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How to take the rand so much further in 2020

Travel can prove a financial challenge for South Africans due to the declining value of the rand, but there are numerous destinations out there that will stretch it that little bit further.
How to take the rand so much further in 2020

According to finance experts at ABSA, the rand is likely to continue to weaken back to R15.16 against the dollar by the end of the first quarter, 2020. Despite the reduction in the SARB repo rate announced earlier in January, and more predicted interest rate cuts set to come into effect in the near future, ABSA believes that South Africa will conclude the year at a depressing R16.13 against the dollar.

This is not good news for the economy, nor is it good news for locals intending or hoping to travel. With the rand consistently losing value, most sought-after holidays have become practically impossible for the average South African to afford.

It is for this reason that many South Africans have chosen to set their sights on domestic locations only, booking cheap flights to Durban from Johannesburg or cheap flights to Cape Town from East London. However, what many are not aware of is the fact that it is both possible and affordable to travel abroad, as long as one is aware of the destinations where the rand still holds some value!

Destinations that will take the rand further

One of the most popular countries in which the rand still has a decent amount of value is Argentina where accommodation will set you back around R250 and a decent meal in the region of R120.

The average exchange rate sits at 4.59 ARS/1 ZAR and there is the added benefit that travellers flying over on South African passports are allowed to travel Visa-free for a stay of up to 30 days from the date of arrival.

India is another firm favourite to consider with a similar exchange rate of 4.85 INR/1 ZAR. Here, you can eat for under R100 and rest your weary travel body in decent accommodation for around R240.

However, South African travellers will need an e-Visa to visit this popular Eastern country. It is relatively easy to apply for one via Indian Visa Online. Furthermore, there is no need to travel to a Consulate in order for a tourist to have their biometrics captured ahead of their flight – all biometrics will be captured upon the tourist’s arrival in India.

Cheap holidays are also possible in Indonesia, where the rand currently sits at 956.39 IDR/1 ZAR and, once again, South Africans are able to travel without a Visa for up to 30 days. This popular destination is a little steeper than say Vietnam where the rand reigns supreme. Decent accommodation will cost R400-R500/night and a meal close to R200 on average.

“We enjoyed a spectacular holiday to Indonesia a few months ago, and were shocked to discover how little it cost us overall. Despite initial reservations, we had a wonderful time and spent hours on the beaches – which were extremely clean and peaceful,” comments Molly Keegan from Johannesburg.

If international travel is on your agenda in 2020, there is no need to wait until the local currency improves in order to explore the world without incurring debt. With countries such as Chile, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Russia, Taiwan or Tanzania all still affordable on the South African Rand, you really can pick smarter for your wallet in 2020.

The secret lies in travellers being more mindful about where they go and how they spend their money

4 Feb 2020 13:35