June 13, 2017

Recession-proof travel: places to go where the rand’s not junk

It’s official: South Africa is in recession. But just because our rand is “junk” doesn’t mean your holiday has to be too. There are still quite a number of destinations that are gentle on the South African wallet. Here are four:


Wind and wander through Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, learning to haggle with vendors, then immerse yourself in the glittering mosaics of Sultan Ahmed “Blue” Mosque (pictured below) and Hagia Sophia, the church, then mosque, now historic site that took 10 000 workers seven years to build. It’s suitably impressive.

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Turkey will wow all five senses, proving heavy on culinary and cultural experiences of the east and west, yet easy on the pocket. It’s around R3,6 for every Turkish Lira, but prices for meals or a draught of beer are similar to South Africa’s major cities. There are great shopping deals to be had on everything from leather (Turkey is famous for its leather products) to spices and, of course, sticky baklava and Turkish delight.

Here’s the best part: you can get a free visa in just five minutes online (literally, we’ve put it to the test!), and round-trip flights from Turkish Airlines go for as little as R6 000. Ask your Sure Travel agent for special offers from Turkey's national airline, or check out our flight search online. *


Many South Africans (and the rest of the world) have caught onto Southeast Asia’s value as a tourism hotspot – and why wouldn’t they? The region is blessed with more gorgeous beaches, historical sites and local hospitality than it knows what to do with. Be sure to check out the junk boats at Ha Long Bay, the bustling metropolises of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the pagodas of Danang.

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While countries like Thailand and Indonesia have become tourist magnets, Vietnam is still largely unspoilt – and your rand goes quite a long way: just R1 will get you about 1 740 Vietnamese Dong. To put that into real terms; a cheap street meal will set you back about R22, while a half-litre draught costs about R11.

As a final bonus, South Africans can apply online for a visa approval letter and pick up the full visa on arrival in ‘Nam.


Check out Bucharest, “the Paris of the East”. It’s R3 to every Romanian New Leu – insanely reasonable when compared to the R14,50 it takes to buy a single Euro.

Junyad Castle, Romania                                                                             Photo © AdobeStock/Emperorcosar

Romania is an easily traversable destination by car or train: in just a few hours you can criss-cross the country from the River Danube to a pristinely-preserved hilltop citadel at Sighioara in Transylvania, hikes in the Carpathian Mountains, or a Black Sea resort and spa. And don't forget fairy tale castles, there are plenty of those…Ask your Sure Travel agent to recommend affordable packages for Romania.


There aren’t many places on Earth where you can go from polar tundra and glacial lakes to volcanoes and tropics: say hello to Argentina!

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Known for its cattle ranching, tango dancing, South America’s most famous ski resort and the largest waterfalls on the planet, Argentina is not the absolute cheapest destination (one rand will get you around 1.22 Argentine Pesos and the cost of living is similar if not a little higher than South Africa). But it does offer great value when compared with similar tourism offerings in Europe or North America. Just ask your Sure Travel agent.

* The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has maintained a travel alert for Turkey, advising against all but essential travel to a few areas of Turkey. It does not include Istanbul and many other popular tourism destinations. Ask your Sure Travel consultant for details and updates. 


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