Sunday World

Five clever travel hacks to save money for fun


With the cost of living sky-rocketing, we’re all having to re-evaluate what we spend our money on, and all too often, travel and leisure activities don’t make the list of must-haves.

If you are an avid traveller, try these clever tips to help you reduce travel costs and have some spare money to spend on fun activities once you reach your destinatio­n.

Swop locations and opt for self-catering

Picture a girls’ weekend away to do shopping for a wedding, a milestone birthday or an important anniversar­y. Normally, people head to the big cities so that they have access to a variety of shopping malls and big brand names in clothing, jewellery and gifting. Instead of booking accommodat­ion in city suburbs, opt for cheaper options in the surroundin­g townships, then Uber yourself around or use public transport.

Tshepo Matlou, who works for online booking platform Jurni, says: “If you stay at a property with self-catering options, you can cook your own meals instead of eating out. A backpacker­s’ hostel is even affordable and some even often provide inexpensiv­e meals.”

Take advantage of off-season offers

It’s smart to plan your travel as far ahead as possible so that you have time to compare transport and accommodat­ion costs. Bear in mind that certain activities can hike prices in a region, even if it’s off season. For instance, coastal properties are cheaper to book during winter, but a big sporting or cultural event in the area can see prices shoot up during that time.

Find free activities

South Africa’s clear skies mean we have amazing stargazing locations, most relatively short drives away from major cities. In fact, South Africa’s ancient connection with the night sky and excellent star viewing opportunit­ies is one of the reasons we have the Southern African Large Telescope, the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, near Sutherland in the Northern Cape.

Rural tourism is one of the assets that Mzansi should be pushing for everyone, locally and internatio­nally, to explore. Research the areas you are travelling to so that you can learn about any free activities in the area. Small towns often have seasonal festivals that are fun for the whole family to go to.

The coming spring and summer months see a host of festivals, such as the Magoebaskl­oof Spring Festival and the Hilton Arts Festival, both in September, the Hermanus Whale Festival in October. Free Sate this year welcomes back the popular Macufe Festival, set for October and the Ficksburg Cherry Festival in November.

Carpooling saves money and provides security

“Carpooling is a smart way for people to share travel expenses when they’re going to the same destinatio­n and improves the safety aspect of the trip. It’s a better option than using public transport because you can stop and take pictures and enjoy the scenery en route your destinatio­n,” advises Matlou.

Compare costs online

To have an idea of what you should put aside to have a comfortabl­e travel experience, try to benchmark the prices and attraction­s online.

Even if you are going out on a weekend trip with your friends, comparing prices will help you budget so that you can allocate money to the right things.

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