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Financial Planning

Micro-cations: The economical way of taking a break

By: Vera Nagtegaal, Executive Head of online comparison website

We all dream of that amazing trip to a faraway destination to relax and get away from all the madness of our daily lives. This ideal holiday would probably be about 10 to 15 days long, but with hectic schedules and tight budgets, this isn’t always possible.

The 2019 Vacation Confidence Index by Allianz Global Assistance revealed that close to 60% of Americans took a vacation of a maximum of four nights away in 2018, making it a ‘micro-cation’ – a shorter vacation of between two to four days. The survey indicated that 25% of Millennials favoured this way of travelling, as they preferred to spend less money on one trip.

As the year starts to wind down and South Africans start gearing up for the festive season, Vera Nagtegaal, Executive Head of online comparison website, says that micro-cations are easy on the budget.

“In choosing a micro-cation, you won’t have to break the bank. You can also save your leave days and plan a few, spread throughout the year.”

Nagtegaal says that most people save for a long time to be able to go on that dream holiday, but it can take a few years to have enough to cover that overseas trip. “This new trend allows you to get creative with how you spend your money and your time.”

Nagtegaal suggests opening a dedicated savings account for your travels, which she says will help with sticking to your budget. “Find out about accounts that don’t require a minimum amount and have minimal or no banking fees, so that you can spend your money on what you saved for.”

Nagtegaal has these additional saving tips for micro-cationers:

  • Once you have your travel account in place, allow it to grow, and then map out your destination.
  • Draw up a micro-cation budget. After you have decided on a destination, consider the number of days you will be away and list all the expenses you will have. Include petrol, accommodation, food and drinks and activities.
  • Consider a road trip instead of flying.
  • Be a tourist in your hometown. Book into a great hotel or guesthouse and visit the museums and other sites you never get to see.
  • Get creative and plan your micro-cations around an event like a friend’s wedding or a visit to family. If you are visiting family, you will also save money on accommodation.

Nagtegaal sees micro-cations as a great alternative to waiting around until you can go away on a longer vacation.

“It’s better to spend less of your hard-earned cash in one go on a holiday during the festive season. Shorter December getaways have great benefits – it leaves room for more breaks in the following year and you can have greater financial stability, instead of having to scrape through January,” she concludes.

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