How to get it all: fashion and travel

My Money Matters Written by Thithi Nteta

03 November 2017

Getting your fashion fix and being able to travel abroad is a reality that most of us don’t think we can achieve without breaking the bank. The reality of the weak rand can seem like a deterrent, however if you do a little bit of research and use some of these travel-booking hacks, you can still get stamps in your passport while swiping your card at those fabulous end-of-season sales.

The first step to living the 'stylish passport life' is to decide how much you are going to spend on your trip. When you apply for a Schengen visa, you need to have all your accommodation and transit paid for before putting in your application, and prove that you have a minimum of R10 500 available for spending money, so budgeting and saving is essential. Whether you book through a travel agent or book everything yourself, trying to plan a trip without a budget is like walking into a dark room that you have never been in before.

Once you have decided how much you are going to spend, it’s time to take advantage of any rewards or loyalty programmes that you might be part of such as Absa Rewards. I recommend searching for your flight through a travel-booking site like Expedia. Because, unlike Travelstart or Flightsite, Expedia lets you book your own multi-destination flights, and if you join the free rewards programme, you can have access to discounted hotel accommodation deals based on your flight booking or points. I stayed in a four-star hotel in New York City because of their reward system, and loved it.

When it comes to booking your accommodation, deciding between a hotel and Airbnb is a matter of preference, as it is possible to get a good deal on a good hotel with a good rewards or loyalty programme. Hotels are the most desirable options when it comes to beach or island vacations, because no one wants to make their bed when they are on an island, and access to a hotel pool is essential to rest. However, when it comes to a city-based vacations, Airbnb can be a very good accommodation alternative as most city-based hotels are often located in touristy areas. Besides the amazing city guides, Airbnb also puts you in contact with a local tour guide in the form of the hosts you are booking accommodation from. Most hosts, like the couple who owned the apartment in Prague I stayed at, will leave a list of amazing places for you to eat and hang out at away from the overpriced tourist haunts. This translates in to more money in your pocket for important things like shopping those summer sales.

Once you have made some savings from the basics of getting to your destination, shopping abroad can be a bit overwhelming, and with so many of the high street brands opening stores in South Africa, the one thing you don’t want to do is overpay for something you can get at home.

Tips for shopping and eating when on holiday:

  • Don’t shop the trends because there is a high probability that you will find something on-trend at a retailer when you get home
  • Duty-free isn’t always more affordable
  • When shopping in a local market or bazaar, don’t be shy to haggle. There is nothing worse than discovering a cheaper option half an hour later
  • Eat where the locals eat. This works out cheaper and is a more authentic option

Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.