Travelling the weekend before pay day is not wise, let met tell you. It is budget this and budget that – no, you can’t have that chocolate, because not only will it make you fat, you will probably need that R10 for toll money. We had to turn around before a toll gate because I forgot to withdraw money and for some reason my card wouldn’t swipe anymore.
1. Don’t fall into tourists traps. Oh, did we fall into them! We did every single touristy thing while we were in Mpumalanga, we bought all the curios, felt sorry for a certain restaurant in Graskop that had not clientele – a sign that we shouldn’t even have gone in – and paid a hefty fine for bad food.
2. Make sure you have enough money for petrol. You want to arrive at your destination – all the tourists traps – and home without having to stall next to the road and not have to walk to the nearest petrol station. (this didn’t happen to us, luckily)
3. Pack your own food. Instead of having to pay an exorbitant amount of money at a restaurant for shitty food and also having to then leave a tip for the shitty waiter, rather pack your own food. You then at least know what to expect from your food – because you made it – and your wallet will thank you for it.
4. If you want to go on Safari, take your own car. Don’t go on guided game drives or safaris if you have your own car. These are usually only two hours long and are pretty expensive. Budgeting for petrol also comes to play here. If you are planning on driving six hours in a reserve, you better have petrol. If you don’t have petrol or money for a safari, then walk around your lodgings if you are in the veld. You might not see rhino or elephant, but you will still see some wildlife.
5. Do all the free things. There aren’t a lot of things that are free anymore, but playing a tennis match with your other half, going for a picnic somewhere between the trees, jumping on a trampoline, hiking and bicycling (provided you have your own bike) are free or cheap alternatives.
6. Look for specials or coupons. Groupon always has some sort of spa day somewhere. If it is in your are and you area really keen on a massage, then make use of such opportunities. Also, we saw some activities that were cheaper on Mondays, such as river rafting or horseriding.
7. Drink free water. South Africa’s water is pretty clean, one of the cleanest in the world, so instead of buying that damn expensive bottle of sparkling water, just grab an empty bottle and fill it with tap water. (I should listen to my own tips, but I just like sparkling water so much more than tap water)
8. If you are an international tourist, rather use buses or other forms of public transport than a cab or renting a car. These can be very expensive.
9. Travel in the off seasons. Right now it is autumn/winter, which makes accommodation so much cheaper. As for the rest, it doesn’t change much.
10. Really broke? Remember that friend who borrowed money to put petrol in his car, pay his rent, etc? Well, it might be time to contact that friend. Or your parents. (T&C’s apply. Not recommended.)
Picture: Blyde River Canyon