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How to make your international holiday dreams a reality

by Editor

It doesn’t take much to make one green with travel envy, scrolling through your friends’ social media feeds, feeling more and more glum at their seemingly endless, amazing holidays at exotic destinations across the globe. But this won’t get you any closer to a trip of your own.

“If you also want to go on amazing trips and take Insta-worthy pics, there are a few simple things you can do to convert your international holiday dreams into reality,” says Samantha Pillay, director of ekko and an expert in Next-Level Living.

She provides some advice for wannabe jet-setters:

1. Plan: To take advantage of the most cost-effective international holiday options, you’ll need to plan and do your research at least 12 to 24 months in advance – the further ahead you make your booking, the cheaper the flights and accommodation you’ll get. Where possible, be flexible with your dates, as travelling out of peak season is obviously cheaper.

2. Destination: Look for cheaper destinations that are easy on the South African pocket, with a currency that is favourable when converting from rands. Research shows that some countries that currently offer the best bang for your buck are Thailand, Zanzibar and Bali for great island holidays. Argentina and Columbia in South America, Egypt in Africa, the Czech Republic and Hungary in Europe, and Turkey (which is totally unique in that Istanbul straddles both Asia and Europe), also offer excellent value for money.

3. Save: You’ll need to determine the total amount needed for the trip (the cost of the travel as well as your spending money), then calculate how many salaries you will need to earn before the intended date of the trip so you can budget how much to save each month. You’ll need to put a strict plan in place and stick to it, so having a separate tax-free savings account that earns some interest is a good idea so that you can move your savings out of reach.

4. Discounted deals: By joining and buying shares with ekko, you’ll automatically benefit from special travel offers and save thousands on your trip. The added benefit of being an ekko shareholder is that you’ll end up with spare disposable income to put toward your monthly savings, as you’ll be trimming the fat off some of your monthly expenses (like movies and dining out), so can use the surplus to add to your travel fund.

5. When you arrive: Once you’ve finally arrived at your chosen destination, don’t allow euphoria to make you take your foot off the savings pedal. This will be the time when you need to be extra cautious.

  • Choose your transport options wisely, and ask for prices upfront, or you could get horribly ripped off.
  • Ask the locals where they eat, as they can point you in the right direction for the best food at the most reasonable prices – even if these are a little off the beaten track. Avoid the mainstreet restaurants, as these are traditionally tourist traps with exorbitant prices and average food.
  • Buy refreshments from the local grocery store so that you aren’t constantly eating at restaurants. Some of the best meals on overseas trips are the ones where bread, cheese and cold meats have been purchased from a store and eaten picnic-style while sightseeing.
  • Compare prices first and bargain with vendors before buying souvenirs or gifts.

“With careful planning, budgeting and an ekko portfolio that offers massively discounted luxury holidays, restaurants, movies, spa days and travel, you can make that dream holiday a reality,” concludes Pillay.

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