With the rand taking a bit of a beating, South African travellers will be doing some serious soul-searching about their overseas holiday plans. A break from winter (and load shedding) blues is just the pick-me-up you need, right? The question on everyone’s mind is whether they can afford it at all. However, according to Antoinette Turner, GM Flight Centre South Africa, the travel bug is still alive and kicking – and the appetite for international travel is strong.
“Mauritius and Thailand continue to be popular destinations for budget-savvy South African travellers, but there are some unexpected foreign currencies that our rand can go toe-to-toe with. Choosing a holiday destination isn’t just about the exchange rate. There are plenty of countries where you can get great bang for your buck. Think affordable food, accommodation, and even a few luxuries thrown in. You can also save by heading to countries that don’t require you to get a visa, as the fees can really add up,” says Turner.
Turner recommends the following destinations for South Africans looking for value in foreign travel.
South African tourists in Japan can make their money go a long way and have an amazing time by getting a Japan Rail Pass. This nifty ticket gives access to all JR national trains, including the super cool Shinkansen bullet trains and the convenient Narita Express, and it also comes with great discounts. Whether you opt for a 7, 14, or 21-day pass, you’ll be able to embark on an epic adventure across the country.
Why go: Cherry blossom season paints the country in stunning shades of pink, while the food scene tantalises with sushi, ramen, and more. Plus, ancient temples offer a serene glimpse into Japan’s incredible culture.
You must try: Discover the magic of Kabuki shows in Japan, and you’ll be dazzled by the vibrant costumes and captivating performances. Treat your taste buds to the ultimate comfort food: slurping delicious and flavourful ramen. And for an adrenaline rush, hit the slopes for an epic ski or snowboarding adventure – Mount Naeba is currently the most affordable ski area.
What will it cost me there? The estimated price for daily refreshments is cappuccino (R60), bottled water (R15) and for a basic lunch (R130).
Budapest, Hungary, rocks as the top attraction with its legendary nightlife and captivating history, especially in the old town with its Medieval Castle. Among the cheapest destinations in Europe, you won’t break the bank here. Enjoy reasonably priced meals and activities, plus free walking tours, lively markets, and even free entry to select Budapest museums on specific days each month.
Why go: Hungary’s architecture is straight out of a fairy tale, with stunning details and designs. The lively markets offer a feast for the senses, from tasty street food to fresh produce. And the thermal baths are pure bliss, where you can relax in warm waters amidst beautiful surroundings.
You must try: Cruise the Danube, relish Budapest’s skyline, sample Hungarian delights at vibrant food markets try the pretty sour cherry soup), relax in rejuvenating thermal baths, and explore majestic castles – there are 103 in Hungary!
What will it cost me there? The estimated price for daily refreshments is cappuccino (R27), bottled water (R8) and for a basic lunch (R176).
While Bali is still the star of the show in Indonesia, there’s much more to discover! You can go island-hopping to Lombok and Java or soak in the stunning beauty of the Gili Islands. While Bali is affordable, many other Indonesian islands provide even more budget-friendly options. Good news for Saffers – you can purchase a visa on arrival for US$35.
Why go: Bali has it all: temples, caves, waterfalls, museums, markets, and so much more! If you’re into history and culture, Ubud is your go-to spot for exploring local legends and Balinese traditions.
You must try: Don’t miss out on Bali’s best waterfalls! One must-visit is Aling-Aling, with its epic natural slide and stunning beauty. Jump, swim, or admire from afar—it’s a must-see!
What will it cost me there? The estimated price for daily refreshments is cappuccino (R39), bottled water (R20) and for a basic lunch (R180).
Sri Lanka is hands down one of the most budget-friendly destinations in all of Asia! And let’s talk about the food—it’s cheap and absolutely fantastic! You can indulge in mouthwatering meals without breaking the bank. That’s one of the absolute highlights of travelling to the Teardrop of India. Bonus? South Africans can apply inline for an electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), valid for 30 days.
Why go: Although Sri Lanka may be small, it packs a punch with its jungle-clad mountains, timeless ruins, sun-kissed sandy beaches, and spice-laden dishes.
You must try: One of the absolute must-sees in Sri Lanka is the jaw-dropping Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo. It takes temple art and architecture to a whole new level!
What will it cost me there? The estimated price for daily refreshments is cappuccino (R33), bottled water (R10) and for a basic lunch (R90).
Dubbed the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires truly feels like stepping into a European capital, minus the need for Euros (or a visa for South Africans). The city boasts charming buildings and landmarks reminiscent of Paris, Madrid, and other European gems. Domestic flights are expensive, but Argentina is road trip heaven, perfect for exploring the renowned wine regions along the ‘wine route’ through towns like Salta, Cafayate, and Mendoza.
Why go: This massive South American country is famous for its mind-blowing Iguazú Falls waterfalls (the largest waterfall system in the world), the incredible Andes mountain range, delicious wine, and the mesmerising city of Buenos Aires.
You must try: The tango is a stunning dance filled with passion and complex moves. Catching a live tango show in Argentina is a thrilling must-do. Imagine two experts dancing alongside a live orchestra. Feeling inspired? Take tango lessons and unleash your inner dancer!
What will it cost me there? The estimated price for daily refreshments is cappuccino (R30), bottled water (R16) and for a basic lunch (R123).
Visit Flight Centre to book your next Rand-friendly holiday.