16 Money Saving Tips That Will Help You Save on Trip to Africa
One would imagine that travelling to Africa is cheap, but in fact, it can be vice versa. Safaris, gorilla trekkings, beach holidays, mountain hiking, petrol, “Western-style” restaurants etc. can be pretty expensive in Africa. But, there is always a possibility of backpacking or traveling on a tight budget. So, read following 16 tips for a super budget travel to Africa, pack your stuff and go!
1.Find Cheap Plane Ticket!
Start to look for cheap plane tickets to Africa early enough, check for prices every day in order not to miss any cheap deals. Also, return ticket is usually cheaper than two times one way. Try flight search engines like momondo.com, expedia.com, skyscanner.com, edreams.com etc.
2. Be Flexible With Departure and Arrival
While looking for plane tickets to Africa, keep in mind you should be flexible with your departure and arrival. Also, be flexible with the destination. Currently, flights to East African countries are in most cases cheaper than to other destinations in Africa.
3. Avoid High Season in Africa
Avoid peak season (New Year, July, August,), as at that time accommodation, safaris and other activities and offers are more expensive. Besides, you will miss nothing but tourist crowds!
4. Apply for Visa Online or on Arrival
We know it is not always possible to get visa on arrival, but some African countries have this option. Tanzania, Uganda,Botswana, Egypt for example will issue without problems visa at the airport. Rwanda, Kenya have online system where you simply apply online. Sending passport to the nearest embassy and back can mean additional and sometimes unneeded costs for you.
5. Use Public Transport Whenever Possible
At the airport, try to find out if there is public transport running to the city center. When you are about to leave airport, taxi drivers will offer you a ride to city center. Prices can be abnormally expensive, so enquire about the possibility of using public bus. And, if you want it even cheaper, take slower transportation like trains or ferries. I know it sounds strange since in Africa most of the transportation is a priori slow, but some buses are actually even slower than the slow ones.
6. Buy Local Sim Card
Avoid paying huge roaming rates for calling your relatives back home. As well local sim cards are very useful while travelling to call your favourite taxi driver or to use local 3g internet. Just make sure your phone is unlocked, otherwise you will have to invest also in new cell phone.
7. Avoid ATMs
Try not to use ATMs very often, since you might be charged for a high bank commission during every cash withdrawal.
8. Eat Street Food and Buy Food at Markets
What is better than trying local food when travelling so far? Especially if this is the cheapest food that you can find around!
Avoid supermarkets, »Western style« hotels, restaurants, and bars etc. Do not look for comfort and prestige that you can find at home – it will cost you a lot of money in Africa. And especially, avoid buying imported stuff.
9. Avoid Fancy Beaches and Resorts
Dont be a lonely planet sheep! There are always good alternatives, sometimes even better version of paradise beach than those few in guide books. Fancy beaches and resorts are usually crowded with tourists and overpriced. Make some research, talk to locals or check forums online.
10. Skip African Safaris
Or make some compromises. Go on safari in Uganda instead, not in Tanzania, where safaris are probably the most expensive in Africa. Also gorilla trekking prices vary between countries, the cheapest gorilla trekking right now is in DR Congo costing only 400 USD, while the most expensive gorilla treks are in Rwanda 700 USD.
11. Bring Cosmetics
and more »fancy« stuff with you, namely cosmetic products are considered as a prestige in Africa and therefore quite expensive, much more than in Europe!
12. Buy Mosquito Net and Insect Repellent in Africa
Depending on the African country, mosquito repellants can be up to five times cheaper. If you decide to take antimalarials, sometimes there is a possibility to find them cheaper in Africa as well.
13. Mingle With Locals
Be sociable person and make new contacts. Meet locals, talk to them, and let yourself be invited to their places to have a meal with them or even spend the night at locals’ places. You can also find them through Couchsurfing.
Having a local acquaintance is also good to check on local prices, so the chance of being ripped off will be smaller.
14. Buy Souvenirs in Smaller Cities or Towns
We found out shopping in Africa is more cost effective in smaller towns and cities! If you have a local friend, even better, ask them to buy souvenirs for you – he will get local and not tourist price.
15. Travel With a Partner
Single travel in Africa is quite expensive. In some African countries single room can cost the same price as double room. Travelling in pair can prolong your trip for 50 percent.
16. Be Careful With Touts
While wandering the streets of Africa, you will quite often come across touts! Either they will want to sell you something or will start a small talk and will insist to help you with showing the city, carry your bag on bus stations etc. If you meet a guy, who wants to become your friend, make sure he doesn’t want to, for example, give you a tour around the city, which can not really be for free. Let them know in advance you are not paying for something you didn’t ask for!
17. Use Online Freebies with Bookings Online
When travelling on a budget every penny counts, right? Here is 15 EUR you can spend on booking.com with your next booking! For newbies to Airbnb, register your account and get 30 EUR free credit to spend on first booking. You are welcome:)