** Recommended by the experts …US! **
The most punishing petrol price increase ever, uncertainty about the future and a tough financial outlook for many of us, mean that we need to be clever, think divergently and adjust our plans, for holidays, this election year.
I asked The Village for suggestions of how to holiday on a budget and as usual, was rewarded with excellent advice.
- “Our best tip is to take our big holiday AFTER New Year. We always do this. There’s more accommodation available then and things are less manic , generally. Another Villager agreed: “Flights and accommodation generally cheaper across all budgets.”
- “We tend to stay within 2/3 hours of home and go for very basic self catering.” This year with petrol being so expensive, this is really sensible advice. So Hermanus, rather than Plett!
- A great recommendation: https://www.budget-getaways.co.za
- “Flying on Christmas day or New Years Eve is always much cheaper.”
- “If you’re traveling with young children always feed them before going out for meals and then let them have ice cream or desert, (I’d add – take your chips off your meal and give to them, good for budget and diet!) Our Villager continued, “ Kids waste and often wont eat food they are unfamiliar with.”
- Have you thought about House Swapping? Have a look at the many websites which offer this savvy way of holidaying in exotic parts of the world. Foreigners LOVE South Africa, and your suburban home may be their holiday dream.
- Out of holiday season, it is recommended that Villagers wait as long as possible to book flights and then do it closer to midnight. “ Prices drop because airlines want to get rid of seats.
- Another Villager added that the San Parks website is a treasure trove of great options. https://www.sanparks.org/tourism/availability/ My tip, after years as a sometimes travel journalist is to first try parks near large city airports. You can usually get cheaper flights to a centre like Port Elizabeth and transfers from Addo, for example, whereas flying into Kruger, in high season, via Nelspruit or Skekuza can be crippling. Another Villager added that if you have a wildcard, you do not have to pay the conservation fee, for Sanparks.
- A Villager suggested buying snacks for the family and picnic goodies at a supermarket and taking them with you to attractions. Snacks and meals in tourist attractions are often extremely over priced. She added, “we remember to eat as we do at home. “cereal for breakfast, toasties for lunch, a braai for dinner.” Another Villager added, “ Draw up a daily menu planner and when you get to your destination go grocery shopping. Google where the closest supermarkets are, don’t cart groceries along with you unless you have to. In my case, Halaal. There aren’t many if any Halaal butcheries in the Platteland.
- Kosi Bay was suggested as a local alternative to always pricey Mauritius or Mozambique. “ It’s paradise,” The Villager, who hared this great idea, said. “ It’s rustic, but gorgeous and most options are still very cheap. The lagoon is called “The Aquarium”, for obvious (and so tempting!) reasons.”
- “Start doing Christmas shopping now. Prices go up in the holiday season. You should also buy crackers and decorations at the end of the holiday season the year before, when they go on sale. You get really expensive ones at between 50% and 70% off from Woolworths, for example.”
- Many Villagers suggested Camping and said her favourites were “ Jamaka in The Cedarberg, Oeverzicht – Greyton and Dwarsberg ( which will need booking in advance,) in Rawsonville.
- Another great lead is Daddy’s Deals http://daddysdeals.co.za/todays-deals/cape-town – for activities as well as breaks. As well as https://www.hyperli.com. I’d add https://www.bushbreaks.co.za, and check out their specials … up to 70% off some destinations, when they haven’t sold all their rooms.
- A budget-savvy Villager suggested shopping around between AirBNB, hotels.com and directly with the venue. She says, “Recently, by finding a great looking place on Bookings.com and then searching out its own direct website, I saved R5000 on the price Bookings.com was going to charge us. The same applies to cheap flights, use Travelstart, purely to see which airlines fly where, and when. As soon as you’ve got the routing, check out the airline’s own site, It is inevitably much cheaper.”