With the 19th FIFA World Cup approaching, football fans from around the world are heading to South Africa to see their team play. Whether you are planning a weekend trip to catch the final, or spending the month in South Africa to follow your team to the end, here are some saving tips to help footie followers.
Five of the nine host cities are, in reality, medium sized towns (Mangaung, Rustenburg, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane and Nelspruit), and so it is not sensible to rely on international banks or foreign currency exchange portals in South Africa.
The cheapest currency exchange rates are online, through companies like Travelex, or the Post Office. Banks, supermarkets and travel companies all offer currency exchange, in addition to dedicated currency exchange companies, so shop around for the best rates and look out for handy deals like buying back unspent following currency at the same rate. Beware, though, as you are limited to taking 5000 South African Rand into the country, (approx. £455).
There are less facilities willing to accept Travellers Cheques in South Africa compared to Western towns, so while they may be a great anti-theft tool, Travellers Cheques may not be a useful form of currency. A better option may be a pre-paid currency cards from companies like MyTravelCash.Com and FairFX.com. Many of these will even buy back your unspent currency when you return. Currency cards work much the same way as credit cards or debit cards, you can make cash withdrawals from ATMs worldwide, or use it to pay for items like a regular credit card.
South Africa, unfortunately, suffers from a high crime rate. It is not sensible to travel there without insurance, and you should make sure your travel insurance should include full medical cover, hijacking cover and personal property theft cover check the details before buying. Choosing the right insurance company will save money. Use comparison websites like Confused.com, ComparetheMarket.com or BeatthatQuote.com. Check on the websites of the best offers too as they may offer World Cup specials.
Roaming charges and international calling charges in South Africa can be very expensive. Studies by watchdog Consumer Focus say call charges can range from 80p up to £1.50 per minute and texts cost from 25p to 50p. Using mobile internet could range from £1.25 to £8 per megabyte, which means uploading 10 photos to Facebook could cost £80. If you need to make calls, try to use landlines where possible, and buy international calling cards to get cheap deals for phoning the UK. Avoid using the internet on your phone entirely.
With your money taken care of, you can concentrate on staying healthy and safe, and most importantly, enjoying your World Cup vacation. Whether you're supporting England or another team, Money Dashboard wishes them good luck!