melbourne. During the day people work with the team of researchers affiliated with Cape Otway Center for Conservation Ecology through the forest and help with the various conservation projects. In the evening, there’s an excellent meal served in the company of vacationers from around the world and a good book by the fireplace.
9. Resolution: Live a healthier life
Destination: Samson Mountains, Turkey
Drink less alcohol, eat healthier foods and rid the body of excesses to combat disease. Whether you’d like to maintain a certain level of health or do something about existing problems, the Natur-Med Hot Springs Resort in Turkey has just the ticket. There are anti-aging treatments for chronic diseases, fitness programs, pain treatments and much more. Situated on the Aegean Coast in the Samson Mountains, the resort offers the perfect setting for a thoroughly relaxing vacation and a professional team that will ensure your body is completely renewed and rejuvenated.
10. Resolution: Stop smoking
Destination: Alicante, Spain
This good intention is particularly difficult, especially when the stress of everyday life starts again after January 1, leaving you with a craving for a cigarette. The first few days of “withdrawal” are easier to survive when you’re far away from the usual triggers. Therefore, many resorts now offer special programs for smoking cessation. You can stop smoking at the SHA Wellness Clinic in Alicante, Spain. Here you get to enjoy a super-luxurious wellness program with flotation tanks, massage, fitness classes, acupuncture, therapeutic sessions, nutritionists, psychological counseling and more. With so much attention you should forget the agony of your first few days without smoke and be well equipped to deal with the time ahead.
Editing by Paul Casciato