Accidental Tourist

We couldn't afford an overseas holiday, so we faked one

Mike Colborne has some tricks up his sleeve for taking a budget-friendly trip and still impressing your golfing buddies

26 May 2019 - 00:00 By Mike Colborne

So there I was in my leafy suburb, planning our overseas holiday. Unfortunately, my finances were a disaster. No-one would accept my VBS Mutual Bank credit card, plus I’d made a bad investment in Steinhoff.
The fact was I could not afford an overseas holiday, even “out of season”. I should have hedged my rands, but I had been undecided — unlike most South Africans, the most decisive people in the world. You can’t sit on the fence in SA anymore: they are all electrified.
However, with load-shedding, maybe not.I had a reputation for being smart, and always dishing out financial advice. If the truth came out about my money problems, what would my friends and the chaps at the golf club say? To save face, I decided to go along with the pretence of going abroad, though we’d actually decided to fly to Bloemfontein. Why there?

Well, not many locals holiday there, so we weren’t likely to be spotted by anyone we knew. In preparation, my wife collected printed labels for sticking on our bags — London, Paris and Rome. Prior to departure, we were seen hanging about the travel agents’ offices at the local mall. We bought a few quality T-shirts, then we went onto the Internet at a local printing shop. The picture of “Lake Como, Italy” on my T-shirt, made in SA, looks good...

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