15 tips to help you travel on a shoestring budget

Expert hacks that will ensure you make the most out of trips away

20 February 2024 - 11:09
By Staff Writer
Explore ways to enjoy a refreshing holiday break while being mindful of your finances.
Image: Supplied Explore ways to enjoy a refreshing holiday break while being mindful of your finances.

“Travelling on a shoestring is all about finding the balance between adventure and your budget”. These are the wise words of Shafeeka Anthony of JustMoney.co.za who firmly believes financial constraints should never hold you back from the magic of travel.

“A holiday helps reduce stress and improve your mental wellbeing, allowing you to return to your daily life with a fresh perspective and greater motivation,” said Anthony.

Dedicated to financial assistance, the company looked into the tough economic times and how they affect avid travellers, whether it's a small trip or a longer holiday.

Here is a look at Anthony’s pointers on how to be flexible and open to changes while on a shoestring budget for your next holiday.

  1. Plan ahead: Create a detailed budget and travel locally, or visit destinations that don’t require visas. This helps maximise time and minimise expenses.
  2. Compare prices: Search for deals on flights, accommodation and transport. Budget-friendly options include camping, house swaps, hostels and guest houses, which are cheaper and more social.
  3. Make the most of loyalty programmes: Use airline miles, airport lounges, hotel points and other benefits. Ensure you earn more miles or points with your latest travel plans.
  4. Travel in a group: Holidays with friends or family enable you to split costs.
  5. Pack light: A carry-on bag avoids baggage fees and makes your journey more flexible.
  6. Take out travel insurance: Avoid the expense attached to unforeseen events. Be aware of policy exclusions before signing.
  7. Download travel apps: Get information on last-minute deals and real-time currency exchange rates.
  8. Stay connected: Use free Wi-Fi in public spaces and cafés to avoid data roaming charges.
  9. Eat local: Save money and enjoy authentic local cuisine by cooking your own meals or eating at local markets and street stalls.
  10. Walk or bike: Explore destinations on foot or rent a bicycle to save money and get some exercise.
  11. Pack snacks: Carry snacks and a refillable water bottle to keep hunger and thirst at bay and avoid expensive tourist traps.
  12. Visit free or low-cost attractions: Explore parks, museums, art galleries and historic sites. Check for days with reduced or free admission. Check local event calendars for free concerts, festivals, markets and other community events.
  13. Be frugal with drinks: Alcoholic beverages can be expensive at bars and restaurants. Limit your alcohol consumption or choose budget-friendly options.
  14. Be safe: Avoid risky areas and be cautious with your belongings.
  15. Limit souvenir shopping: Choose a few meaningful items from local markets.