How to make your rands go further in London, Paris & New York

11 February 2018 - 00:00 By Richard Holmes
Parts of the banks of the Seine are transformed into beaches in the summer months.
Parts of the banks of the Seine are transformed into beaches in the summer months.
Image: 123RF/denyskuvaiev

The rand might be stronger than it's been in years, but that still doesn't make travelling abroad pocket-friendly for many South Africans.

So, here are some top tips for keeping your budget on track while exploring some of the world's most famous - and expensive - cities


Ah, Paris. The city of light, love and over-priced bistros. So skip the surly waiters and stock up for lunch at one of the city's wonderful neighbourhood markets. Marché d'Aligre is excellent, and only a short walk from the popular Île de la Cité (the medieval heart of Paris, and home to the Notre Dame and more).

With baguette et fromage in hand, enjoy a picnic in the iconic Jardins des Tuileries in front of the Louvre. And remember, admission to the Louvre is free on the first Sunday of each month (saving you €15/R254).

In the summer months look out for Paris Plages, when sandy beaches and deck chairs turn the banks of the Seine into a seaside resort.


It's famously pricey but there are ways to nickel and dime it in the Big Apple. Skip the expensive boat cruises and hop on the free Staten Island Ferry. It operates every 30 minutes, 24/7, and offers superb views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

Or head for the Downtown Boathouse at Pier 26 to enjoy free kayaking on the Hudson River (summer weekends and holidays). It's first-come, first-served, so get there early to beat the queues.

For local insights without a big-bucks bespoke tour, Big Apple Greeter pairs enthusiastic locals with visitors to NYC. These volunteers, not professional tour guides, lead travellers on a four-hour exploration of their favourite areas of the city. The service is free, and tipping is not allowed.


For some of the best city views, don't shell out £30,95 (R520!) for The Shard: rather book a free viewing at the Sky Garden. Perched 155m above Fenchurch Street, it is London's highest public garden. Online bookings open three weeks in advance.

Travelling with kids? Forget splashing cash at Legoland or Hamleys: take them to the excellent Science Museum or Royal Air Force Museum, both of which are free (tickets are required for some exhibitions).