Along with resolving to lose weight and get fit, deciding to travel more is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and it’s certainly one of the most exciting ones! Of course, deciding to travel more is probably the easiest travel resolutions to make, but why limit yourself to just that? Here are some travel resolutions which will really change your life this year - as long as you stick to them, of course. And let’s be honest…it’s much easier to stick to a travel resolution than to a weight loss one!
1. Get off the grid
Way off! Whether you decide to go all out and spend a week in the mountains of Tibet or just head into the more rural areas of our own rainbow nation, there’s something about getting away from modcons and big, familiar places that will make you feel like you’re starring in your very own old-school movie. Think wooden cabins perched atop mountains, small stone cottages at the foot of a beautiful valley, camping on the beach or cosying up deep in a forest. Make sure you pack everything you need because there’s no Uber eats and no shops for kilometres. Sound magical? We thought so! After all, who doesn’t like to experience the thrill of visiting somewhere remote and far-flung, especially if it’s right in the heart of nature?
2. Explore your own backyard
Dreaming of New York, Paris and Rome? Why not try and see your own city or country through the eyes of a tourist? There’s a reason that people flock from all over the globe to visit our shores. South Africa has so many beautiful places to see and so much history and culture to absorb that it would be silly to let it pass you by. So keep on planning those overseas trips but don’t let it distract you from the sights right on your doorstep. Check out historical attractions in your own city, take a weekend break in a part of the country you haven’t visited before, and chat to your fellow South Africans about their way of life. You might just find fuel for a lifelong love affair with South Africa.
3. Travel sustainably
Sustainable travel is a big deal. If we want to see everything the world has to offer, it’s up to us to make sure that we protect and preserve it so that future generations can experience it too. But sustainable travel isn’t just about being ‘green.’ It’s also about doing your best to empower the local communities in the places you visit, being a respectful traveller and keeping welfare issues top of mind when you travel. Next time you take a trip, try to support local businesses, take care of the environment by leaving everything as you found it, and do your research to make sure that you are respectful of the country’s laws, customs and cultures. Don’t support projects which have questionable ethics and which may exploit children, animals and locals for your own gain. See yourself as an ambassador for tourists, and give a good name to everyone who will follow in your footsteps.
4. Take a class to teach you a local skill
Learning to make Pad Thai in Thailand, developing your Samba skills in Brazil or practicing basket weaving in India means that you leave each new country with a better understanding of some of the most key cultural practices in that country. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people and the person taking the class will generally have some wonderful insights about the history of a certain dish, dance or tradition. Some things are better learnt from local sources than even the best international experts. You’d rather learn how to make dim sum from a Chinese family who have been steaming them in bamboo baskets for decades than from a professional Western chef, right?
5. Go it alone
Solo travel is one of those things that everybody should do at least once in their lives. Even if you’re married, in a relationship, or ALWAYS travel with your Mom or bestie. Solo travel has a way of pushing you out of your comfort zone and forcing you to grow on a personal level. Plus, there are some amazing perks with solo travel. Firstly, you get to pick whatever destination you want without any consideration of whether your travel buddy would prefer to go elsewhere. Secondly, you get to do whatever you want while you’re there. Feel like skipping the Arc de Triomphe when you’re in Paris? Sure, go right ahead. Want to spend an afternoon sampling fried food and reading a book? Whatever takes your fancy. There’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to, nobody to fit in with and nobody to consider when you’re planning your days. It’s liberating and exhilarating all at the same time. Whether you come back deciding to take more solo trips or vowing to always travel with a buddy, at least you’ll have spent some time getting to know yourself and broadening your horizons.