Ed’s letter: holidays are an important investment

Posted by A on 18 December 2017

What would you do if you only had 15 holidays left?

A few years ago I travelled to Thailand in search of the ultimate beach. I needed turquoise water, lots of it, to float and swim and snorkel in.

I had considered other options but Thailand’s prices are hard to beat. I loved it: the lush foliage, a culture foreign to me, thunderstorms, bucket cocktails. But the sea and snorkelling was a disappointment – the ultimate beach ultimately eluded me. The following year I went to Mauritius and realised I’d been looking in the wrong place. Here, beautiful beaches were around every corner, plus they had more natural life. Why hadn’t I thought of it before?

The reason was threefold. Mauritius is known for package trips and for being pricey. Plus, I didn’t think it was exotic enough – something I need to satisfy that feeling of having escaped the confines of my usual life. But once there, I saw I was wrong. It was plenty different: chilli-sprinkled pineapples and mangoes, Asian street food, Hindu temples.

Rand for rand, Mauritius did cost a little more, but I knew I’d be saving to go back, whereas Thailand? Meh. What I realised was that a holiday is less about the money than about the value proposition. If, at the end of one, you feel invigorated and relaxed and have a thousand beautiful pictures in your mind’s eye, you’ll feel the money was well spent. It’s like buying a very good suitcase; it might cost you a little more but it rolls smoothly, carries your baggage easily, won’t embarrass you in a good hotel and, best of all, it will last you a lifetime.

So I believe one must think about holidays practically, like one does about financial investments. Take me. I’m 49. If I live to 80 – and still have a good heart and knees – and I can afford one annual holiday plus a few shorter getaways, well, that means I have about 30 holidays left. Some of the most incredible experiences I hanker for (many of them in this issue) will mean I could only do one every two years – that means I have about 15 left. I’d better make them count, right?

So I want to make the case for being more strategic about your holidays. Time can pass in a blur. This issue will help you plan for the big and small trips. I know what I’ll be doing if my life remains as lucky as it has been: turn to pages 16, 68, 70, 74, 75, 78 and 80. Those are the ones I’ve dog-eared. What will yours be?

We wish all our readers the most adventurous, beautiful travel year ever.


4 things to look out for in the January issue

1. Speaking of investments

Eight adventurers reveal the gear they‘d never leave home without, plus we test the latest version of it (page 64).

2. The best beds in SA

There’s no chance of guest’s regret when you stay at one of these places– the best of the top spots chosen by our expert reviewer over the last three years (page 46).

3. A very special place

On a private farm in the Cederberg is a 2,5-kilometre stretch of river. It takes a day and a half to explore. Read why on page 84.

4. The good-value star

Each issue of Getaway has several inexpensive accommodation options for under R550 pp (some for less) that we think offer good value. This issue we included some experiences too. Look out for the star.


This month’s contributors

Morgan Trimble – Kauai, page 90

Twelve years ago, Morgan was down with flu in Honolulu, the midway stopover on a rough sea passage between Osaka and San Diego. Disgruntled, she concluded that Hawaii was a sentimental tourist trap. But visiting Kauai (one of its eight main islands) proved how wrong she’d been. It’s a worthwhile trip, packed with natural beauty, adventure and solitude, all washed down with a beachside Longboard Island Lager.

Don Pinnock – Namibia, page 15, Bucket List 2018, page 68

At the end of a jaunt through Botswana and Namibia, Don arrived at Spitzkoppe and – though not high on anything, even beer – realised that these mountains were undoubtedly Namibia’s magical heart. While there, he came across a new lodge, bolted to the rust-red mountainside, and shared it with us. As someone who has seen a lot of Africa, he’s also a good person to ask for a bucket list. Plus this former Getaway editor is a judge for our 2017 Gallery competition (page 30).

Matthew Sterne – Investment Gear, page 64

Matthew spent six years floating between odd jobs around the world. He was a door-to-door light-bulb exchanger in Melbourne, a pub-crawl guide in Amsterdam, and a journalist in Medellín. He also worked at a turtle sanctuary in Nicaragua, on a camel safari in India and in an ice-cream factory in Norway. And he only lost his passport once. Now, he’s looking forward to his newest gig, as Getaway’s Gear Editor.

Teagan Cunniffe – Bucket List 2018, page 68; Cederberg, page 84

Gallivanting around Southern Africa over the last few years has given our photographer great ideas on where the best landscapes are found. She’s since been linking these up on road trips, subjecting friends and family to long drives and an overload of lofty passes. You’ll find some of her top photo destinations in our bucket-list story, plus images from a recent visit to the Koue Bokkeveld.


This story first appeared in the January 2017 issue of Getaway magazine.

Get this issue →

Our bucket list January issue features 48 fabulous destinations to suit your budget, time frame and wildest fantasies. Here’s why you should go to Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia and Hawaii in 2018.


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