HOUSE SWAP You could list your home on a house-swap site – and get a free home stay! If you’re willing to allow complete strangers into your home. And if you’re willing to risk different standards of cleanliness. Usually you arrange a direct swap -you and the other home owner stay in each other’s homes at the same time. But there are other options, like staying as guests with one another. There are several of these sites; homeexchange.com has over 65 000 homes listed in over 150 countries worldwide. GET THEE TO A NUNNERY Reader Renee Erasmus suggests staying in backpackers, BnBs. or a monastery. Check out the website www.monasterystays.com (these are in Italy). You could also look at www.goodnightandgodbless.com for ones in other European countries. KNOW WHEN YOU’LL PAY MORE FOR FOOD In Spain, if you get tapas before 8pm, when most restaurants start serving dinner, you’ll save. In Portugal, that beautiful crusty bread and those delish-looking snacks on your table are not free. And if you eat even a bit of them, you’ll be charged for the lot.
This is where a bit of pre-trip research comes in. And TripAdvisor, for restaurant reviews too. I always pack a couple of bottles of wine (or just the foil inner from box wine). I know it’s heavy [make sure you’re within the weight limit or you’ll pay top dollar], but it’s worth it as wine is extremely pricey overseas. – Caryn McArthy, creative director TO FIND THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS, KNOW THE TRICKS OF THE TRADE When you book domestic flights, book your outbound and return flight separately, to take advantage of the best prices offered on different airlines,’ she says. And if possible, be flexible with your departure and return dates.
For domestic flights, Saturday afternoon travel is generally cheaper. If you’re flexible, use the +/- 3 days option on a website as a day could make a huge difference. Subscribe to SouthAfrica.to mailing list. This alerts you to flight specials, and gives you a feel for prices.’ IF YOU’RE NOT AN EXPERIENCED TRAVELLER, CONSULT A TRAVEL AGENT The expert staff will get you the best deals on flights and accommodation,’ says Sharmila, of Flight Centre. Try to book our all-inclusive Red Label Holidays: you get flights, meals and car hire, if you need it. Our Lowest Airfare Guarantee promises that we’ll beat same-day airfares for available flights departing from South Africa -or you fly free. If you can, book during Flight Centre’s two-day annual Travel Expo in February for amazing discounts.