It is a challenge not to spend a lot of money when on holiday. If you typically spend more on holidays than you budget for, then you’re not alone.
We’ve put our heads together to come up with a list of ways to spend less on your next holiday, without having to sleep on your friend’s couch or stay in a relative’s guest bedroom.
Here are 7 tips to cut the cost of your next holiday
1. STAY LOCAL
Overseas holidays are expensive. They sound romantic, and seem idyllic, but they cost a lot and involve a great deal of effort to realise. Save on the airfare, high foreign exchange rates, and time and effort, and take a holiday in South Africa.
The other bonus of staying local is that you support the little guy.Loyalty to small business owners – like local coffee shops, B&Bs, hair salons or artsy boutiques – boosts the local economy, supports innovative thinking, and checks corporate greed.
2. ROAD TRIP IT
You know what they say about life being the journey, not the destination? Put this expression to the test by taking your time getting there.
Flying and hiring a car for the duration of your stay generally costs a lot more than driving there. Slowly – there are enough deaths on our roads, most of them because we think getting there as fast as possible is the reason for leaving home.
Try a couple of overnight stays en route, staying at places you would usually not consider visiting (Pofadder, Putsonderwater?). Taking your trip easy means you arrive at your destination already chilled and in holiday mode. And you save the cost of the flights in the process.
3. SWAP HOMES
In 2010 we swapped homes with someone we did not even know, in Nelspruit. They stayed in our house in Cape Town and got to drive our VW Polo around, whilst we experienced the Kruger National Park in their swanky Toyota Fortuna.
Both parties benefited from a stay in a fully equipped home, saved on accommodation and car hire, and had a really good holiday to boot.
You need to be fairly trusting, and trustworthy for a home swap. Particularly the way we did it, without going through a formal agency or home swap website (we advertised on Facebook – Read more here: How Social Media can find you a holiday).
4. LEAVE THE CREDIT CARD(S) AT HOME
We tend to make more money mistakes when on holiday (the dress we never again wear, the piece of art that, once home, just does not belong anywhere).
Something to do with having a lot of extra time on our hands … and the holiday mood.
The overrun on budget for impulse buys is aggravated by pre-holiday spend on clothes, books, toiletries etc. (a survey reveals that we spend up to 10% extra before even leaving on holiday).
Rather put your budgeted spending money on your debit card. Once the money is spent, the tendency to over spend is checked. You’ll get home the richer for it.
5. COLLECT ANY BANK REWARDS
I am not a fan of banks in South Africa, which is why I’m with Capitec (but that’s a another story).
Sometimes reward systems, like FNB’s eBucks or Nedbank’s Greenbacks (Discovery Health has a similar rewards scheme) can make a holiday a whole lot cheaper, if you play it carefully and save your points.
My sister has an annual holiday at 40% less the cost of flights and hotel accommodation in the Drakensberg with her family by being smart about claiming rewards. Rewards can include not-to-be-sneezed-at percentages off selected flights (Emirates and Kulula), and discounts off package deals (flight+hotel, or flight+car ) etc.
6. CONSIDER FAMILY HOSTEL ROOMS OR CAMPING
Many backpacker establishments offer reasonably priced family rooms. They are usually well placed, in the centre of everything, and perfect for walking to most attractions.
Otherwise camping is still reasonably priced and children love it. Search carefully to find the more remote, less popular campsites where you can still experience a modicum of privacy and quiet (unless busy, social campsites are your thing, in which case there is plenty to choose from).
7. SHARE THE COST
Hiring a large house for a week’s holiday is a costly business if it is for your immediate family alone. But if you, and another three or four families, share the cost, suddenly the cost of your holiday lessens substantially.
Sharing a house among friends and extended family is ideal when the adults and children all get along, and a wonderful way to chill amongst friends, without breaking the bank.
Taking a holiday also reduces the chance of a nuclear family meltdown (the presence of others means there is less likely occurrence of familiar arguments).
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