While everyone is talking about new year resolutions, the Ajala’s are making travelutions; travel + resolution. There is something about seeing the world and experiencing new cultures. It’s an insatiable addiction and once you start, you cannot get enough. The Ajala’s have already started making their travel plans, they probably started making travel plans for 2017 in 2015! Be it traveling for an adventure,cultural immersion, safari trip, foodcation ,local travel or to exotic locations they are definitely ready to take on the world in 2017!
Being a green passport holder resident in Nigeria, it’s not easy to pack your bags and go! Traveling requires adequate planning and this puts off people from achieving their travelutions. Here are a few tips on how to make those travel goals happen this year. Do not let your green passport stop you from making 2017 your year of travel.
- Have a separate travel account: Saving towards travel is very important for achieving your travel goals. Setting up a direct debit with your bank is the most effective way to do this and this way you don’t forget to put money in your travel account. You should also be realistic while setting aside money. If a trip to your dream destination costs N800,000 and you intend to set aside N100,000 per month, you should set up that direct debit in January i.e now
- Look for deals (hotel + flight deals): Subscribe to booking platforms that offer these services such as Wakanow and Travelstart Nigeria. Airlines also have deals from time to time and you could join their mailing list too. You can also download apps such as google flights, kayak and orbitz and get notified when deals are available. When visiting neighboring countries at a go i.e. going on an euro trip, use low-cost carriers or other means of transportation such as trains and buses. Like when Funbi did her euro trip here, she used EUrail which train service allows non-EU citizens travel though Europe with a single pass.
- Take a road trip to neighboring countries: Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Benin Republic e.t.c are all within your reach. It saves you a lot of money on transportation and many transportation companies take trips to these countries for an affordable price. Over the holidays, we did organized a trip to Benin Republic and it was all shades of awesome and there were so many Nigerians there. As the exchange rate is not smiling, West African countries seem very attractive now. There are also private cars available for hire if public transportation isn’t your thing. In the alternative, be bold and hit the road on your own. Do not forget to get the necessary documents i.e. laissez passer.
- Do visa free countries: There is no stress like visa form filling/queuing at the embassy stress. For me, this is the worst part of traveling and it has stifled many travel goals. I always advice to start with visa free/visa on arrival countries and good enough Nigerian passport holders can visit over 40 countries visa free/visa on arrival. See details on visa free countries here. I have visited at least 6 visa free/on arrival countries some of which i documented here, here, here and here. This isn’t a lot but it’s a good start!
- Get Hosted: This is a huge money saver on accommodation and a great way to meet locals. You can either get hosted if you know someone living in the country you intend to visit or use hospitality/hosting sites such as couch surfing, be welcome, warm showers, staydu, airbnb, globe freeloader, stay don’t pay, stay4free , hospitality club e.t.c. These hosting sites are sometimes tailored specific to the kind of traveler you are. For example while warm showers is for touring cyclists, staydu is for budget travelers. Ensure to do adequate research and read reviews of your hosts before you get hosted! Amarachi of chapterone recently used couch surfing for her trip to Benin Republic and she had a very good experience with her host. Read her couch surfing story here.
- Explore your environment: Sometimes, local travel is the way to go. Nigeria has so much to offer in terms of natural untapped sites. This is always a good way to get motivated kick-start your travels!