From the result of the US election, Brexit, and a weakening rand, 2016 was an eventful year; and this has no doubt left lots of South African holidaymakers wondering where, when and how to travel in 2017.
To help travellers out, and ensure they save for travel over the next 12 months, global travel search platform Cheapflights.co.za has done some fierce fare-crunching to bring travellers a host of money-saving tips, smart destination swaps, and sneaky ways to cram in more holidays this year.
Andrew Shelton, Managing Director of Cheapflights, said: “Uncertainty around world events combined with a weakened Rand has led some to look for ways to minimise spend on holidays and time away from the office. Our guide is designed to show you how to play, and win, the 2017 holiday game.”
1. Embrace the strong Rand while it lasts - Despite the recent uncertain economic climate, the Rand is still holding ground. Last week, the Rand rose to its highest at 2% in two months, which is helpful to travellers busy planning their overseas holidays for 2017.
2. Buy right - Withdrawing local currency from a cash machine in the destination is the best value option when it comes to buying holiday money. Despite the fact that users are charged a fee, cash withdrawals from an ATM offer the highest exchange rates. Pre-loaded cash cards offer good value too and are a better option than buying currency at an airport bureau de change, or using travellers’ cheques.
1. Double that holiday allowance – Turn 17 days paid leave into 48 days of holiday by cleverly combining public holidays, weekends and leave days in 2017.
2. Easter’s a gift – Falling later in the calendar than in 2016, Good Friday is 14 April and Easter Monday is 17 April, so book off two days of work (13 April and 18 April) and take a six-day holiday, returning to work on 19 April.
Swap and save
1. Destination - Swapping destinations can bring big savings, without compromising on the holiday experience. Swap Krabi (average return fares of R9 180 per person) in Thailand for Phuket (average return fares of R5 095 per person), and save R4 085.
2. Take the long way – Taking an indirect flight with one or two layovers can significantly drop flight prices, and gives travellers a chance to explore destinations.
Time it right
1. Travel on a Tuesday and forget Fridays - Tuesdays are the least popular days to travel and therefore the cheapest. Friday is consistently the most expensive day to fly because of the increased demand from those trying to get away for the weekend.
2. Take flight at night - The time of flight departure can also impact flight costs; morning flights tend to be more expensive so those who have the flexibility to travel between 6pm and midnight will save.
3. The magic 50 - The best fares are advertised about 50 days ahead of departure with the most expensive being seen three days before travel.
4. Fly on Christmas day - Analysis of Cheapflights’ festive fare searches revealed that savings of up to 23% can be made to popular Christmas holiday hotspots for those happy to fly on Christmas day.
Tips and tricks
1. Delete browser history - Internet users should delete their browser history when it comes to actually booking flights. Prices can increase based on the number of times searchers revisit a particular website.
2. Use search websites - Don't assume going directly to the airline is the cheapest way to travel. Sometimes small travel agents use flight search sites such as www.cheapflights.co.za to sell off holidays and flights that people have cancelled.
3. Get appy – Download the Cheapflights app with its interactive price calendar and chart to find the cheapest days to fly, save favourite routes and personal details for faster booking, and use the “smart value” tool to balance flight duration and price.
4. Stay ahead of the sales - Sign up to airline and comparison website newsletters and alerts so that you’re ahead of the game when it comes to flash sales, discounts and special offers, for example https://www.cheapflights.co.za/email-newsletter/
5. BYO – With British Airways set to follow in the footsteps of the no-frills airlines and scrap free meals on its short-haul flights this year, bringing food to eat in-flight is a sure-fire way to save money, and it’s likely to be healthier too.
6. Fast track to the lounge – A day pass into the Bidvest Lounge costs as little as R219, which offers free Wi-Fi, food, and showers.
7. Lose the seat – Many airlines are charging passengers to pre-book their seats. Avoid booking a specific seat to save costs.
For the best flight and the most competitive price, visit www.cheapflights.co.za.