passportsDon’t let the volatile Rand affect your holiday this December/January

It’s a scenario with which South Africans have become quite familiar – political dramas that impact on the value of the rand.

“While the factors that have led to our currency being so unstable are varied, the political issues of the past year have certainly played a part,” explains Danny Bryer, Director of Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management at Protea Hotels by Marriott®. “

This affects many areas of our lives – and it certainly has an impact on our travel plans, especially if they include trips to other countries.”

Bryer says that it can make quite a difference to your costs if you do your forex transactions on days when the Rand has an upswing in value.  So, once you have an air ticket and visas in hand, you can buy some Dollars or Euros – or transfer into a forex card – but do this on days when the Rand isn’t at its lowest.

“Although it’s difficult to contain your costs with the Rand’s value fluctuating so much, there are steps you can take to prevent getting yourself into serious debt,” he explains.

Consider these tips:

Choose a destination that’s more affordable for South Africans.

We don’t have much of a tradition of seeing the great spots on our continent so now’s the time to take in the Victoria Falls, enjoy the amazing cuisine and beaches in Mozambique, or go on a desert safari in Namibia.  Internationally, Bali, Thailand and Vietnam are already popular among South Africans because they are so affordable, and there are countries in Europe that won’t set you back as much as a trip to France or Italy. Try Rumania and Hungary, for example.

And, when selecting where to go, also weigh up the cost and hassle of obtaining visas.  Some places don’t require visas or you can get an e-visa quite easily and cheaply for other countries, like Turkey.

Do plenty of research

You should read up about the big ticket items involved in a trip to another country: flight options, the cost of local travel, accommodation and meals.  This can help you choose the most affordable options.

Self-catering accommodation that’s located a short distance away from the main tourist area is a good idea. Not only will you be able to limit what you spend on meals, it can be great fun trying to shop in a store where no one speaks your language!

Consider a package holiday.

This will ensure that you know upfront what the trip is going to cost.  You may be able to select different hotels; consider a 3-star instead of a 4-star so that you have some funds left over for a few extras while you’re away.

If you earn rewards from a loyalty programme such as eBucks, Marriott Rewards or Voyager Miles you may be able to cut costs considerably – use the points for your flight or to cover the cost of accommodation.

Do as much walking as possible

Taking taxis can end up costing a great deal; when you walk through a city, you’ll see details you would otherwise miss, and you get the chance to talk to the locals when you stop to ask for directions.

Travel internationally is a wonderful experience.  Make sure you are able to enjoy the experience – without having to pay for it for the next few years.

Don’t let the volatile Rand affect your holiday this December/January

It’s a scenario with which South Africans have become quite familiar – political dramas that impact on the value of the rand.

“While the factors that have led to our currency being so unstable are varied, the political issues of the past year have certainly played a part,” explains Danny Bryer, Director of Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management at Protea Hotels by Marriott®. “

This affects many areas of our lives – and it certainly has an impact on our travel plans, especially if they include trips to other countries.”

Bryer says that it can make quite a difference to your costs if you do your forex transactions on days when the Rand has an upswing in value.  So, once you have an air ticket and visas in hand, you can buy some Dollars or Euros – or transfer into a forex card – but do this on days when the Rand isn’t at its lowest.

“Although it’s difficult to contain your costs with the Rand’s value fluctuating so much, there are steps you can take to prevent getting yourself into serious debt,” he explains.

Consider these tips:

Choose a destination that’s more affordable for South Africans.

We don’t have much of a tradition of seeing the great spots on our continent so now’s the time to take in the Victoria Falls, enjoy the amazing cuisine and beaches in Mozambique, or go on a desert safari in Namibia.  Internationally, Bali, Thailand and Vietnam are already popular among South Africans because they are so affordable, and there are countries in Europe that won’t set you back as much as a trip to France or Italy. Try Rumania and Hungary, for example.

And, when selecting where to go, also weigh up the cost and hassle of obtaining visas.  Some places don’t require visas or you can get an e-visa quite easily and cheaply for other countries, like Turkey.

Do plenty of research

You should read up about the big ticket items involved in a trip to another country: flight options, the cost of local travel, accommodation and meals.  This can help you choose the most affordable options.

Self-catering accommodation that’s located a short distance away from the main tourist area is a good idea. Not only will you be able to limit what you spend on meals, it can be great fun trying to shop in a store where no one speaks your language!

Consider a package holiday.

This will ensure that you know upfront what the trip is going to cost.  You may be able to select different hotels; consider a 3-star instead of a 4-star so that you have some funds left over for a few extras while you’re away.

If you earn rewards from a loyalty programme such as eBucks, Marriott Rewards or Voyager Miles you may be able to cut costs considerably – use the points for your flight or to cover the cost of accommodation.

Do as much walking as possible

Taking taxis can end up costing a great deal; when you walk through a city, you’ll see details you would otherwise miss, and you get the chance to talk to the locals when you stop to ask for directions.

Travel internationally is a wonderful experience.  Make sure you are able to enjoy the experience – without having to pay for it for the next few years.

This article was first published in iAfrica.com on November 19, 2016.