#10 tips: How to save a few bucks while on holiday

Carla Oberholzer, a debt adviser at DebtSafe.

Are you already cheering the end-of-the-year holiday period on or perhaps, looking forward to a well-deserved getaway early in 2021? The 2020 year has left you with a few unexpected events to deal with, and a vacation was probably not one of them. If you have, therefore, planned to go away for a bit – good for you for taking a breather right before the end of the year or early next year.

And, most importantly – how can you make sure that while you’re on holiday, you also get a chance to save a few bucks? The key is to put your practical hat on and work with what you have available.

Carla Oberholzer, a debt adviser atDebtSafe, says: “There is no need to overextend yourself when on holiday. You can have fun within your budget and, not to mention taking on those various saving opportunities that are available as well. Bit by bit each saving adds to your money bucket in the end.”

Here are TEN (10) TIPS to ensure you save a few bucks during your upcoming holiday:

  1. Outline your budget or total budget amount and STICK TO IT. Don’t overspend and rather keep your holiday money in a specific account where you can withdraw it when/where needed. Remember: cash can also be your friend if you’d rather go that route. But, don’t be naïve – make sure that you withdraw it at a secure place/ATM and keep it safe from those eyes or hands lurking around.
  2. Take travel-size (mini) toiletries and products with you. Don’t go and buy your toiletries when you reach your destination. It can indeed be expensive, especially in a pricey tourist area.
  3. Be a smart packer and pack light – especially when you are flying (to perhaps avoid checking a big bag in, if the government/lockdown level allows your travel to an international/national destination, for example) or, when the place that you are staying at has a free laundry area (washing machine, etc.) included.
  4. Take a few minutes and check out what free or affordable activities you can do/outing-destinations you can visit. Set up an itinerary (if you haven’t had the time to do so yet) – one that can work according to the outlined budget.
  5. Play the age card – if you are 60 and over, use that pensioner card of yours to ask for discounts at stores/outing entrances. When your baby/under twelve (12) kid is coming along, or perhaps you are still a student, then the age game can do wonders when it comes to saving a few bucks.  
  6. Travelling costs can become quite expensive – walk, therefore, by foot where you can and when you have to hire transport do your research well to make sure that whatever you choose is the most affordable option.
  7. Data is expensive in South Africa – so keep an eye out for free WIFI spots.
  8. Look out for farmer’s markets and local stores to buy fresh, in-season fruit and veggies, for example. Rather stay away from touristy areas and shops. And, don’t buy every souvenir that you see – why would you want to do that to your poor pocket?
  9. Make use of available saving apps or reward programmes during your holiday/outings – when filling up your car tank or during those restaurant outings.
  10. Speaking of food/snacks – here are some ideas:
    1. Self-catering is always a good idea, but make sure you take your supplies from home.
    1. For all those caffeine lovers – make sure you pack your on-the-go French press.
    1. Pack snacks for those holiday nibbles and, of course, take it with to those outings where it is allowed.
    1. For those ‘true spoil days’ – restaurants do tend to have lunch specials. So, make sure you keep a lookout for possible money-saving deals.
    1. If you are staying at a place where breakfast is included – take advantage of it to not go hungry before noon again.

A few extra things to keep in mind for your next/future holidays:

  • Be careful of those ‘too far away’ or pricey tourist destinations. Make sure you consider accommodation, fuel and activity costs.
  • When it comes to affordable accommodation, ask yourself if you really need a big, beautiful room that you are not going to spend lots of time in. Do your research in advance and compare/consider various affordable alternatives between hotels, travel hostels, camping facilities, B&B’s or lodges, for example.
  • Travel outside peak season. Out of season holiday visits can not only make sure you stick to your budget (due to special rates) but can also avoid overcrowding at some popular holiday locations.
  • An important tip when it comes to scrolling online – clear your browsing history and online cookies. Search via ‘incognito’ mode. And, change servers when making online holiday bookings or buying travel products.
  • Save each month, and let your loved ones join in the mission to plan and save for the next, upcoming holiday. Plus, don’t forget to add to/save up your rewards during the course of the year.  You can certainly score when you do bookings in advance or online, AND use your well-deserved earnings/points while you are at it.  

Are you ready for the upcoming holiday or break? You’d better be because you deserve it. The end of the 2020 year is in sight, and perhaps that is a good thing. Remember to keep it frugal as best you can and, to keep these handy tips in mind for future holiday planning.