Everyone wants to travel and conquer the world. And I understand why. We have come so far as a world in general. From restricted human movement and different forms of segregation to one large global village. Of course, there are still challenges, especially for third-world passport holders, but complicated doesn’t mean impossible, right? Yet after seeing the beautiful Alps and walking over the Great Wall of China, the last trip is always coming back home. Unfortunately, most of us (me included) know very little about our country.
There are so many parts of Kenya that I am yet to reach, see, and experience. And as much as I cannot wait to see a true Scotts Man in a kilt, I also crave to sleep in a Turkana manyatta and drink from a busaa pot in Kakamega. I want to see and maybe touch an elephant, say hi to a beautiful butterfly in Malindi, have a desert-roasted goat in Northern Kenya and see the beautiful Magadi flamingos. Here are 7 reasons I think we should travel local in 2020.
1. It is Cheaper
Travelling local is way cheaper than going abroad. For starters, you will not have to worry about flight fares or visa fees. Although there are multiple flights to and from different Kenyan cities, it is much more thrilling to go by road or rail. This way, you get to see numerous sites, places, and people that you would miss if you flew. Road travel, though tiring, saves you a lot of money. And even if you choose to fly, the fares will be much more affordable compared to international flights.
2. No Passport Complications
If you are anything like me, you must understand the frustration that comes from anything passport related. The massive queues at the immigration offices or the fees that come with passport application or renewal can truly break your spirit. However, local travel does not require a passport presence. Just carry your original ID card and driver’s license where applicable, and you are good to go. The best part is, that even if you decide to cross the border over to Uganda or Tanzania, you can do so with your ID only. Isn’t that amazing?
3. Less Scary
I know travelling outside your country can be extremely scary, especially if it is your first time. So why not travel local in Kenya first and get the hang of it? Travelling local is more straightforward because of many reasons. Some of them include:
- No language barriers
- No money exchange problems
- You can always get help from a friend even if they are in a different part
- Easy and quick money transfer
- The subconscious feeling of familiarity.
4. Get to Know Kenya Better
I have made a personal resolution to know Kenya for myself, as opposed to reading about it on the Internet. Of course, I cannot travel the whole country and experience it in-depth in just a year. But I plan to make small and deliberate steps toward this goal. I believe Kenya has so much to offer when we look past the politics and other human-made problems. The Laikipia Wilderness, Marsabit Forests, Coastal Goodness, Nyanza, Western Culture, Central Economy, and overall vibrant everyday life in the country is so much to look forward to. Hopefully, at a time like this next year, I will be able to answer a simple question such as ‘What interesting things can one do in Kericho?’ without consulting Google. And travelling local is the best way to do this.
5. Simpler to Plan and Implement
One of the best parts of travelling local is that it requires little or no planning. Unless you are considering a long trip, you can make most local travel plans last minute. The only prior arrangement that all travel, domestic or international, need is cash savings. Once you have the finances, then you can wake up one Saturday morning and decide to go camping in Naivasha, or fishing in Lake Victoria and still be back to work come Monday morning. You will find that these short trips will soon amount to a vast collection of memories and experiences that you would have missed if you only waited for the big week-long vacations.
6. You Will Not Lack Company
Unless you enjoy solo travel, another advantage to local travel is the readily available company. I came to realize that most Kenyans love touring, but they find it odd or hard to do so alone. So why not be your crew’s planner and get the dice rolling? Once you have the destination, budget, and transportation plans sorted, it will surprise you just how many people will show interest. Travelling with friends or family is a great way to make lifelong memories and even strengthen your bonds.
7. Support Local Businesses and Economy
Finally, and perhaps most important, local travel helps in supporting local businesses. From the moment you get on the road, your support for the local economy begins. From the gas station, when using private means to the transportation sector when using public means. You also get to support local food businesses, curio makers, hoteliers, tour guides, boat owners, Boda Boda riders and retailers. Now more than ever, supporting the Kenyan economy is critical for the country’s growth. And the best part is, you get to make friends and connections while at it.
As much as Kenya is no Kuala Lumpur, it still is a haven in its beautiful way. With more than 42 tribes in Kenya and close to 50 million individuals, there is so much to see and learn. If the above reasons do not convince you of the importance of local travel, how about doing so as a sign of solidarity? You will not regret it. I guarantee you.