In a perfect world, we'd all head out on holiday at least once a year and have all the funds required to book and plan the ultimate break.
But in reality, South Africans are feeling the pinch. In a depressed economy travel has not been the priority for many locals, yet experts maintain locals still have a healthy appetite for travel, especially international travel.
So what do these savvy travellers know?
SEE: Fodor's list of where not to go in 2018
While travel can be seen as a luxury, and not quite the practical choice when most of your salary goes towards paying bills - the fact of the matter is you have to be smart about it.
We here at Traveller24 obviously see travel as a necessity and just a quick scan of your best memories and experiences should convince you of its value.
So if you’ve not yet had the thrill of escaping overseas, are you going to make 2018 your year? If so, these key insights will go a long way into making it happen.
Look at your options
During the December Peak holiday period families showed a trend for all-inclusive bookings, choosing to shop around for the best international travel deals instead which is a useful trend heading into the new year. Added to this visa-free travel destinations are more affordable so put these on your bucket list sooner rather than later.
SEE: Hey South Africans! Is SA on your bucket list?
“We find South African travellers are prepared to pay more when presented with an option that gives them better value,” according to certain approved Association of South African Travel Agents.
Added to this, the types of holidays locals are taking is shifting. Share-economy options such as Airbnb are growing as are all-inclusive deals for three- and four-star hotels, with added value becoming the rule rather than the exception.
'Comparing the cost of local travel to international travel destinations'
Increasingly South Africans are comparing the cost of local travel to regional and international travel destinations says the Association of South African Travel Agents. They're choosing destinations that offer competitive pricing and value for money - with local options often coming up more expensive when compared to seven-night packages to Zanzibar and Thailand.
SEE: Travel cheap with these money-saving hacks
The Indian Ocean Islands remain a hot favourite.
Popular destinations for South Africans, in addition to Thailand and Bali, include Greece, India, the USA and Disney World - with the average length of tailor-made packages at about seven days.
Lesser-explored Portugal and Spain on the radar
Portugal and Spain have also been on the radar for South Africans as they offer great value and depth of experiences for South Africans, especially when it comes to a more guided holiday trip.
Also important for South Africans, is knowing as much as possible in advance about what they’re going to be paying for their holiday, which is why resort, cruise and guided holidays remain popular this season. It is important to keep an eye out for early bird to book now, pay later deals - especially those that allow you to lock in a currency exchange rate.
Savvy tips for saving for your 2018 holiday:
Beyond making the decision, you need to be methodical
If you're methodical about your approach you'll understand that there are four crucial things to plan around - transport, accommodation, food and activities. Once you have an estimate on these nailed down, you can start chipping away to make your holiday a reality.
Open a holiday savings account, just like budgeting for birthday gifts, this is part of any well-thought-out expense budget. You need to start planning as far in advance as possible.
Another practical step is to join relevant groups on Facebook that can share the heads up on special deals, or by signing up for useful newsletters, such as Traveller24's weekly newsletter.
You'll get cheaper airfare, find accommodation prices more reasonable and spend less time in lines to tourist attractions on your travels off-season.
So if you can avoid it, skip Australia over Christmas or Europe during the June / July school holidays and you'll find better bargains. Being flexible with your flights can also save you cash, the price of flights varies depending on the month, day and even time of travel, avoiding the weekend flights could save your even further.
Keep an eye on flight prices
If you're planning an international holiday, keep an eye on flight prices and all-inclusive packages as detailed in these newsletters and group alerts.
Also, don't forget to make sure all the kid's necessary documentation is in place. Don't have their passports yet? This in itself will require at least an extra R1 000, with pics and unabridged birth certificates factored in for two kids.
But budgeting isn't only about the serious stuff
The best way to build the fun factor is to also involve the kids in the process. Start a holiday dream-board with them and use it as an incentive to get them into a savings frame of mind, all the while building their financial and geographical knowledge.
When they're wanting frivolous treats or toys, they will have something to visualise and reference when you have to say no.
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- Hey South Africans! Is SA on your bucket list?