Lifestyle Travel
How to save for your dream holiday
August 5, 2016

People always say that they don’t have enough money to travel. Not everyone can afford to travel, but if you’re serious about it, it just requires some serious prioritising and some disciplined saving.

Bahia Mar Resort Vilanculos

Pool life – Bahai Mar resort – Vilanculos, Mozambique [Photo: Dee Lourens]

Is travel a priority for you?

Even before I was a blogger, travel was the top priority for me. I bought a cheap little car, ate out less and shopped even less, so that I could plough all my savings into my travel fund. After two years of work (and saving) at an entry level graduate job, I was able to save enough to travel (on a budget) for 6 months.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Beautiful Cappadocia, Turkey

Honestly do you really need the latest sneakers (when you have 5 pairs in your cupboard already) or a brand new car every 3 years?  Maybe go out for a meal less and start a pot-luck dinner club with your friends instead. Will you even remember how trendy your latest iPhone was 10 years from now or will you remember your dream holiday in Mozambique with your bestie?

Mauritius Island Paradise

Magical memories of Mauritius!  [Pic: Caspar Diederik]

I like to prioritise memories, not things. When I’m 70, I doubt I’d care that I had the latest gadget back in the day, but I will look at those photos of me jumping on a beach in Mauritius and remember the good times.

Lose the debt

The first step to saving is to lose the debt. Putting your holiday on your credit card is never a good idea. There’s no point paying interest on your travels after the fact.

Kosi Bay

Kosi Bay

I never live beyond my means. The only credit I’ve had is a home loan and a credit card account that I manage and pay religiously. Of course a credit card is useful when you’re actually on holiday and you need to pay for small expenses – but don’t overdo it.

Draft  a Holiday Budget

You need to budget for your travels. Take into account ALL expenses – flights, accommodation, travel insurance, food, tours and activities, visas, vaccines, souvenirs and entertainment costs.  It all adds up.

Cape Town cruise

After your pre-travel costs (flights, accommodation, insurance, visas, vaccines) set up your daily spend budget for the rest of your expenses and stick to it. Don’t forget to keep a contingency stash available for an emergency.


Tips to save on your travel budget

  • Look for alternative accommodation like AirBNB and Couchsurfing.
  • Shop around for flights. Subscribe to email alerts for “mistake fares” and flight deals.
  • Travel off season or during ‘ shoulder periods’
  • Though they are limiting, package tours can be cheaper
  • Use public transport in destination.
  • Do your research on your destination – Read blogs, look for specials such as free museum nights.
  • Self cater. Grab some food at a supermarket instead of eating out all the time
  • Restaurants that are further away from the main tourists drags are often better value
  • If you want to travel to a certain place, be flexible about the timing. If you want to travel at a certain time, be flexible about the location. Choose one.
  • Be frugal before your trip so you have more money to spend when on holiday

Stash your Savings!

A coin jar was fine when you were a 5-year old, but even as an adult you can save money in a jar until you have enough money to open up a proper savings account. This way, you can earn a bit of interest on your stash and you won’t be tempted to spend the extra cash that’s in your current account.

Check out Absa’s Click to Save campaign which makes saving super easy. Whether or not you are an Absa online customer, you can start saving for your dream holiday with just a few clicks.

Ready to make your travel dreams a reality? If you have any other great tips for saving for your travels let me know in the comments below.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Absa.  As you know all opinions expressed here are my own and I have full editorial control of all content published on this site. MG

About author

Meruschka Govender

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There are 7 comments

  • Christa says:

    Great blog and a few valuable lesson to be learnt for all of us. Nothing beats travel. Definitely not the latest Iphone or pair of shoes. You go girl!

    • Meruschka Govender says:

      Hi Christa! Thanks for your comment. I guess I’ll never be a fashion blogger 🙂 #FortheloveofTravel

  • Great Information Meruschka, Thank you

  • So true! I think once the travel bug bites saving becomes easier too. We have cut our expenses drastically so we can do at least 1 or 2 bigger trips a year. Great tips, thank you for sharing.

  • Awesome share Meruschka, these are so many ways to save and the ones highlighted are great and not ones I had though of.

    I think going in the shoulder or off periods is one of the best ways to make your money go further especially with booking package deals overseas to Mauritius or Seychelles or something. I’ve saved up to 30% on my holiday when going in the low season :),

  • mani says:

    Some serious input for the traveller’s.. Thank you 🙂

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