Top 7 travel tips when money’s tight

As the year winds down and travel restrictions become a distant memory, you might be conflicted about holiday planning. On the one hand, it would be great to get away and unwind at last, but on the other hand, most of us are feeling the financial pinch as the cost of living rises.

But a vacation doesn’t have to cost the earth, if you’re flexible and plan it carefully. If you don’t have as much as you’d have liked to spend on a holiday this year, you can still plan a restful getaway without overstretching your finances.

Here are 7 tips to help you plan the best holiday on a tight budget:

1.  Travel locally

Exchange rates can be horrifying, and South Africans have so many options when it comes to local holiday destinations. Sunny beaches, majestic mountains, ancient forests, vast desert flats, rolling grasslands, bushveld safaris, wild river and ocean adventures – whether you’re looking for peace and quiet in the country or big-city nightlife, Mzansi offers something for everyone.

Recurring international travel bans have left our tourism industry the worse for wear, so taking a local holiday will not only cost you less, but it will also help boost our own economy.

2. Plan ahead

Travelling spontaneously is amazing, but it usually requires time and money to spare. When travelling on a budget, plan the trip and your itinerary as far ahead as possible. That will allow you to take advantage of early-bird discounts on travel, accommodation and all the must-do experiences and excursions to be found at your destination.

3. Travel during off-peak times

Avoid taking a holiday during peak periods – especially if you don’t have children, because peak season usually coincides with school holidays. With family travel opportunities restricted by the school calendar, the high demand for accommodation, flights and entertainment during school holidays drives up prices. If you can travel before or after the peak period, most of your holiday expenses should cost less.


Make sure you’re enjoying the real experience in the moment


4. Remember to pack what you need

As part of your comprehensive planning, research your destination and your accommodation to pack accordingly. Create a checklist that includes all the essentials you might need to provide for yourself, from chronic medication to device chargers. Tick off each item on the list as you pack, so that you can avoid unnecessary spending at your destination.

5. Book your flights well in advance

Flying can be costly, but you can get better deals if you book early. Compare flights across the airlines and book the best deal. Save money by flying during the week and skipping the seat-selection and extra-baggage options that some airlines offer.

6. Don’t eat all your money

Holidays are meant for overindulging in delicious foods and experiences, but these meals can be costly. If you choose self-catering accommodation, you can visit local markets for supplies. Otherwise, pick restaurants that suit your budget. Wander around popular areas looking at menus before you choose an eatery, instead of picking the first one you come across. Consider having water with your meals instead of pricey drinks. If breakfast is included in your accommodation deal, be sure to stock up at the buffet every morning to fuel yourself for the day’s events.

7. Treasure the experiences over the souvenirs

Bringing home curios and keepsakes to share your holiday story with friends and loved ones can deplete your budget fast, so remind yourself that the experience is worth more. Focus on recharging and enjoying the experience, rather than collecting souvenirs. You don’t have to be a total kill-joy – obviously, you’ll want lots of photos or videos of all the things you see and do – but make sure you’re enjoying the real experience in the moment, before you worry about recording it.

Travel. Rest. Recharge. Find a holiday that suits your budget on Avo by Nedbank.