How to enjoy the holidays on a tight budget?
The holiday season is quickly approaching, and we know you can’t wait to get away, whether it’s to swim in the ocean or get lost in the woods. Finding ways to vacation on a budget isn’t as difficult as it appears. All it takes is some forethought and a willingness to think outside the box. With the high cost of living and wages that do not reflect this for many of us, traveling can only be done on a budget, which can sometimes deter us from taking the plunge and booking a vacation. Traveling on a budget is definitely possible if you are informed and cautious.
Budget, budget, budget
Make a vacation budget before you even book your trip—flights and accommodations will most likely be the most expensive. Setting a daily limit, in addition to an overall budget, will help you spend within your means. Breaking up your overall vacation budget and having a set amount you can spend per day makes it less daunting and helps you stick to it better.
Book in advance
To get the best deals, book ahead of time. You’ll be able to find the best flight deals and compare accommodation costs to find the cheapest times to travel. If you wait until the last month before you want to go away and plan on flying, the flight costs will almost certainly have risen dramatically.
Choose an affordable destination
Select a local destination close to home. This will result in significant fuel savings. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to travel long distances to relax and unwind; sometimes the best treasures are right on our doorstep.
Keep an eye on travel costs
Bus, train, and taxi fares are all expensive in many tourist cities. If possible, walk or purchase a travel pass. If you have a student card or are retired, you can get a discount on travel passes. Different cities have different systems, so research your options before you arrive.
Save on food and drinks
Booking self-catering apartments or cottages rather than hotel rooms is almost always less expensive. Eating out is also expensive, so eat at home to save money. Mom doesn’t have to spend hours in the kitchen – pack a picnic for a fun outdoor adventure, enjoy family braais, or use ready-made pizzas or meals. Also, talking to locals about the best places to go and where they recommend is the best way to make the most of your vacation. They will be able to tell you about local, free activities or walks that you may not be able to learn about from travel books.
Most of us get through the year by planning our next vacation, whether it’s the call of the wild or the allure of sandy beaches. However, with the South African economy downgraded and everything – including travel expenses – becoming more expensive, it can be difficult to stretch your hard-earned cash to achieve your dream vacation. The truth is that many of us struggle to save enough money for the perfect vacation. But, as the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and that way requires us to be frugal with our money and make small savings on every aspect of our vacation.