EXPERT TRICKS TO BUDGET TRAVEL FOR NIGERIANS
By Hafees Keshinro
You do not need to be a millionaire to enjoy travelling or to have a vacation.
There are many ways to be part of the travelling population, whatever your status is. You actually need to purge some believes and blocks out of your system -that vacation is for the rich or middle class only, it is not a necessity or its almost a waste of money, it is expensive, it must be Paris, Milan, or other popular sounding destination, it must be luxurious, it deeps huge hole in your finances, I won die if I don’t do vacation, and loads of other thoughts that are inhibitive. Never forget this popular saying: work hard, play harder!
You also need to agree first that vacation is for your own good- better health, clear head, rejuvenation, education, meeting new people and networking (great for business), better quality job on return, bonding for couples, family and friends, re unions for old school boys and girls. The list is endless. On a cruise holiday or water destination like Zanzibar, do you know how much clean air (no fumes, no dust, no industrial waste etc) that you get into your system? That adds to your number of years on earth, and helps your mental health as well. Come to think of it when you are eighty, what are those things you want to look back to with your partner and smile- the wild holiday, getting lost in a new city that you don’t speak their language, tasting a new delicacy or that adrenalin vacation? There is that special excitement and happy hormone that your body pumps into your blood stream, they are great for you.
If you can’t run marathon, then start with hundred meters or less. Start with domestic tourism and do baecations, daycations or groupations. Nigeria is blessed with so much places to visit whichever city you are, so my friend you have no reason not to do anything. This means that your vacation can start from two thousand or five thousand naira! I know the beach is clichéd but go! Get that good air into your system, get your feet on the wet sand, immerse yourself in the water, and for God sake wear something appropriate for the beach. If you are based in Lagos- from Olumo rock, Lekki conservation, Ado awaye, Idanre, Nationa Museum, usually entrance fees is not more than a thousand naira, and Nike art gallery is free for individuals. If you have a group and you would like to explore more to other parts of the country like Yankari game reserve for Safari, Obudu cattle ranch etc, or Paris, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Dubai, www.butterflytourismng.com will put the magic wand for your group and make it a lingering experience.
So you are thinking cruises, vacation in Paris, Milan, FIFA or UEFA Champions league final hospitality , Bali, and other pristine sounding destination, if you do not have a fat account, you need to get your acts together on time. In other parts of the world, people save up for their holiday, similarly you do not have to wait for a windfall or manna from heaven! One of the first rules for affordable or cheap travel is ‘BOOKNG AHEAD’. If you book eight months to one year ahead or where possible way more than that, you are like to get almost half of the cost, so your flight, hotel, tours, cruises should be booked ahead. For cruises, booking ahead does huge wonders, spouse free, children free, upgrade and loads more. So never forget that you can start planning your vacation more than a year ahead.
It helps a lot if you have a capable agency like Butterfly Tourism handling your travel. You will get loads of advice on where your budget can go, discount availability, prime hotels but medium budget, new exciting destinations, what you should do on your vacations and most importantly many cost cutting advice to make it all worthwhile.
A lot of Nigerians mistake vacations for luxury travel, they are not the same, luxury travel is luxury travel, a five thousand dollars suite per night, limousine pick up at the airport, front seat at the games expensive resort, and first class flight is luxury. For affordable travel two or three star hotel is great, economy class flight ticket, tours that are non-expensive, and keep looking our best places for shopping, malls are not always cheap. For example in Dubai, you may just want to do the desert safari, dhow cruise, and city tours. Inclusions of the likes of IMG, Sky Dubai, Water parks, dining in the sky, helicopter rides, Burj Khalifa prime tickets cost a lot. There are loads of things you can do on a holiday all by yourself!
Depending on your personality, if you are spending from seven days upward on a vacation, and you are on a tight budget, I will advise you stay in a self-catering apartment (Airbnb preferably) so you can cook. It runs down cost for you, and allow you eat what you want. Eating out can be expensive! Accept it, those lobster, fine wine and caviar serving restaurants are not for budget travel, be happy with what you can afford and create a unique experience for yourself, even if you have to use hostel. Not many Nigerians love the idea of hostel, but it is perfect for people who don’t mind, and with sole aim of ticking off bucket list, and having the fun of their life regardless of low budget.
Beware of taxis, especially metered taxis, the accumulated cost will kill you! Keep to public transportation, except you are in group of three to four upwards, and you can all split the cost. The same reason you should share hotel rooms, splitting the cost help your budget travel a lot. You will probably need to get a map, and must ask lots of questions from locals, and make new friends, they come in handy. They will take you to the best places to buy great souvenirs but at cheap costs.
If you have a large group (sizeable groups starts from ten persons), try to use a travel agency. The stress of travel planning is under estimated and may cost frictions between you and friends, especially with mistakes. A group gets you discounts, and all manners of cost reduction, only an agent will know this tricks. Do you know that before now, some airline offer one ticket free for every ten?
Once you agree within yourself or with your friends and family on a vacation, and destination is agreed, it is time to start planning. Possibly the longer you start booking, the less expensive your booking is. Agencies like ours also allow instalment payment to make things easy. It takes huge loads off your neck.
Anyone open to road trips through West Africa? I mean sleeping, cooking, eating, and doing it all inside a travelling van! Just pulling your legs, I know it is not a Nigerian thing, but if you are up for it, let me know
Now that you some of the tricks, when are you going for your vacation?
Hafees Keshinro is the Founder of Butterfly Tourism Nigeria, and you can follow him on twitter @hafeeskeshinro
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