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How to plan a weekend away on a budget

Finance & Money

Posted on Friday, October 23, 2020

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With the change of season, we find ourselves desperate for the outdoors. South Africa has so many amazing spots for a weekend getaway, so why not make it a long weekend away, if you can?


Here are some of our tips for ensuring it’s a cost-effective and safe one.


Don’t go far

The most affordable weekend away is usually one that is within driving distance – one to three hours – of your home. You can easily find good options by doing a Google search for anything from day trips to weekend getaways within your town or in the city closest to you. List all the interesting options and their prices, including the toll-road fees, so you can make the most affordable decision. And during your trip, remember to keep a map and GPS handy to avoid getting lost and wasting fuel!


Check out the facilities

Before choosing a place for your weekend away, check its COVID-19 safety measures. Check their website or call to ask about things like cleaning policies and how social distancing and the movement of people will be managed, including the number of people allowed at the facility. You should also ask how management would handle situations where someone tests positive for COVID-19 while staying at the establishment and if they’ve been certified by the health department.


Book online

When you book online, you often get deals that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Besides accommodation, it’s a good idea to book activities for entertainment beforehand to bag good online deals. Websites such as Hyperli, Daddy’s Deals and Tripadvisor are good options for affordable online bookings. Keep in mind that booking in advance is essential due to COVID-19 stay in capacity restrictions.


Eat affordably

Go somewhere with a self-catering option – instead of spending unnecessary cash on takeaways throughout your trip, cook your own meals, and then treat yourselves to one meal at or from a restaurant before you leave. You can purchase groceries before your trip or from the local shops, or choose an accommodation option where meals are included in your stay, so you can save. Making a meal-prep list is also a good idea to avoid ending up with grocery duplicates. Cooking together on the trip is also a nice way for everyone to bond. And get the kids involved – allow them to help with setting the table, cleaning up and other easy tasks.


Arrive and leave at off-peak hours

If you’re going to stay at a hotel or lodge where there’s likely to be a lot of people, call ahead to ask about ‘off-peak hours’ when there are likely to be fewer people around. This means you will be able to comfortably get to where you need to be without worrying about crowded lifts, staircases, receptions and lobbies.


Take extra care

Even if there are cleaning and sanitising protocols in place during your getaway, take your own safety measures. Bring along disinfectant, wipes and sanitiser and clean high-touch surfaces. These include door handles, telephones, light switches, counters, remotes, drawer handles and other common-use surfaces. Leave bottles of sanitiser just inside the door and carry some with you when you go out. Also ensure that everyone wears a mask whenever you’re heading out.