10 tips to consider when travelling on a tight budget

Peanuts may alleviate some symptoms but they won’t cure your motion sickness. Jetstar Airways

Choosing accommodation that includes breakfast means there’s one less daily meal to budget for.

After the recent Budget Speech and the announcement that South Africa is in a recession, consumers are tightening their belts. But while the news about the economy is a bit grim, that doesn’t need to mean the end of our travel plans.

“It’s just a matter of planning it right and this includes choosing how and when you travel, as well as most importantly matching your destination to your budget,” says kulula.com’s Shaun Pozyn.

“Work-life balance is essential and it’s been proven that those who take regular holidays are healthier and have more fulfilling relationships and careers. So, it’s good to see travel, not only as a chance to experience the world around you, but also a gift to yourself and an investment towards a more balanced lifestyle.”

To prevent the tough economic climate from ruining your travel plans, Pozyn suggests the following:

  1. Plan your travel way in advance and book early
  2. Travel off-peak

Time your travels to avoid holidays – school, public or national – as well as major sports events or festivals, all of which boost demand for, and cost of, booking.

  1. Go for Freebies

Choosing accommodation that includes breakfast means there’s one less daily meal to budget for, meaning you can spend more on fun activities like visiting museums, a comedy, concert, or bungee jumping if you’re an adrenalin junkie. Hotel buffets are also a boon for families with hungry, growing youngsters.

  1. Eat and shop locally

Take a break from big-name restaurants and look around for affordable markets frequented by the locals, especially if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation or a B&B. Not only will you save money, but you’re likely to discover more exciting and authentic flavours, that will enrich your travel experience. Carrying a goodie-bag of snacks and water will also help avoid, having to splurge on fast-food for hangry kids.

5. Talk to the Locals

When making your way around the beautiful place you’re visiting, take a leap of faith and get some valuable local knowledge about the best hangout spots, and where to get the best value for your money on food, clothes and local tour guides etc. Side note: For safety’s sake, always verify the information you find online or at your accommodation.

6. Consider travel stokvels

Financial saving schemes in South Africa re informally known as stokvels, where group members pay a specific amount for an agreed period of time to gain monetary or non-monetary returns. “Travel stokvels” are a buzzword at the moment. You simply deposit money each month so you can travel later in the year.  Expert tip: Make sure you join a credible group, where you can monitor your savings and retain control of it.

7. Plan group trips

Travelling with loved ones or friends can be pretty cost-effective. Typically, when you book as a group, you get a discount on flights and accommodation and perhaps even on group holiday activities.

8. Go where you know people

Traveling to destinations where there are people you already know can enrich your holiday experience. They might offer to be your tour guide to cool spots with the best, most affordable food and have insights into local culture.

9. Consider a travel package

Choosing a travel package can generally help you save and it makes planning a lot easier. If you’re struggling to find accommodation or don’t entirely trust the online reviews, selecting holiday packages from credible service providers can help remove the guesswork. You can also specify parameters like whether you’re travelling solo, with a family or looking for a perfect honeymoon spot.

10. Save, save, save!

There’s no better way to prepare for travelling than setting a budget aside and saving. If you plan on taking international trips, you would also need to consider the local currency and other expenses like visas.

Pozyn concludes, “Travel is always possible and in the words of the experts, ‘Work. Save. Plan. Travel. Rest. Repeat.”

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