Most great experiences cost something and with so many travel magazines and commercials highlighting expensive tours and exotic locations it is no surprise that the idea of travel has become over hyped and seemingly a luxury.
However the world has evolved and technology has brought affordable travel to your doorstep. With savvy websites, tools and apps like Air BnB, couchsurfing and even Nigeria’s own gomyway.com travel has become much easier.
But why travel? I can’t even begin to tell you the plethora of benefits travel brings to the table. It renews and expands your mind and in essence make us more open and adaptable. The knowledge gained can be worthwhile and even the part about learning new things about yourself can be extraordinary.
For me, there was a time decades ago when, whenever I heard travel, it automatically meant shopping but I have learnt that travel need not be all about that. So, if you are thinking of how to start exploring the world here are some tips to help you get you going!
Embrace travel and keep your needs to the minimum
It’s about the joy of a new experience and the memories, many of these are free – like exploring a new city on foot, bonding with the locals, experiencing the local cuisine and street foods and markets, climbing to the top of a hill. You can see the city from a different perspective, see historic sites and watch the sunset from the beach.
Learning different cultures and experiencing it yourself makes life really interesting. For instance visiting the famous Mount Kilimanjaro most of us learnt about in school or eating the sumptuous delicacy Ugba in a local joint in the east! It’s all about the experiences.
Aim to visit a new place every year and save up
Yes, it may be a visit to Abuja or Paris but with the right planning you can make it happen. Having a target helps you plan and saving up makes a huge difference. The great Dalai Lama said “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before” for a reason! And for those Dubai, London and USA frequenters, go somewhere else this year! Explore wonderful Thailand, see the Calanques in Cassis, South of France or the natural caves in Palma, Spain, see mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, go on a Safari in Kenya or do some local tourism, visit the suspended lake in Osun state or the Gurara falls in Niger state, just somewhere other than Dubai!
Start planning early and be flexible
Be flexible with your holiday plans. Planning some of your holidays during off peak times or booking in advance, sometimes this can make a huge difference and with so many budget airlines around now your hard earned money can go a long way. Alternatively, you can just go somewhere with the cheapest flight available. With Emirates, most times you can get the same price for a ticket to one of their destinations even if you choose to stop over in Dubai for a few days first, because you always have to stop over in Dubai no matter where you are going when you fly with Emirates. Nigeria’s very own GoMyWay also allows you to travel across the country for cheap by sharing a ride with a verified member who has spare seats in their car.
Travel with a friend or Visit a friend
If you travel with friends, hotel costs can be shared and you can save by staying in a serviced apartment with sites like Air BnB and couchsurfing. Travel accommodation has become more affordable in these times.
Travel to Visa free countries
Visa procedures can sometimes be daunting so why not start with a visa free country. Did you know that with a Nigerian passport you can travel to about 44 countries (Visa on Arrival for some).
If you have lots of time on your hands and would like to travel long term there are teaching opportunities around the world or summer camps where you work when you arrive but you travel for free, you can find some on Workaway website. Are you thinking of exploring a new city soon?