Many people have “travel overseas” at the top of their bucket lists. But the costs of living often get in the way of achieving this life goal. They don’t have to! With a careful savings plan, it’s possible to put away enough money to afford a short holiday in an exotic destination. We take a look at three overseas holiday packages and what they cost and work out how long it could take you to save up enough to get there.
Three nights at Victoria Falls, ZimbabweCost: R6 232 per person sharing
- Three nights for the price of two at Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel
- Return flights from Johannesburg
- Airport taxes
- Return transfers from Livingstone Airport to hotel
- Breakfast daily
A week in Phuket, ThailandCost: R8 995 per person sharing
- Return flights from Johannesburg to Phuket
- Approximate airport taxes
- Seven nights’ accommodation in a superior room
- Breakfast daily
A seven-day Mediterranean Highlights Contiki tour Cost: R28 190 + flight to Europe (around R10 000 on Emirates, with a stopover in Dubai, low season)
- Five countries, 13 days
- All accommodation and transport for the duration of the tour
- Entry to key sites on the tour
- 12 breakfasts
- Four regional meals
Additional costs You will need spending money on top of the cost of the travel package. You will usually have to pay for drinks, gifts, souvenirs and out-of-package excursions. On most packages breakfast is included, but you will have to pay for other meals. Be sure to find out exactly what is included and what is not, so you can budget accurately.
How do I afford these trips? Just like eating a whale, you can afford these trips by taking it one bite at a time. Given that you will need to save between R6 000 and R30 000 depending on your destination of choice, consider how much of your disposable income you can allocate to achieving your goal.
If you can save R500 a month, it will take:
- A year to save the R6 000-odd it will cost you to get to the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
- 18 months to save the R9 000 for a week in Thailand
Europe is more costly, so if you could increase your savings to R1 500 per month, you’ll be looking at two years of saving. Of course, the more you can put away, the faster you’ll get there.
If you’re desperate to get to your goal, consider what luxuries or even day-to-day expenses you could cut back on.
Most savings accounts only offer around 2% annual interest, but you can give your savings a bit of a boost by opting for a specialised savings product with your bank. If you can commit to depositing a certain amount, or to leaving your savings untouched for a certain period of time, you could earn as much as 8% in interest annually.
At that rate, if you’re going into your second year of saving for that Contiki tour, the first year’s R18 000 that you saved at R1 500 per month could earn you an additional R1 440 in spending money for your holiday. Speak to your bank about the best product for your savings.
Make it happen faster! If you’re serious about getting overseas, and you want it to be SOON, you can consider these ways to make more and save more:
- The obvious solution is to make more money. Find out if there are any after-hours jobs you can do – like babysitting or baking – to give your income a boost. Don’t let your earnings vanish into thin air, though. If travel is your goal, make sure you bank every cent.
- Cut back on your expenses. Again, this is an obvious point, but if you’re desperate to get to your goal, consider what luxuries or even day-to-day expenses you could cut back on and add the costs to your savings.
- Crowdsource it. Of course, your friends and family don’t have to help you buy an overseas trip BUT, you could ask for contributions instead of birthday and festive season presents.
- Sell your stuff. If you’ve been meaning to take a whole lot of clothes and books to the charity shop, consider hosting a jumble sale or selling items online and making a bit of money back instead. Once the retailing bug has bitten, you’ll be surprised at the things you realise you don’t need.
- Create a vision board as an affirmation of the goal you are working towards. Put it somewhere visible to remind you that an overseas trip is on your horizon.
The bottom line Saving is tough, but the outcome is worth it. The memories of your overseas trip will last you a lifetime. And once you’ve got the hang of saving money, you’ll be able to apply your skills to your next big trip – or another financial goal, like a car or a house. The sky’s the limit.
Note: Prices correct at time of writing. Prices vary by season and exchange rate.