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Get More Value Out Of Your Overseas Trip

By Bidvest Bank
22-04-2015
With the value of the Rand taking a knock in recent months, global travel where you spend Euros, Dollars or Pounds is becoming more and more expensive for South Africans. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some smart ways you can make your Rands stretch even further when travelling abroad on an overseas trip. 

1. Think about when you can travel overseas

If you’re flexible about when you can travel overseas, you can save on the cost of your flights. Travelling to Europe just before or after their peak summer season, for example, means you’re still likely to get relatively good weather but you can take advantage of cheaper flights. Or, taking advantage of spring snow means that you can go skiing in Europe in March rather than in November or December, when flights are at a premium. 

2. Consider all-inclusive travel options

Booking your car hire, hotels and flights all at once can save you money on all three. Depending on the country you’re visiting, you can also save on internal flights by travelling by rail rather than by air – especially in smaller countries where travelling by train doesn’t take too much time. Many rail companies also offer unlimited travel passes for certain periods of time that can be worth the upfront cost if you’ll be moving around a lot. In the US, though, the competition on discount airlines is so staunch that it’s still usually cheaper to find bargains on internal budget airlines like JetBlue and Southwest.

3. Rent houses rather than hotels

Choosing self-catering accommodation rather than a hotel on your overseas trip can often be more economical – especially if you’re staying somewhere for more than a few days. And, if you’re staying in somewhere that’s self-catering, you can shop locally and cook some of your own meals rather than relying on your hotel for breakfasts and other meals. Homestay.com and Airbnb.com are two companies that let you rent other people’s houses and apartments across the globe. 

5. Arrive and leave from the same destination

Whether you’re booking a plane ticket or car to rent, if you arrive and leave from the same destination on your overseas trip you’ll usually save money. Flights arriving into one destination and leaving from another (called open jaw flights) involve two sets of taxes, which mean you end up paying more. And, picking your car up from one city and dropping it off in another involves more complicated logistics for the car hire company, which means the rental price is higher. 

6. Get your tax back before you leave

In countries like the UK, you can claim tax back on purchases you’ve made or businesses expenses you’ve incurred while visiting the country (as long as you’re not a resident). To do this, participating shops will give you a special tax form, which you’ll need to present along with your receipts to customs before you leave. After customs has certified the form, you can send it back to the shop to claim a refund from them.

7. Turn off mobile data and 3G Roaming

South African cellphone charges are notoriously expensive – especially if you’re using data or roaming services while you’re travelling overseas. A much more cost effective way off accessing email and data on your phone during a global travel stint is to link up to local wireless networks in the country you’re visiting. Most upmarket hotels and many public places and businesses (such as Starbucks coffee shops) offer free wireless hotspots. If you’re going this route, make sure you turn off your phone’s cellular data before you get on the plane to avoid any nasty billing surprises. 

While taking a trip overseas is getting increasingly expensive, these are some helpful ways that you can avoid spending money unnecessarily. Another final tip is to make sure that you’re not paying more than you have on global travel trips when it comes to using foreign currency. A World Currency Card™ is a good way to safeguard against this, because you preload your card at a set exchange rate that doesn’t change no matter how the currency moves. Interested? Apply for the Bidvest Bank World Currency Card™ today.