[Updated December 2020]
Tech titan Mark Zuckerberg is famous for his yearly personal challenges. In 2010 he challenged himself to become fluent in Mandarin and in 2017 his New Year’s resolution was to travel more. He challenged his followers to visit 12 new places they’ve never been to before, meet someone new in each place and learn about their life. This might be a great future idea for a world currently curbed by travel restrictions and lockdowns while we try to recover from a global pandemic.
We can all agree that 2020 has been challenging – holidays were cancelled, families couldn’t visit each other, destination weddings were off the table… the list goes on. It also brought new perspectives and appreciations and forced us to step out of our comfort zones and rise up to the challenge.
As we cross over into 2021, here are 16 New Year’s travel resolutions to make 2021 your best year of travel!
1. Start a travel fund
Big dreams start with small actions. Cut down on the number of coffees you buy during the work week, eat out less and get into the habit of walking or taking public transport instead of hopping into an Uber. Uber trips can quickly add up and you will find your travel budget growing steadily throughout the year by cutting back. If you’re able to work from home and save on commuting in to work every day, even better!
2. Choose an active vacation
A holiday is whatever you want it to be. If lying on a beach for a week sounds a little on the boring side, an active holiday may be perfect for you. Active holidays in countries like Mauritius, Reunion, the Seychelles, Bali, Laos, Zambia, New Zealand and Canada are multi-generational friendly and allow you to pack as much into your holiday time as possible. Climb mountains, river-raft, cycle through rice paddies, kayak, paraglide, you name it.
On the local side, check out these activities you can book anywhere in South Africa.
- The 5 best things to do in Bali
- Reunion Island: the ultimate adventure
- Enjoy world-class waves in Mauritius
3. Buy your tickets early
Kick your procrastination habit. Around six weeks in advance is considered to be the optimal time to book domestic flights and industry insiders say between three and six months in advance is optimal for international flights.
Good to know:
The best days to book the cheapest flights are typically Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while February and August are the cheapest months to fly.
Read these tips on how to book the cheapest flight.
4. Sign up to Travelstart’s newsletter
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5. Download our travel booking app, Flapp
Book your travel on the go with Flapp. You can search, book, manage your bookings, check in online, and plenty more. We often have exclusive deals only available on Flapp, so don’t miss out! Download Flapp today.
6. Say yes to something new
Challenge yourself to do something you’ve never done before. Whether it’s committing to new places, new people, new perspectives, a challenge or just a different kind of holiday, you might just surprise yourself and learn something new. The unknown is scary but wonderfully rewarding.
7. Pack intelligently
The never-ending debate – what is the smartest way to pack? We say, pack three pairs of shoes for a city escape, one smart pair, one comfortable pair for walking and one casual pair. Rolled versus folded? The jury’s still out, however, there are a number of ways to ensure your luggage arrives in one piece. If you have a delicate hat place it at the base of your bag and surround it with folded clothes to keep it from getting squashed. Roll your belt into a circle and place it in the neck of your collared shirt to keep it from wrinkling. Pack heavier items at the base of your bag and keep plastic shower caps from hotel visits to keep your shoes from dirtying your clothes.
For these and more useful tips read up on how to pack your travel essentials
8. Take more weekend trips
Travel doesn’t have to be time-consuming. There are great low-cost domestic flights that should be taken advantage of and exciting cities to discover on weekend escapes.
Start planning your local weekend escapes:
- Small town getaways for a weekend away
- Where to stay for your birthday weekend
- 14 Romantic getaways in the Western Cape for under R700
9. Consider a home swap
If you’ve always dreamed of a summer in Provence, or an autumn in Montreal why not consider swapping homes with a family from your dream destination? Not only does it keep costs down but it allows you to really experience a new country as if you were a full-time resident.
Read about all the pros and cons:
10. Work around your public holidays
If you time your travel plans over a string of public holidays you will be able to take less leave and stay longer. Be smart about how to maximise your leave days and stretch out those holidays.
11. Make the most of local travel opportunities
We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world. Make 2021 the year you venture out into South Africa’s more under-explored areas, take a road trip somewhere new, have a staycation and be a tourist in your own city, or just take a different path to work. However you choose to do it – take the path less travelled.
12. Learn a new language
Learning a new language (the free smartphone app Duolingo is a great resource) is a terrific motivator to travel and use your new skill. Why not make an effort to learn one of our 11 official languages you don’t speak before your next holiday? Or learn Spanish for a trip to Barcelona or French for a trip to Paris. This is one travel resolution we could all use!
13. Go solo
Travel can be a marvellous opportunity for growth and reflection, especially if you venture out solo. Make 2021 your year to do that trip you’ve always wanted to do. Join a group tour or brave it solo. You’re bound to meet people along the way. Whether you’re after a peaceful retreat or looking to have some fun, don’t let the fear of going alone stop you.
14. Leave room for spontaneity
One of the great pleasures of travel is its spontaneous nature – the friends you never knew you were going to make, the mishaps and bus breakdowns that become the highlights of your trip. Though it is always a wise idea to have your airport transfer and the first two nights accommodation booked, it’s also great to leave room for serendipity and see where the journey takes you. While not all destinations lend themselves to spontaneous travel arrangements (especially where visas are needed), places like Southeast Asia are perfect for this!
15. Be tech-savvy
With so many apps available at your fingertips, you’ll never be lost in a foreign city (unless you want to be, which is part of the fun). From handy gadgets and travel cameras to the best apps to download for your holiday, you’ll be sorted for your next adventure!
- 6 Ways apps can help you travel better
- Top travel apps for backpacking
- How to take the best holiday photos
- Why the GoPro is your best travel companion
16. Off-set your carbon footprint
If you are travelling far it helps to off-set all the jet fuel by contributing to a sustainable and ethically-sensitive voluntourism initiative at your chosen destination. Or, just be a
Find out more about Dawn Jorgensen’s adventures rescuing sea turtles in Kenya.
These are our 16 travel resolutions to help make your travels come alive in 2021. You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to feel like an explorer. Become an expert on your local turf. Wherever your travels take you, be bold, be brave, and jump right in!