As Easter approaches, many South Africans are eager to take a well-deserved break and spend quality time together. However, with the current economic uncertainty and rising inflation, budget-friendly options for a getaway can seem limited – especially when booking last minute.
The experts at Flight Centre share their tips for booking a cost-effective Easter escape:
- Fly or Drive?
One of the most significant decisions a traveller must make is whether to fly or drive. While the answer largely depends on individual factors, there are a few general rules of thumb to follow.
Flying is generally the most cost-effective option if travelling alone to a city or hub. If travelling as a couple, it could go either way, depending on the distance and the fuel economy of the couple’s car. If travelling with kids, a road trip may be the way to go.
To get an idea of the cost difference between driving and flying, Top Auto conducted an experiment last year comparing the cost of driving from Johannesburg to popular South African destinations, Durban and Cape Town, to the cost of flying. The experiment looked at three cars with varying levels of fuel economy: a Ford Ranger 3.2TDCi Double Cab 4×4 XLT Auto, a Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 Xs, and a VW Polo 1.0TSI 70kW Life.
Keeping in mind that fuel prices have increased slightly since the experiment was conducted, for a round trip from Johannesburg to Durban, the cost of driving ranged from R1,998 for the VW Polo to R2,668 for the Ford Ranger. For a round trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town, the cost of driving ranged from R3,744 for the VW Polo to R5,316 for the Ford Ranger.
However, flight prices are subject to more fluctuations and can vary significantly from airline to airline. Currently, flight prices per person for a round trip from Johannesburg to Durban range from* R2,253 to R4,008 depending on the airline, while flight prices per person for a round trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town range from* R4,848 to R7,060.
If travelling with multiple people, the cost of flying can quickly add up. However, if a traveller is set on flying, being flexible with their travel dates can help reduce costs. For example, departing from Johannesburg to Cape Town just one week later can result in a much cheaper flight, with prices starting at* R3,497 per adult return ticket from Johannesburg to Cape Town and R1,674 per adult return ticket from* Johannesburg to Durban.
- Be clever about accommodation choice
Travellers should look for all-inclusive holiday packages and special combo flight and accommodation deals. “The savings offered in these instances could certainly tip the scales regarding cost-effectiveness and your mode of travel, especially if the deal involves accommodation where kids under 12 years old stay for free,” advises Antoinette Turner, General Manager of Flight Centre South Africa.
Many hotels and resorts also offer interleading, larger or adjoining family rooms, which can help to save money.
- Use a travel expert
Travel experts can access exclusive deals unavailable to the general public. This means they can often offer discounted rates on flights, accommodation, and activities that a traveller might not be able to find on their own. Travel experts also have quite a few tricks up their sleeves regarding the best times to book, the best destinations to visit, and the most cost-effective ways to travel. By using a travel expert, travellers can tap into this expertise and make the most of their budget.
- Be flexible
With just days to go before Easter, it pays to be flexible. Popular tourist destinations are often more expensive, so it’s a good idea for prospective holidaymakers to consider exploring alternative locations and hidden gems that are just as enjoyable and cost less.
- Plan as much as possible
The opportunity for advance booking might be out of the window, but there are still a few ways for travellers to cut costs. If flying, it’s possible to buy extra baggage online ahead of time. This is cheaper than doing so at the airport. It’s also easy to plan activities in advance. Many tourist attractions offer discounts for advance bookings. Of course, another option is to look for free or low-cost activities such as hiking, visiting local markets, or exploring museums.
Prospective Easter holidaymakers can find flight tickets and holiday packages at www.flightcentre.co.za or contact 0877 405 000 to speak to a Flight Centre Travel Expert.
*at the time of writing this article
For more information about Flight Centre, or to interview Flight Centre South Africa GM Antoinette Turner, call Kim Taylor on 076 825 5508 or email@example.com