Cutting down on Internet, travelling with friends and quitting ciggies: South Africans’ travel money saving habits revealed

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  • More than 62% of travellers are happy to forego the luxuries of eating out to save money on the road.
  • 32% work with a daily budget of US$21 – 50 when overseas.
  • 42% get more than 3 flight quotations before booking.
From taking an overnight bus to save on the cost of a night’s accommodation to using mobile budgeting apps in the information age of thriftiness, a recent Travelstart survey shows South Africa’s travelling public is as adept at saving money around the globe as it is spending it.
Cape Town, 7 April 2014 – In a survey conducted in February 2014, travel booking website measured responses from more than 3000 business and leisure travellers about how they are saving money when travelling in foreign countries.
In the face of a weakening Rand and increasingly expensive Visa costs, it seems holders of the passport colloquially known as the “green mamba” have wisened up to the money saving methods made available by technology and a frugal eye.
The research reveals many globetrotters are willing to give up the indulgences of home when leaving our shores and the luxury of eating at restaurants (62%), partying (42%), junk food (40%), alcohol (39%) and smoking (33%) were among the most common vices to be abandoned in favour of the cultural enrichment afforded to one by visiting another country; as well as the peace of mind of not being overextended on returning home. A further 22% said they would give up their daily caffeine intake to save money abroad.
Despite astronomical international data roaming charges, most participants were not willing to part ways with the Internet with only 27% saying they would forego their connectedness in order to save money while travelling. However, high speed broadband and free Wi-Fi is often available to South African tourists abroad so they can afford to be connected without burning a hole in their pockets. 46% are happy to not make phone calls when overseas.
34% stated that they choose a destination based on whether or not they need to pay for a Visa. Escalating Visa costs for entry to countries such as the UK, where a South African passport holder will currently pay more than R6000 for a General Visitor Visa valid for 1 year, could be one reason why many travellers are opting for destinations where they don’t need to pay for a Visa.
Currency Exchange
While foreign currency exchange options have been somewhat limited in the past; technology, the Internet and Credit Cards have played a pivotal role in changing this for the better, and according to Travelstart most travellers opt for travel debit cards (32%) for carrying cash on their trip, while only 7% still use the more dated format of travellers cheques.
Travel debit cards such as Standard Bank’s TravelWallet are prepaid swipe cards often preferred for the safety and convenience they afford tourists in foreign countries.
Other foreign exchange currency options used by survey participants to carry monies overseas include: regular credit cards (29%), cash (25%), and online foreign currency exchange services such as Travelex (7%).
South African passport holders can purchase foreign currency up to 60 days prior to date of travel. South African residents over the age of 18 years qualify for a Single Discretionary Allowance of up to R1 million per annum, while residents under the age of 18 qualify for an annual allowance of R200 000. This covers gifts, travel and maintenance.
Technology in travel saving
Most respondents choose not to use a budget app to help them keep track of spending habits abroad, and more than 50% of respondents older than 61 did not know what a budget app is.
The few that have turned to technology assisted money saving methods cited mobile apps such as Trail Wallet (iOS) or Goodbudget (iOS and Android) to help them keep track of spending habits abroad, while traditional methods such as a spreadsheet or a pen and paper are still used to ensure one is not heading down a path of extravagance.
More than 62% of survey participants named online travel agents as the best way to book travel and find the cheapest flights, while 36% prefer to book their flight tickets direct through airlines. Only 2% still use high street travel agencies.  Data analysts at Travelstart pointed out that the low number of travellers who book through traditional travel agents could be a result of the survey going out to a largely online audience.
When it comes to the keepsakes South Africans would most like to bring home with them, the study reveals we’re a sentimental bunch, with 58 percent saying they would rather return with ‘loads of cool photos’ and lifetime friends (23%), than souvenirs (9%) and clothing (8%).
Source: Travelstart South Africa

About Travelstart

Travelstart is the fastest growing travel booking website in Africa, providing independent flight comparisons between low fares airlines as well as all major international airlines. Travelstart's mission is to make air travel easier for the customer in the aspects of searching, comparing and booking flights. In addition customers can also compare prices and book hotels, car rental and holiday packages. Travelstart is available in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey and the Middle East.


Priya Unger | Head of Search & Conversion
Phone: 021 468 4350


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