What will you tick off your travel bucket list in 2018? Whether it’s sipping sundowners looking down over Lanner Gorge, dipping your toes in the Indian Ocean or seeing your first whale breaching in the bay - the new year holds so many wonderful potential travel experiences and destinations. And we're here to inspire you! From embracing the digital detox to enjoying your first solo adventure, read our top seven travel resolutions for 2018 and start planning that dream trip.

1. Embrace the digital detox

Years ago, leaving the office for a holiday always began with ticking off 'switch on my out-of-office' from the to-do list, followed by a power-down of the big clunky desktop. Not anymore. It is becoming increasingly difficult to disconnect and enjoy true relaxation away from the ping of an email or the beep of a WhatsApp. For many, it can be amazingly liberating to embrace a digital detox, even if just for a few days. Rather than reaching for the phone, fully appreciate the beauty around you, hear the crunching underfoot as you walk through the largest fever tree forest in the world. Make it your mission to spot the elusive Pel's Fishing Owl. Tick off a visit to each of Plett's pristine beaches. Indeed, spending the day enjoying nature without the pressure of modern technology or a ticking clock sounds rather good, don’t you think?

Tip: Delete your email apps and switch off social media notifications. Buy yourself a batch of postcards, a map and a travel journal. Last but not least, read our article to find out how The Outpost is embracing the wellness travel trend and championing the digital detox. Rediscover travel unplugged.

2. Take a solo trip

Travelling somewhere by yourself, whether it is a quick weekend getaway to the bush or a big trip is something you should try at least once. You get to travel at your own pace, make your own decisions and you don’t have to wait for anyone! Wake up and lie by the pool. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and go on a walking safari. Everyone needs a little 'me time', even if it's only for a night or two!

Tip: Do your research. Ensure you have enough info about your destination, the best areas to explore and the best ways to get around before you arrive. Some hotels or destinations are more suited to single travellers.

3. Support sustainable tourism

Think about how you can travel more responsibly this year and do your bit to reduce your impact on the planet, appreciate the values of different cultures, protect natural heritage, support local economies, and protect our wildlife. 

Tip:  Seek out companies who positively give-back to the community and create jobs; ask questions about conservation strategies and environmentally-friendly practices and the like.

4. Up your photography game

The number one thing to pack before heading out on an adventure? Undoubtedly, your camera. Magical experiences await and there will be countless moments that you will want to capture on your journey - so why not try and make sure you’re well-equipped to get the best snaps that you possibly can. 

Tip: Enrol in a short photography course, download a user-friendly and recommended photography app on your smartphone or, if you are planning an African safari, check out our top wildlife photography tips.

5. Learn a new language

There’s no better way to get excited and feel confident about your next travel destination than learning one of the local languages of the place you are visiting, even if it is just a handful of words and phrases. Helpful phrases like “hello” and “goodbye,” “please” and “thank you,” “table for two,” and so on. Whether you are in Paris or Portugal, locals will appreciate the effort.

Tip: Learning a language doesn’t mean having to carry around a dictionary with you wherever you go or signing up for an expensive class. Simply download apps such as Duolingo, Babbel, HelloTalk or Lingua.ly a few months before your trip, and use them to boost your vocabulary.

6. Set aside more time to travel

You'll never regret seeing a new part of the world but time flies by so quickly and if you don't book in advance it's easy to blink and miss a travel opportunity. This applies especially to those you have to make the most of any allocated leave days as well as to big families spread across the globe who want to travel together in order to spend real quality time with each other. In this case, planning years ahead may be required to take all families' school holidays and other commitments into consideration.

Tip: Plan in advance. If you would rather do regular short trips, book your leave for all of them or pop them in your diary at the beginning of the year, making sure you use public holidays to your advantage. Where will you be travelling in 2019? If you'd like to be with your entire family or a special group of old friends in the setting of a lifetime, don't be afraid to plan years in advance.

7. Learn to pack lighter

We all know the struggle, one item here, one item there, and it very quickly becomes apparent you’ve overloaded your bag. Packing is a daunting task but no matter where you are going or for how long, packing lighter will always make your travel experience more comfortable and enjoyable. 

Tip: Choose a small size bag to take - this will restrict the amount you can pack. Prioritise your belongings - do you need three fleece tops? Choose one. Make a checklist that you can save and use in the future, and after each trip add any essentials you find important. Lastly, if you are planning an African safari, check out our packing guide for a few helpful tips.

Our portfolio of luxury game lodges, country houses and boutique coastal hotels brings together some of South Africa's most iconic destinations and experiences. So whether it's experiencing the beauty of the Garden Route or taking your family on their first African safari, our team at Rare Earth Retreats is here to help make your dream trip to South Africa happen. Get in touch.