Travel sites looking for buzz clicks, using click-bait and other sneaky techniques would like you to believe that you can do away with a bad habit, travel or otherwise in 21 days. People who are involved in habit formation, like scientists and scholars suggest otherwise; that forming a habit takes between 96 days to a year, and to be completely quit from one takes the same amount of time, thanks to the complexity of the human mind. So there is no way you can actually form good travel habits or erase bad ones you didn’t know you had in a mere 3 weeks, but sometimes knowing is half the battle, and if you are aware of things that you’re doing which might be bad, you are more likely to change those things.
One of the biggest issues people have is with their finances while on holiday, and this is probably the easiest one to do away with by suggesting locations that are budget-friendly like Wilderness, South Africa. Choosing to stay at a place like Wilderness on Sea for instance, which offers options for self-catering can save a ton of money while on holiday, and also give you a sense of freedom and independence that you can’t get when you stay at a five star hotel and pay top prices. South Africa is known for being easy on the wallet for most travelers, and when you head along the West Coast to Wilderness, you’re really getting away from the mad dash of daily life, and money will be the last worry on your mind.
Here are some more “habits” most travelers have that can be tossed away.
- Thriftiness. We just spoke about this one but it bears repeating. Being budget-friendly is a good idea for any trip to ensure you don’t go broke on your fun, but it’s one thing to ensure you get a great deal on airfare, and another to plot out ever cent you spend in advance. If you’re going so far away to get away and really enjoy yourself, then you shouldn’t be shaving off costs absolutely everywhere. In places like South Africa it isn’t necessary anyway, because money goes so far with the exchange rate. There is no need to book into a questionable hole in the wall backpacker “hotel” where you’re roomed with ten other people who have likely not showered in quite some time. You also don’t need to cut coupons or look for deals on food just to be able to afford eating. If you’re really looking to enjoy yourself, picking a destination that is money friendly for you, is the only way to go. You cannot truly relax if you’re going to worry about your bank balance the entire time, so let it go.
- Non-stop Itinerary. No. Just don’t do this to yourselves. If you plan out every single moment of your holiday with breaks in between only to sleep and eat, you’re going to kill yourself just trying to have fun, and will end up going home more exhausted than you left. It’s a great thing to be excited to see a new place, and to want to pack your schedule with fun things to do, but you have to let some of it happen naturally and not force it. You cannot do it all in one trip, so don’t try to. You will find that you need flexibility while traveling because plans can and do change. Try to make a top ten list of the things you want to do the most, and if you’re not sure what those are – the people at Wilderness on Sea can help with that. There are no better people to ask than locals after all. You’ll find as you’re doing those ten top things, you’ll spontaneously find yourself doing many others, and that is a real way to relax right there. If you over-plan, you lose those moments that happen because you had time to do it in the first place, and if you don’t know what is truly there until you arrive, why plan out every moment of it?
- Selfies. There are no reasons to take selfies unless you really and truly love your face so much more than anything you could hope to see in this world. If that is the case, by all means keep snapping those selfies and posting them to social media, but if you’re not that narcissistic – well – you might want to stop taking photos of yourself and start taking them of the environment around you that you paid so much to go see. When you’re looking back at your holiday, are you going to want to see yourself in those photos, or be brought back to the moment itself when you took the photo? You can look at a photo of the beach and hear the seabirds again, smell the braai smoke as someone is cooking boerewors sausage nearby, and the fresh clean scent of the ocean air. You’ll be transported back to a pure moment in time, devoid of people but full of sensation, and all because you let the scenery be the focus of the photo and not yourself. Family photos or photos with your loved one are different, and don’t fall in the same category here, but take them sparingly. You’ll enjoy looking back on your pictures more when you’re not the focus of all of them. You can setup your camera or phone to snap a bunch of photos in rapid succession, so you’ll get the perfect image – but do yourself a favor and wait ten minutes or so at each location. Put down the camera and just absorb it all, let it all sink in and be present fully in that moment. You will begin to notice things you never did before, and see things that might be even more photo worthy than that tourist snapshot you just took.
- Eating the “Usual”. Why go somewhere to play it safe and eat your own culture’s food? So many people do this, but it makes no sense. Sure there is a margin of danger anywhere you go eat out, and that goes for your own culture’s food as well as anywhere else’s, but you may be surprised to learn that you have a higher chance of getting salmonella or worse from your local corner fast-food place than when you’re on holiday. South Africa is the Rainbow Nation with good cause, they have been influenced by many different cultures throughout the years and it all is reflected by the cuisine. There is no better time to experience something new and unique than being on holiday here. If you have reservations about eating something strange to you, then ask your server what is in it, or what the meat is so you can rest easy knowing that it sounds like something familiar. Most places are happy to replace food that you don’t like, but do your due diligence first and make sure you know what it is as much as possible when ordering to avoid waste. Wilderness has a farmer’s market in town also, so you can augment your food freedoms by adding homegrown favourites from there as well, and find some awesome things to bring back home. South Africa boasts 11 different official languages, it’d be a shame to all those cultures to show up and only eat what you know from your own. Live a little and try the new!