Cheap can be expensive, so avoid skimping on these three things when travelling

2019-08-08 10:29 - Selene Brophy
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young boy staring out an airport window at a plane

Got a case of the itchy feet? Well plan your next escape at one of these four travel expo events. (Photo: iStock)

Time and effort is money, so when you think you're saving a few bucks, make sure you've cross-checked all the boxes. 

I've learnt, sometimes the hard way, that when it comes to certain expenses, going shoestring can be super expensive. Sure, there are the things you splurge on – but in a case of fool me once, these three things are not worth skimping on. Take heed and go cheap on them at your own peril.

  • Tight connecting flights

Choosing a tight flight connection that gives you less than an hour to make your next flight, just to save a couple of Rands simply isn't worth it. 

If you've ever found yourself thrashing through Hong Kong or Heathrow, bumping individuals over like they're bowling skittles, feeling as though you're doing a running man cameo on the automated travellators that just cannot move fast enough - then you'll understand what I mean.  

Don't do it. After all, if you miss the flight - you'll have to fork out way more than the initial saving. Plan well, use those miles to book into the lounge. Be the serene traveller, take a shower. It's the start to enjoying your hard-earned break, as you should.

  • Event Tickets

When in a new city I try to make a point to take in an art exhibition showcasing some of the classical and modern iconic artists of our time.

I was spoiled for ease of entry at the Meseu de Arte de Sao Paul despite a bit of queue. Similarly Frankfurt's Museum of Modern Art wasn't too hard either. But at London's Victoria and Alfred Museum, about a 20-min walk from Victoria Station and Eccleston Square hotel where I was staying, it was a surprise to find there wasn't much of a queue. That is until our rooking travel rookie mistake became apparent. Tickets to the bespoke, never before seen Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up exhibition were sold out. Quotas had been reached. Impromptu stop-ins are not possible with popular exhibitions of this nature, as we found out.

When you're on limited time, in a destination with so much to offer, wasting an early evening missioning to an exhibition that turns into naught is a costly exercise. Book online, secure early-bird discounts, make every second count.   

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  • Booking the smallest, cheapest car rental... or opting for public transport on arrival

The cars at the lowest rung of the car-hire pecking order, also have the smallest boot. 

It was a near-narrow disaster during our first family holiday to Durban a few years ago. With an hour's drive from King Shaka to our accommodation, with two suitcases and two cranky kids - we have a few holiday memories not easily forgotten, and for all the wrong reasons.

Another case in point was a work trip to New York a couple of years ago. Admittedly, my first time to the United States and the Big Apple - and while it utterly blew me away, dealing in dollars did too. I thought I was savvy in saving a few bucks by doing a transit bus into the Manhattan central - with an easy swipe of my debit car. Sure enough, I saved.

Smart. I'd highly recommend doing that if the public transport leads right to your departure or stay point – as is the case with the Gautrain in Joburg and the MyCiti in Cape Town.

The agony in lugging my suitcase to the subway in order to make the last trek to my hotel, from the bus stop surely made me rethink my frugal effort. I then still had to walk a couple of avenues from the subway to my hotel. Suck up the extra $10 or $20 dollars is all I can say - you've already saved on the airport transfer. Opt for public transport for the rest of your trip, but only once your bags and rollie-cases are safely stowed in your hotel room.

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