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5 ways to stretch your December holiday budget

December is here and many South Africans are planning for a summer holiday escape. Whether you have a lengthy road trip mapped out, a staycation in your city or an air commute to another province – you’re going to be forking over some cash these next few weeks.

To help you stick to your budget and to not break the bank this festive season, here are some tips on how to stretch your December budget as far as possible.

Look out for those accommodation deals

COVID-19 has particularly impacted the hospitality industry, with many hotel rooms and other accommodation options standing empty for weeks, and even months, thanks to lockdowns and travel restrictions. As a result, industry leaders are focusing attention on the domestic market, which is good news for South Africans seeking great deals for local holiday options. Radisson, for example, has a number of staycation offers sure to entice you to venture out – safely – with your family. The available deals are tailored for an array of budgets and wish lists – from an economical stay in the heart of Sandton, to an indulgent pamper session in the Mother City.

Cut costs with home cooking

If you’ve booked into self-catering accommodation, you might be tempted to eat out all the time or order in to avoid cooking. But this can be a significant added expense for those on a tight holiday budget, so why not save by cooking at least a few meals in-house to keep your costs under control. If shopping for yourself is just a stretch too far, you can make use of grocery delivery services such as Yebo Fresh in Cape Town, that deliver to your doorstep wherever you are holidaying in the Mother City.

Don’t miss out on those happy hour specials

What are holidays without cocktail sessions and sundowner drinks – but make sure you do your research about happy hour specials. No matter where you’re holidaying in South Africa, there’s sure to be a special – sometimes even for longer than the traditional one hour. In Cape Town, Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront has a happy two hours, for example. For those who arrive between 6pm and 8pm, you can take advantage of the special that sees classics such as the Mojito, Pina Colada and Daiquiri on offer for only R65 each.

Turn to locals for all their tips

What better way to find out about where to score some great bargains than from the locals who live in the city? There are so many bloggers, vloggers and “influencers” who love to get out and about in their respective cities, and share their adventures and finds on their social media channels. Definitely keep an eye on the pages of your favourite ones from around South Africa to keep up with what the locals are choosing. Cape Town Tourism has some excellent money-saving ideas with their Pocket-Friendly Cape Town series. Take a look at the videos to see how far R150 can go in the Mother City.

Experiences over things

While you might be tempted to spend money on trinkets and mementoes, think carefully about whether this money would be better invested in an experience instead? Although your experience of choice may only last a few hours, it’s sure to deliver fun memories to treasure for a lifetime. Have a look at Airbnb Experiences for some unique ideas, such as cooking Cape Malay food in Cape Town, cycling through Johannesburg with an Airbnb Experiences host, or picnicking on the beach in Durban. If you would like to travel the world from the comfort of home, you could even book an online experience with a host in another country. Imagine cooking with someone in Italy, or learning to dance with someone in the USA!

No matter where in South Africa you’re headed, there are plenty of ways to ensure to get the most out of your well-deserved year-end holiday, regardless of the size of your budget.

This article was first published by Getaway Magazine on the 9 December 2020. 

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