Travelling abroad on a budget

There are few greater joys than leaving behind the bustle of everyday life to set off on your dream vacation.
If your dream destination happens to be abroad, the ideal budget would be unlimited funds. But a modest budget should not stop you from travelling overseas. Nicolette Dirk looks at the most affordable destinations so you can take that dream trip without breaking the bank.

Always budget before heading off

Before you decide where to go, draw up a budget. CostSaver by Trafalgar, one of South Africa’s leading guided holiday experts, says the key to travelling on a budget is to pay for all your essentials such as accommodation and the “must see sights” upfront, and leave the finer details such as meals and additional activities for when you’re there.

To construct a budget for travelling, Transitions Abroad  suggests you list all the things you expect to spend money on, and then plug in the length of the trip and local cost estimates. Pre-departure expenses, airfare, transportation, lodging and meals are just some of the expenses you should include when you draw up your budget.

Affordable countries to explore

Travel enthusiast and writer, Karin Petersen, recommends Thailand as an affordable holiday destination. “Not only are the flights cheap, but the accommodation is very reasonably priced. You can easily pay R800 per person for bed and breakfast at a 4-star hotel in Phuket,” says Petersen. She also suggests Chiang Mai as a reasonably priced holiday destination where alot of the sightseeing is free.

The economic crisis experienced by certain countries in Europe has had an effect on the cost of travelling there. According to Travel.cnn.com, the turmoil in Greece has weakened tourist demand and, in turn, prices. Uncertainty about the country’s financial future is driving down travel costs. Many travellers are predicting that these low rates will drop further should Greece fall out of the Euro.

Affordable packages offered by companies

Travel agencies and holiday accommodation venues offer a variety of package deals to make travelling a more cost-effective experience.
On CostSaver by Trafalgar, guests can travel to destinations in Europe and Britain including Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, France, Ireland, Germany, Greece, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Belgium.
There are four trips that go for under R10 000 per person sharing.

This includes accommodation, daily breakfast and three 3-course dinners. These include the 8-day highlights of the Italian Lakes from R8975, the 9-day Spanish Experience from R9975, the 8-day Irish Wonder from R9250 and the 7-day Glimpse of Europe from R9975. The Paris Week starts from R8150 and includes seven nights’ accommodation with daily breakfast and three memorable sightseeing highlights, including a cruise on the River Seine.

Also included is a half-day excursion to Louis XIV’s Palace and the Gardens of Versailles.
For those hoping to holiday on African soil, the Thornybush Reserve in Kenya has a small 10 person lodge called Tangala Private Camp. For under R2000 you get your meals and game drives. “Visitors get to see the same animals that guests at nearby lodges are paying over R10 000 a night for. They also give huge discounts if a group books out the whole camp (10 sleepers) for two nights,” says Petersen.

Moneybags Tips:

It pays to budget even before you decide where to go.
Countries experiencing an economic crisis usually experience a dip in tourism. Look into holidaying at these destinations.
Ask travel agencies and hotels what packages they offer to get the best deal for group vacations.