Now, of course, I don’t negate that it can be costly, I don’t shy away from the amount of patience you need, and I also acknowledge that being able to travel, in itself, is a privilege.
I do, however, believe that with proper planning, the right saving goals and a lot of research, you can make that trip to your dream destination happen.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak (I know it feels like it is all we talk about these days but it is difficult to ignore, given how much it continues to affect us). Where was I?... Ahh, yes, Covid.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us in so many ways. Some have had to take salary cuts; we have lost income from various income streams – and, as a consequence, we have had to scale down our spending – lifestyles if you will. We spend less on food, much less on clothes and have even scrapped the entertainment budget altogether. Priorities, yeah?
Naturally, the travel budget would have taken a hit as well – and in this column, I want to talk about saving up for travel – more specifically, but not limited to domestic – as a way to do what we can to help salvage what little we can for the tourism industry.
Tips and tricks that have helped me during these times we find ourselves in.
I have mentioned this before, but I will reiterate that the best way to save up for travel is by treating it as one of your monthly expenses. Open a travel account; it will make the obligation feel more real. Commit to this account by setting up a debit order amount. If you travel with a partner, open a joint account that will allow both of you access to the funds. If you travel with family or friends, Bank Windhoek has an amazing group saving offering that fits the purpose quite well.
Why is this necessary?
Travel can be costly. A travel account will give you some room to manoeuver.
I love asking myself questions I have answers to. Imagine a scenario where that one lodge/hotel/destination you’ve always wanted to experience runs a special that’s limited to a certain time. Having a travel account helps make that possible without having to drain your day-to-day cash flow. So, your travel account is like an emergency fund of sorts but for travel.
It is important that you put away only what you can afford to. Do not strain yourself. Try to remember that thing about ‘life being a marathon – not a sprint’, yeah?
Bulk up on experiences in a single trip where possible.
I have made this mistake in my earlier days of travel, where I visit a destination with multiple attractions and only see/experience one or two.
Namibian destinations are far and wide – kilometres apart with little to nothing to see (well, landscape aside) on the road. The roads are empty and often require an SUV (another expense). The journey is long and you need fuel, water, sunscreen and a heap of stories to share with your travel buddies. It’s not always easy.
Where you can, experience everything there is to experience in one trip. That way, you can leave knowing you would only need to go back once you are really ready to do so again.
Going to Sossusvlei? – drive to Deadvlei, climb the Big Daddy (you don’t have to make it all the way up; all you need to do is try), go see the Sesriem Canyons, go hot air-ballooning, experience the southern sunset – it’s the best in the country. Really, get the value of your money.
Loyalty cards are perhaps the biggest travel hack domestically.
There are companies that offer discounts on accommodation, food and activities when you are signed up for their loyalty programmes, such as discounts as big as 50% on accommodation costs as well as 25% on food and activities. That’s massive! Card rates can vary between N$ 300 and N$1 500, depending on the card type.
Social media can feel very gruesome – but please, don’t ever let it invalidate the things you love, can afford and have worked hard for.
If camping is what you can afford, go camping. If Swakopmund is your best alternative to Cape Town or Thailand, do that.
No one should ever make you feel like your vacation is not Instagram worthy – it is! So, please don’t forget to stunt on us.
Should you need any travel consultation, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at:
Facebook: Ndapanda Haininga
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