Happy New Year readers! What are your 2015 travel resolutions? Chances are they’re not too different from 2014. Every traveller’s resolutions fall broadly within the same 4 points, year after year. Ours do too. But looking back on 2014, we think we’ve been fairly successful at achieving them to a large extent. No, we didn’t quit our jobs and become full time travellers. In fact, having a full time job shouldn’t deter you from travelling, it should only help you travel better. Most of our readers seemed to agree with our “Don’t Quit Your Job, and Travel” story. We’ve also discovered some problem areas and easy solutions to tackle those and up the anté in the coming year.
2015 Travel Resolutions
Block your dates. If you’re in India, take a look at CondeNast Traveller’s List of 2015’s long weekends and use all of them. Booking flight tickets and hotels in advance also means getting great fares. It also means you will work with a goal in mind, ensuring that you take those dates off no matter what.
Like we shared in several interviews this year, if it means rushing from office to the airport and finishing up work before you board, if it means sitting in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, shooting off some emails at midnight, if it means jumping right into a meeting as soon as you land, it’s still worth it. 2014 has been a whirlwind for us, and we think 2015’s going to be even faster. And we’re up to the challenge.
See more of your own country
While this is especially true for India, every country in the world is full of amazing places to discover and experience. We began 2014 on a high, using long weekends in the first quarter to visit Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Then, it fizzled out simple because we hadn’t planned, were unwell, or were busy redesigning the blog. In 2015, we’ve promised ourselves we’ll use the shorter long weekends to explore more of our own country, making the most of domestic flight fare wars and road tripping a lot more (ever since our Great Ocean Road Trip made us fall in love with drives). If you can’t get out, don’t forget to explore your own city and read our other How to travel at home tips. If you have a hometown you haven’t seen in years, get out there and find out how it’s changed, or how your perspective has changed. If you’re travelling as a couple, it’s a great excuse to show your better half where you come from.
Everyone talks about miles and nods vehemently. We did too. But we usually went with the cheapest airline or the hotel with the best location, just like you probably did. That changed halfway through 2014. And it made such a big difference. By sticking with our chosen airline – Jet Airways, we’ve racked up the miles by flying domestic and code share, getting co-branded credit cards, converting hotel stays to miles, spa and shopping bills to miles and more. This has been very beneficial. We’ve got a high-roller status, priority check in, extra baggage allowance, unexpected upgrades (over and above the free upgrade vouchers), lounge access and more.
In the past we’ve boasted about picking a place in the “off peak or low season”, but it’s usually been by chance. Now, unless we’re going to experience a particular festival or conference or weather, we’ve decided to stick with low season travel, to get the best fares and tariffs, avoid the queues and visit a time that’s generally less hurried, making the locals a little friendlier. The same goes for flying mid-week as opposed to on a weekend.
Travel in a more meaningful manner
This is a tough balancing act. All this while we’ve been advocates of slow travel, spending over 3 weeks in a single city. Now, while we still firmly believe that travel isn’t about ticking a whole bunch of countries off your list, we would like to have a whole lot of stamps in our passports and experiences in our memories. We’re not about to jump on the bandwagon doing a 3 week Highlights of Europe tour, jumping cities every two days. No. But we’re going to try and see a little more than a single city, maybe get out into villages and towns, spend some time in nature, and really let the essence of a country go a little further than skin deep.
We’re going to be friendlier, and get to know locals, because as we discovered in Australia, Friendship is the New Travel Currency.
While we’ve had some amazing gastronomic experiences, we’ve been pretty lax on the whole Cooking Classes front in 2014. So it’s time to get back to picking up some interesting culinary skills while we travel. It’s a great ice breaker, the best souvenir you can bring home, and definitely gives a deeper understanding into a people and their culture.
While we had enough time to get familiar with the metros in Paris, Bangkok and Barcelona (since we spent 3 weeks in each of those places), we hadn’t even looked up Kuala Lumpur’s LRT once. We were anxious, since we were there for only 4 days, but we took a deep breath and squeezed ourselves into a packed train and got to Chinatown pretty quick. Using the local public transport is rewarding, eco friendly and easy on your wallet.
While we’re not about to start suggesting you spend all your hard earned vacation days voluntouring in some remote location, if you do have an option to pick a more sustainable, eco friendly or fair trade option, by all means do so. For eg. we decided we’d rather pay the park fee at Nalusuan Island Marine Sanctuary and discover the natural beauty over dishing out the Pesos to some touristy snorkelling enclosure in the Philippines. We also try and pick up local/ handmade items as gifts and souvenirs over mass produced or duty free items.
So here’s to a fabulous year in travel ahead! How was 2014 for you? Did you manage to keep any of your resolutions? Any tips you’d like to let us in on? What are your 2015 travel resolutions and how do you intend on fulfilling them?