Cape Town - The countdown has begun, the fireworks sprung, and you've already had your first kiss for the New Year. This year it's going to be different, you're going to hit all your travel goals and have the most envious social media life.
But that was all at the start of 2017. We now heading into 2018, and your resolutions have gone stale. But this time it's going to be different, you tell yourself.
SEE: What we should leave behind in 2017
Staying motivated to travel can be hard. You have to balance out your leave with family events, birthday weekends and weddings, leaving little room for that special holiday close to your heart. And let's not get started on the money you need to save as well, especially when a drink out with the squad can turn into a full-on spending spree at clubs.
But when you think about those once-in-a-lifetime memories and missed golden Instagram opportunities, it gives your motivation a little spark. Here are some tips to help fan that spark to a manageable glow, because we're in a drought and can't afford a fire right now.
Appoint a travel buddy
As the wise Internet saying goes - "A good friend bails you out of jail, but a best friend is in there with you" - proving that friends can make each other do all kinds of ridiculous things. Why not channel that wanton silliness into something more worthwhile, like planning a trip together? You'll keep each other driven towards that ultimate getaway, through long talks over coffee and wine about what beaches you're going to laze about or which clubs to hit up. Eventually all that talk will lead into concrete plans and before you know it your friend texts 'tickets booked' and you can't back out now.
SEE: 8 of the best trips to take with your girl squad
Make yourself accountable to a charity
If you can't see yourself spending weeks in a cramped backpackers room with any of your friends, then why not hold yourself accountable to those less fortunate than you? You can crowdfund for a charity cause attached to your travel goals, making it more important to achieve your resolution. Backabuddy offers a platform where you can sign up with one of their registered charities, like Afrika Tikkun which has an #AdventureFundraising campaign. They provide holistic services to children from birth to working age. You can sign up with them and they will spread the message of your campaign on their social media platforms.
SEE: Tips to save money when your travelling feet and passport trump your savings plan
Never stop reading those travel blogs and scrolling through those travel 'grams - it'll keep the longing for the adventure burn longer, and FOMO can be a strong motivater. Take in all you can about your desired destinations, keep a growing list of all the things you want to do and set alerts for changes in flight prices, because there's nothing like a massive flight discount for those quick travel decisions. You could even get into learning more about your destination's main language if it's different to your mother tongue. Nothing quite beats the look on a local's face when you butcher their language with your awkward accent.
SEE: Travel lists: Where to go in 2018
Some people are motivated by achievement, others by the sheer fear of not living their best lives. You don't have to work yourself into a panic, but stoking the bear a little may be just what you need to get you into flight mode. This could be effectively done by unblocking that Facebook friend of yours that seems to constantly be on holiday despite having no job, or just following travel Instagrammers. Channel that fear of wasting your life and direct it away from spending money on that chocolate and rather towards saving up for that envious dream escape.
SEE: Budget-friendly foodie escapes across Mzansi
Change your password to something motivational
For that next inevitable password reset because you forgot if it was with a capital or not, change it to something like 'GoTravel323' or 'DontBuyThatExpensiveShirtSaveForParis1'. Every time you have to type it in you remind yourself about your travel dreams, even if it is just subconsciously. I am not so sure you should change your WiFi password though - your housemates may feel less excited about your travel plans.
SEE: 6 Nifty gadgets travellers need this festive season
You don't have to leave the country
Not able to reach your grand dream of travelling the world? Start with small steps! You're lucky enough to live in a country that hosts pretty much every type of holiday you can think of - from city to beach to wildlife to snorkelling to luxury to budget. Your travel time is much shorter and just by taking a few small steps travelling around the country, you'll find yourself going further afield without even realising it. Did I mention there would be no visa drama or travel insurance needed?
SEE: #LoveSA: Why you don't need to spend those precious rands overseas
Maybe you'll be the lucky one to stick your New Year resolutions, maybe you won't reach all your dreams. But hey, we're all trying our best and sometimes it's okay to indulge in that sweet popping jacket you eyed over at H&M. Thailand will still be there next year.
What to read next on Traveller24:
- Want to be a flight attendant?
- South Africans' favourite 2017 destinations
- Be cool! How not to be that festive-season douchebag