The next big holiday is right around the corner, and if you are yet to lock in your much-needed break, you’d better get cracking! Some questions you may be asking include:
“Is it cheaper to fly or drive?”
“Should we drive so that we have our own transport to get around?”
“What does a self-drive holiday include?”
“Airfares are usually really expensive during holiday period. How do I get the best fares?”
Travel experts share their tips for booking a cost-effective holiday escape, and how best to get to your chosen location: by car or by plane.
To Fly or Drive?
The cheapest travel option depends on many factors. The most important? The number of people joining you on holiday. Heading off on a solo adventure to a key city or hub? It’s definitely cheaper to fly. Planning a couples’ retreat? It could go either way, depending on the fuel economy of your car and the distance you’re travelling.
Travelling with kids in tow? A road trip is certainly in order. Recently, Top Auto conducted an experiment on the flying versus driving question. The experiment focused on two popular routes in South Africa: Johannesburg to Durban and Johannesburg to Cape Town.
Three cars, each with varying levels of fuel economy, were used:
- Ford Ranger 3.2TDCi Double Cab 4×4 XLT Auto: 8.8l/100km
- Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 Xs: 8l/100km
- VW Polo 1.0TSI 70kW Life: 5.4l/100km
For reference, any vehicle that consumes 6l/100km or less is considered ‘fuel efficient.’ When calculating the total travel cost, Top Auto examined the cost of fuel, e-tolls, and toll gates.
At the time of the experiment, fuel costs were R19.55 per litre for Diesel 50ppm and R21.60 per litre for Petrol 95. They’re now R 21.72 per litre for Diesel 50ppm and R 22.95 per litre for Petrol 95. While more expensive, these values are unlikely to change the outcome of the experiment unless you’re driving a vehicle that consumes an exceptionally high amount of fuel.
The expenditure driving from Johannesburg to Durban looked like this for a round trip:
- Ford Ranger 3.2TDCi Double Cab 4×4 XLT Auto: R2,668
- Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 Xs: R2,364
- VW Polo 1.0TSI 70kW Life: R1,998
And like this for a round trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town:
- Ford Ranger 3.2TDCi Double Cab 4×4 XLT Auto: R5,316
- Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 Xs: R4,602
- VW Polo 1.0TSI 70kW Life: R3,744
Flight prices have fluctuated quite a lot since the experiment was conducted, and it’s important to remember that the cost of a round trip flight will differ from airline to airline. Plus, if booking now, the cost will be slightly elevated during holiday seasons – hence why it’s always best to book in advance! Flight prices per person for a round trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town currently look like this:
- Airlink: R6,585
- FlySafair: R4,848
- Lift: R6,140
- CemAir: R7,060
Ultimately, the cost of fuel won’t increase significantly based on the number of passengers inside the vehicle, but you’ll obviously be paying for more flight tickets when flying as a family of three, four, or five.
Furthermore, while flying can be infinitely more convenient, self-drive holidays offer benefits like flexibility and more control over your itinerary. Plus, everyone loves a fun-filled family road trip!
However, if you’re determined to fly – after all, time is money – then it might be best to be more flexible with your dates to reduce flight costs.
Other cost-saving tips;
- If flying, buy extra baggage online and ahead of time. It’s cheaper than doing so at the airport.
- Always check in online.
- Pack your own snacks and entertainment.
- Consider self-catering accommodation or go all-inclusive.
Best Destinations for a Long Weekend in South Africa
The bush or the beach? The mountains or the Winelands? South Africa as a beautiful country has so much to offer. Here are a few enchanting holiday hotspots to consider moving to the top of your wish list this year:
The Kruger Park
If peace, quiet, and safari sophistication are on the agenda, you can’t go wrong with a Kruger Park retreat. April is a fantastic time for both game viewing and bird watching as it straddles the colourful ‘Green Season’ and the prime-time dry season.
South Africa’s Mother City is a long-standing Easter go-to. World-class restaurants, sprawling shopping centres, luxurious accommodation, and some of the country’s best-loved sights and landmarks – what more could you need?
Big 5 safari adventures abound, the Pilanesberg is a dream for all nature lovers.
“It’s also right on Sun City’s doorstep, which is a huge selling point for those looking for a well-balanced vacation and keen to get their money’s worth,” says Turner. “Depending on your route, the Pilanesberg National Park and Sun City are approximately 20 kilometres apart.”
The Wild Coast
The Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape is another family-friendly location and a top choice amongst sun-seekers. If you’re not quite ready to welcome in the cooler weather, this is your chance to stretch your summer further. The average daytime temperature at the Wild Coast during April is 24°C.
Wherever you choose for your holiday and however you get there, the best tip from the experts? Book as soon as possible!
*at the time of writing this article. All prices in South African Rands (ZAR)