By Anika de Kok
I believe we can all agree that if we knew about 2020 and the challenges it would bring beforehand, we would have saved more and planned better, especially when it comes to travelling.
But now that we are finally approaching a season of recovery, travelling can become an option again. There are some ways you can travel on a budget and end 2020 relaxed and safe with your loved ones. Use the travelling tips below when visiting our beautiful South African locations. Help them recover financially, while they help us to recover from this stressful year in return.
Here are seven ways to travel on a budget:
Travel as a group
Some lodges can be quite expensive and you can be expected to pay up to R2000.00 a night in a lodge house. You will then still need to cater for yourself, which makes a 6-bedroom house seem overpriced. This could scare some people off.
So, let’s make the money worth it. How about a couples’ retreat or a family reunion?
Let’s say you are doing a couples’ retreat with friends. Due to what has been happening the past seven months, you may have missed a lot of time together where you could have made memories. This could be the perfect time to make up for it.
In this scenario, there are six couples with each couple paying a share of roughly R340.00 (R333.33 to be exact). It sounds even better when you find out that it works out to about R166.67 per person per night, which is less expensive than a lot of guest houses in South Africa. With that, everyone contributes to food and other expenses.
The more people you are willing to share the 6-bedroom house with, the less you pay per person, and the longer you may be willing to stay.
Travel when it is off-season
We all know this one very well as we dread the prices on flights and hotels over school holidays and Christmas seasons.
Travelling out of these busy seasons saves you more than a penny. Planning is essential in this part of travelling because you will need to get well equipped with knowledge of the places you would like to visit and their pricings in different terms of the year.
Research local airlines and when they have specials on flights. There are occasions where they create promotions like a “Friday the 13th special” where you can get up to 50% off for flying with them on that Friday.
During this time it is also ideal to take advantage of services you are a part of when you want to travel by flight. These are services that offer discounts on flights when you swipe or use your card.
Here is a site you can visit to find out more about the best time to visit different locations in South Africa according to the different seasons: https://www.bookmundi.com/t/best-time-to-visit-south-africa#:~:text=The%20low%20season%20is%20between,the%20day%20and%20at%20night.
Keep your eyes open for specials
Since 2020 “happened”, some of our local travelling spots are launching new specials we can enjoy. This is not only for us to enjoy, but we can also help them save their dream businesses.
Travelling local is not only a big money saver, but we also help sustain our local attractions that survived 2020 so far. This is also so that they can thrive in the future and we can have a place we can return to.
Supporting our local attraction specials will not only save you a penny, but it will also help you to discover places you never knew were just outside of your front door.
Take advantage of free site visits, game rides, and tours offered by these places. Get up early, along with the sunrise, and enjoy what nature has to offer.
Here is a site you can visit to see some popular homegrown holiday destinations with different packages on offer: https://www.flightcentre.co.za/holidays/homegrown/south-africa
Visit sites that offer campouts
When we think “travel” or “vacation”, we tend to think “I don’t want to do anything but relax”. So, we search for the best 5-star hotel that offers laundry and three meals a day. Then it becomes quite pricey.
But when we change our mindsets to “I want to relax and spend time with the family” our whole outlook changes. Nothing bonds a family more than camping out in a beautiful campsite, cooking together, and relaxing around the campfire while releasing stress.
So, we have a win-win here: we bond with our families and we save money on expensive nights in hotels that overcharge you on food.
Even a 4-star hotel I visited in my area for research sake was R1500.00 a night for the room. It was not bad, and it had a bubble bed, a little space to move, and an on-suite bathroom. And if you wanted to add the breakfast buffet, it was R250.00 extra. However, that made me realize how much I would rather be camping where I can have enough space to move and not feel boxed in.
Here is a site you can visit to find some of the best South African campsites to visit: http://www.travelstart.co.za/blog/25-best-south-african-campsites-pitch-tent-summer/
Stay in a hotel and still save
Let’s say you are travelling, but for some reason, you need to stay over in a hotel. How will you save money?
Try to avoid the hotel menu options. They are often overpriced and you could almost feed a whole family with the price of one plate of food. Rather visit local restaurants or new vendors you can discover while wandering outside and doing sightseeing.
Go to the local supermarkets or nearest shops that sell food, like fresh fruit and vegetables, and buy some for breakfast. Most hotel rooms have a fridge in the room, together with a microwave oven. You can take advantage of that.
Hotel fridges are mostly stocked with little bottles of sodas, alcohol, milk, etc., but these items are often double the price of what you would pay in a local shop. Therefore, stocking up on your own supplies can be worth it. You can make a request to the hotel and indicate that you want the fridge in your room to be empty for use.
Bookings for the best hotels or top 10 cheapest hotels can be viewed on https://www.tripadvisor.com/HotelsList-South_Africa-Cheap-Hotels-zfp7721789.html
When you page through a travelling magazine, you can come across coupons that offer promotions, like a third night’s stay for free when you book two nights upfront.
A site like DealZone (https://dealzone.co.za/deals/category/vacations-and-travel-deals) can become your best friend when you are looking for these type of promotions.
Take advantage of coupons and online discounts as they are friends, not enemies. Grab your scissors and cut out that piece of paper with a smile, because it is to your advantage and there is a reason they are there. Go see the new places, cash in the coupons, and save a little money on a relaxing stay.
Join a holiday club
Holiday clubs are almost like a book club, if we can call it that. It is a type of membership where you can be part of a system where you can save and then visit local holiday sites for you and your family.
Each club has different fees that you pay monthly to save up for a holiday, and different requirements to follow to gain points to cash in on a holiday. I would recommend that if it is something you want to do, do your research, read reviews and ask friends who are part of a holiday club for advice so that you are not disappointed at the end because you had different expectations.
There are many more ways to travel on a budget. You may know about them if you have “been there and done that”. So, if you think of ways to save, do it.
Plan, plan, plan, and be prepared. You will save more than you could ever imagine. If all else fails, a night under the stars in your backyard with your family will cost you nothing but taking your blankets and pillows outside.
I hope this encourages you to visit local sites and travel more affordably this year.
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