Where to Stay in Bangkok: The Complete Guide

Where ancient temples sit next to gleaming shopping malls, is a city of vibrant contrasts, home to open-air markets, rooftop bars and legendary street food. It’s Southeast Asia’s most enigmatic city, filled with non-stop action and a diverse range of unfamiliar smells, sights and sounds at every turn. The city’s range of plush hotels offer a respite from the urban jungle with world-renowned spas, sparkling infinity pools and luxury abodes.

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Where to Stay in Santorini: Near the Beach or Town?

With dramatic ocean views and traditional Grecian architecture, Santorini is a volcanic isle beloved for its whitewashed Cycladic houses and multicoloured cliffs and beaches. From its famed caldera with turquoise waters to one of the world’s most photographed sunset spots in the hilltop village of Oia, Santorini is not only blessed with natural wonders, but offers a variety of cultural attractions, such as local wineries, historic landmarks and quaint villages.

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Everything you need to know about how to study abroad as a South African

art study abroad

Ever dreamed of being able to study abroad between the magnificent Gothic spires and Romanesque arches of Spain or amongst the indie music stores and vintage bookshops in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco? Or maybe you daydream about exploring the Great Barrier Reef while studying marine biology in Australia or spending your time between classes visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris?

University and college are a cradle for education, revolutionary ideas, and unforgettable experiences. But studying abroad offers something even greater – an immersive experience that broadens your horizons and enriches your mind while allowing you to fulfil your academic and travel dreams.

how study abroad

So, wherever your academic interests may lie, this post offers a detailed guide on how it all works, so you can make your fantasies of studying abroad a reality!

What are the benefits of studying abroad?

Apart from improving your career opportunities and gaining a deeper understanding of how the world works, there are a number of other benefits to studying abroad.

90% of employers believe those with international accreditation possess desirable traits and skills such as maturity, superior communication skills, flexibility, cross-cultural awareness, and independence.

Studying abroad also:

  • Encourages personal growth.
  • Hones your language skills.
  • Teaches you how to connect with people.
  • Gives you a chance to discover new interests and undiscovered talents.
  • Allows you to travel the world.
  • Offers invaluable life experience.

studying abroad benefits

Where is the best place to study abroad?

In a world bursting at the seams with beautiful places and unforgettable experiences, choosing where to study can be a daunting experience.

If you enjoy the outdoors a country such as Canada, with its heavenly landscapes, is an idyllic destination; while adventure seekers and surfing enthusiasts would find paradise in Portugal. On the other hand, a place like Amsterdam, with its artistic heritage and sexy nightlife, is the ultimate city for art lovers and students who enjoy partying.

However, apart from choosing a place you actually want to go to, you should choose a destination that will enhance your degree or work experience.

studying abroad places

For example, if you want to major in art history it would be better to study in a country with a notable history of art and thriving art culture, such as Italy. However, it is also important to choose a destination that will fit your budget in terms of living expenses (i.e. studying in Europe is significantly more expensive than studying in South America).

Other factors to take into account include language, culture, and climate. If you are a culture vulture and love spicy food and sultry weather, studying in a place like India would be a good fit for you; while South Korea would be a dream destination for aspiring game developers.

Can you study abroad for any major?

Yes. However, as with most universities, your major will determine how long and where you can study.

study abroad italy

What are the requirements to study abroad?

Each country, university, and college will have their own set of prerequisites and entry requirements. The application processes and requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees also vary considerably.

  • For undergraduate degrees, you will need to complete international entrance exams to supplement your academic record, as the South African matric qualification usually isn’t enough to apply to study abroad. You may need to complete several of these and other tests that are specific to that country and its education system.
  • For postgraduate degrees (masters and PhD) you will need to have completed a four-year honours degree to qualify to study abroad. You will also need to write entrance exams that are course specific.

Some of the most important exams include the SAT, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, GRE, IELTS, and TOEFL.

benefits study abroad

If you are considering studying in a country where English is not the spoken language there may be additional language requirements (i.e. some universities in Germany and France only accept students who are fluent in German and French).

You will also need to prove that you are able to support yourself financially while studying. This is especially important if your visa or program does not allow you to work (i.e. Cambridge University does not allow students to work while studying).

studying abroad europe

Do you need a student visa to study abroad?

A student visa is required for most countries. The best resource is to consult the consulate or embassy website of the country you’re applying to or speak to a student counsellor at your chosen university to find out about visa requirements.

Note: In most cases, you will not be allowed to apply for a student visa until you have received a letter of acceptance from your chosen university or college.

study abroad university

How can I study abroad?

There are several options when it comes to studying abroad: Traditional programmes through your university, third-party providers such as Education USA and Global Education, or direct enrollment through the university overseas.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

Although there is no set figure, as costs vary university to university and year to year, estimated costs can be anything from R 14 643 to R 664 740* for a full academic year at a prestigious university (tuition only). Of course, these costs can vary dramatically from country to country, as tuition to a university in India would be much lower than tuition at a university in Switzerland.

adventure study abroad

Is it more expensive to study abroad?

Not necessarily. If you want to study medicine at Columbia University or law at Harvard, it will certainly cost a lot more than studying at UCT or Wits. However, with so many great colleges and universities around the world and funding such as financial aid and scholarships, it is possible to study abroad without it costing the world.

How can you afford to study abroad?

There are several options when it comes to funding your studies abroad. These include student loans, financial aid, bursaries, and scholarships.

study abroad students

How do I get a scholarship to study abroad?

Before applying for a scholarship, you will need to familiarise yourself with the kinds of scholarships that are available:

  • Merit scholarships are usually awarded to students with exemplary academic (or athletic) results and a great record of participation in school or community activities.
  • Student-specific scholarships are usually awarded to students from minority groups or disadvantaged backgrounds, based on factors such as race, gender, religion, and family background.
  • Destination-specific scholarships are government scholarships that are awarded to students planning to pursue a study-abroad programmes in that country. These scholarships act as an incentive to encourage students to study in that particular country rather than somewhere else.
  • Program-specific scholarships are awarded by individual study-abroad programmes to students based on academic and personal achievements.
  • Subject-specific scholarships are awarded by institutions or study-abroad programmes to students based on their field of study or major. These usually require students to enrol in specific courses or conduct subject-specific research while abroad.

Note: You will need to offer references and exceptional academic records to qualify for most scholarships.

study abroad student life

Once you have familiarised yourself with the different types of scholarships you should do some research to find out if the government of your chosen country offers any scholarships or financial support to international students. If this is not an option, find out what scholarships, bursaries, grants, and funding options are available through local organisations, foundations, companies, universities, banks, and private donors.

Here is a list of some of the scholarships that are available for South African students wanting to study abroad:

  • The Fulbright Program
  • The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program
  • The Chevening UK Scholarships
  • The AU Emerging Global Leader Scholarship Program
  • The Rhodes Scholarships
  • Macquarie Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarships
  • Australian Awards Scholarships
  • The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
  • The Commonwealth Scholarships
  • First Rand Laurie Dippenaar Scholarship

Explore this list of South African bursaries to find one that suits you!

study abroad europe

How can I get a student loan to study abroad?

Nedbank offers student loans to postgraduate students wanting to study abroad.

Can international students apply for financial aid?

Financial aid is usually restricted to programs in your home country. However, a number of foundations and organisations (public and private) offer financial aid in the form of grants, bursaries, and scholarships to international students.

studying abroad university

Where can I study for free?

  • Germany: a country of cutting-edge art and wild beer festivals. Public universities in Germany do not charge tuition for undergraduate students of any nationality. However, a fee to cover administration costs is applicable (this ranges between R 1800.00 and R 3200.00*) and students are responsible for their own living and travel costs. Find out how to study abroad in Germany here.
  • France: a place of legendary culture and sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. Public universities in France offer tuition for a fraction of the cost you would pay in South Africa (about R 2400.00* per year), or in some cases, for free. Students are responsible for their own living and travel costs. Find out how to study abroad in France here.
  • Norway: a utopia of waffles and non-stop parties underneath the midnight sun. Universities in Norway do not charge tuition for undergraduate and postgraduate students of any nationality. Masters and PhD students are exempt from the language requirements as most programs are taught in English. Students are responsible for their own living and travel costs. Find out how to study abroad in Norway here.

Note: Many of the courses are taught in the native language of that country, so there may be certain language requirements.

study abroad explore

Can I work while studying abroad?

Whether you can work while studying abroad will depend on the limitation of your student visa and any restrictions laid out by your chosen university. Some student visas allow you to work for a certain number of hours per week, but some universities restrict students from working while studying.

study abroad elephants

How do you go about studying abroad?

  • Apply to your chosen university or college and complete all the necessary entrance tests and exams.
  • Find out if your credits can be transferred to your chosen university (if applicable).
  • Get advice from students who have studied abroad.
  • Find ways to finance your studies and living expenses abroad.
  • Gather all the required documents.
  • Go for a medical checkup and get all the necessary vaccinations.
  • Get travel insurance.
  • Seek out local connections.
  • Find accommodation and set up a bank account in the country you will be living and studying in.
  • Research local laws, social customs, and food and drink safety.

study abroad friends

Before you jump on a plane bound for a strange and exotic country, it is important to decide if it is the right option for you. Being away from your family, friends, and everything that is familiar to you can be stressful and emotionally taxing and you need to be sure that you will be able to handle the pressure.

But studying abroad can be a passport to your dreams and if it is for you, pack your bags, book your student flights, and get ready to experience the adventure of a lifetime!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

study abroad graduation

*All published prices are subject to change without prior notice.

All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.

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The best time for you to visit Mauritius!

beach resort - mauritiusA tropical island vacation destination off the coast of East Africa, Mauritius is as beautiful as it is exotic and adventurous! This is a popular vacation spot for everyone as it caters to all needs, so whether you’re planning your honeymoon, a child-friendly vacation, or a solo trip to spoil yourself, you’ll find that Mauritius has it all. Choosing the best time to visit the island nation may seem like a bit of a daunting decision, especially so when there are such noticeable price differences in airfare and hotel accommodation at different times of the year. That said, the best time to visit Mauritius falls over the shoulder season, from the month of April through to November.

If those times of the year don’t coincide with your annual leave or designated time off, then not to worry. Whether you’re after the summer sun and looking to avoid the crowds or more interested in cooler temperatures and being able to do some marine activities, there’s definitely an ideal time for you to visit Mauritius.

Book your cheap flights to Mauritius with Travelstart and get the most affordable option for your perfect vacation.

tropical walks - mauritius

Weather and seasons

Mauritius is lucky enough to experience a wonderful climate all year, with warm, indulgent summers and mild winters.

Summer

Summer falls between the months of December and February, and during this time you can experience temperatures of up to 30 °C. As Mauritius has a tropical climate, it is not uncommon for summer time to bring about the island’s rain. In fact, it gets quite wet over the months of February and March, but you’ll soon be able to run down to the beaches again as the sun is not known to stay away for too long! Summer season is also cyclone season, but due to its location in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is ideally located to miss the worst of it, as well as the fact that all of the beach resorts were built with this in mind.

During the early summer season (November to January), the island gets very crowded as not only is the weather perfect for sunbathing, it is also the beginning of the festive season and school holidays. In this period, you will find large crowds all across the various sightseeing attractions and beaches, as well as in the main city of Port Louis and smaller towns of Mauritius. Summer is great for snorkelling and scuba diving though, so if this is an activity that you’d like to experience in all its splendour then it may just be worthwhile to brave the masses. For those who dislike humidity a bit more than others, note that it gets quite humid during this period of the year.

Summer daylight hours: 05:00 – 19:00

What to pack: along with your swimsuit, throw in a light rain jacket too. yacht life - mauritius

Winter

If you’re keen to visit Mauritius in winter, this season falls between the months of April and October, and during this time is when you’ll experience cooler temperatures, less crowding and more space to explore the beautiful land. Avid surfers will appreciate that during these months is when you’ll find the best waves. Not to worry about cold temperatures in winter though, due to its mild climate, you could easily still enjoy the beaches and other sightseeing activities. In August, the coldest month of the year, you can easily enjoy lovely daytime highs of around 20 °C. The rest of the winter months fare even better, with warm, pleasant daytime highs of between 23 and 26 °C – perfect weather!

Winter daylight hours: 06:00 – 18:00

What to pack: all of your summer essentials, along with a light layer or two for the cooler evenings.

pool time-mauritius

Sea temperatures

Indulge in warm sea temperatures in both summer and winter with splendid, cordial waters! Definitely, pack in your swimsuit and scuba vests as you’ll find yourself spending much of your time enjoying summer sea temperatures of 27-28° C in summer 23-25° C in winter.

Due to the micro-climate on the island, visitors may find rain on the one side of the island, with sunshine on the other. With this in mind, come prepared for various weather patterns in the course of one day.flying over mauritius

How much are flights to Mauritius?

Peak season: Summer (December and January)

Peak season in Mauritius can cost you a pretty penny, with flights up to 50% more than during the low/off-peak season.

Shoulder season (February to April and October to November)

Get the best of it all and still save on flights – booking flights during the shoulder season can easily save you up to 40% than during peak season.

Low season (May to September)

Flights to Mauritius during the low season can work out a lot cheaper, and you could easily save more than 60% on flights.

For the best and most affordable holiday options to visit Mauritius, make sure to check out our holiday packages and promotions page and of course, the flight specials page for great deals!

mauritius sundowners

Top things to do in Mauritius

Beaches

The main attraction of this beautiful island would definitely be its beaches! Mauritius is known for its warm waters, fantastic weather and crystal-clear swimming conditions – all year long. Make sure to visit the sandy oasis of Trou aux Biches, Ile aux Cerfs and Mont Choisy. Have a look at our list of the top beaches to visit in Mauritius.

Marine activities

Scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, SUP, water skiing and so much more, Mauritius has it all for the water-loving traveller.

Local cuisine

Enjoy a wide range of cuisine from the many cultures found when you visit Mauritius! Enjoy freshly grilled Creole-spiced seafood, tasty curries eaten from banana leaves and even your much-loved dim-sum from China Town.

Sightseeing

Not just a beach destination, Mauritius has some awe-inspiring natural attractions off East Africa such as the Seven Colours of the Earth at the Chamarel Waterfalls, the Grand Bassin lake, and the extinct Trou auc Cerf volcano. For an easy afternoon, consider visiting some of the local markets of Port Louis and Quatre Borne for your trinkets and souvenirs.

Nightlife

Enjoy your sundowners with a gorgeous sea view and then head over to one of the many nightclubs found along Grand Bay for a fun night out. The capital city of Port Louis is also known to have some great evening attractions.

waterfall - mauritius

Annual celebrations in Mauritius

Mauritius has a population of more than 1.2 million residents, allowing for a range of culture and traditions to be experienced on this beautiful island! Of the population, the majority are part of the Hindu (more than half of the population), Muslim, Buddhist and Christian faiths. In terms of annual attractions, there’s always a good time to visit Mauritius as the island is lucky to have most of its festivities nicely spread out across the year. So if you find yourself interested in participating in some of the celebrations, then be sure to book your holiday around their various annual dates. With that in mind, here is a list of popular annual celebrations that can be experienced:

Cavadee (January/February) – Tamil devotees, often with pierced skin and carrying heavy blocks of wood, march through the streets on their way to their temples to offer prayers.

Chinese New Year (January/February) – this annual event brings about displays of fireworks, dragon dances, colourful displays and plenty of eats to feast on.

Holi Festival (February/March) – an explosion of colour to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Expect to enjoy coloured powders thrown at each other.

Ugadi (March) – the New Year celebration of the Telegu group with prayers, sweets and cultural shows for everyone to enjoy.

Eid-ul-Fitr (after the Islamic month of Ramadan) – the coming together to celebrate the end of one month’s religious fasting. Enjoy it with feasting, gift-giving and prayers.

Ganesh Chathurti (September) – held on the 4th day of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada, celebrating the birth of the god, Ganesh, with feasts and prayer.

Diwali (October/November) – the annual Hindu festival of lights where you will experience beautiful displays of lanterns, fireworks and delicious treats.

Christmas (December) – as the rest of the world, Christmas celebrations are enjoyed by all with gift exchanges and lots of feasting.

local trinkets - mauritiusHave you visited Mauritius? What are your thoughts on this picture-perfect island getaway? Let us know in the comment section below 🙂

 

Image credits:

Yonasofiebrand via Instagram

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Ngorongoro: Tanzania’s Wildlife Menagerie

The sunrise sets Makat Lake on fire. From the wooden deck of the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, which sits on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, the lake looks like a large bonfire in the middle of the caldera. This is the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic crater, which was formed around three million years ago when a large volcano (probably around the same height as Kilimanjaro – our guide Joseph Meducane tells us) exploded. The emptied magma chamber then collapsed on itself to create the 19km across and 610 metres deep crater that covers 260km. And it’s as I am sitting here, wrapped in my woolen jersey sipping on my tea, contemplating its size that I understand why the crater was voted as one of Africa’s seven Natural Wonders. I never imagined that Tanzania, which is just out of reach of the equator, could be so chilly, but then again it’s early and we’re in the volcanic highlands 1700 metres above sea level.

Words and photographs by Iga Motylska.



The mist is pirouetting above the crater to the sound of clanging cow bells, as the Maasai cattle herders take their livestock down the crater’s steep walls to graze. Before the sun sets, they’ll make the same journey, only to return again tomorrow.

The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area is the country’s only conservation area where people – around 40 000 Maasai, who settled here in the 1800s – live among wild animals. The short drive from the Serena to the only road that leads down into the crater, passes by a small village. Even though this is now a conservation area, the Maasai – who are one with the land – grow crops and rear livestock (cows, sheep, donkeys and goats) on a subsistence basis. Though their cultural practice of killing a lion as a boy’s rite of passage to becoming a man is no longer permitted. Instead, you’ll see teenage boys with white painted faces, shrouded in a shuka as they embark on their traditional ceremony.

Book amazing flights to Tanzania here.



As we make our way down the ochre muddy road to the crater, the mist languidly dissipates. The sun climbs higher and higher to reveal that the crater floor is a carpet of yellow flowers. Joseph explains that Ngorongoro means ‘gift of life’ in Masaai. Indeed, this natural enclosure is a wildlife sanctuary and has been recognised as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site due to its diversity of flora and fauna. The Ngorongoro Crater is a natural menagerie of around 25 000 animals. We barely drive 100 metres before stopping for another animal sighting. Old elephant bulls, with tusks that nearly touch, journey here to retire. We see dagga boys caked in dry mud that looks as though they are mimicking white-faced young Maasai boys; a herd of lions laying low in the grass stalking a herd of buffalos that haven’t yet noticed them; a lone Black rhino chomping its way through the grasslands; napping hyenas; and a young elephant bull splashing about in a mud bath. That is, not to mention the hundreds of Thompson’s gazelles, zebras, elands and wildebeest that no longer evoke any exasperation from us, due to their numbers.

The birders among us are tallying up some of the 500 bird species indigenous to this area that they’ve already spied: lesser flamingos, white pelicans, Kori bustards, Crowned cranes with their chicks, ostriches and European storks among others. Many of the birds are spotted near Ngoitokitok Spring that feeds into the swamp that is outlined with marshes. A pod of hippos coming up for air break the silence. Nearby is Lerai Forest, which is home to Yellow Fever trees and Acacias. We make our way through the dense evergreen forests that cover the steep slopes of the crater as we climb over the lip of the crater. While the crater may be the most well-known feature of The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers 8 300km 2 , the other two volcanic craters are also worth a visit. Olmoti is famed for its waterfalls, while Empakai has a deep lake surrounded by green walls of vegetation. This is the land of animal-filled volcano craters waiting to be explored.

The Maasai people

The roads within the conservation area are often lined with smiling and waving Maasai children. Tourists are advised not to ask for photographs or to give any handouts (whether it be money, sweets or stationery) as it encourages a begging culture among the youngsters, who then refuse to go to school or tend to their household responsibilities and herding. There are two designated tribes that tourists can visit for a fee (ask your guide). Donations are very welcome and are equally distributed among other villages within the conservation area – ask your guide for details.

The best time to visit

Pair a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater with a trip to Lake Manyara National Park and the Serengeti during the Great Migration. The three best times to visit are in February and March during calving season in the southern Serengeti, April and May in the central plains of the Serengeti, and from July to September for the Mara River crossings in the northern Serengeti. Please remember that nature is unpredictable and these are merely guidelines. Join an organised tour with South African tour company, eXplore Plus Travel & Tours. They will organise your flights and transfers, accommodation, meals and guides. All you’ll have to do is take in the sights and sounds of Tanzania.

How to get there

You can fly from Johannesburg to Arusha International Airport with Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Rwandair Express and South African Airways, though the quickest flight, with only one stop over is with South African Airways and their partners, Precision Air.

Book amazing flights to Tanzania here.

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How to Get Discounts on Airline Tickets

Discount Airline Tickets Main imageIf you love to travel the world, you’d surely want to know how you can save on your next travelling experience. We can help, with this guide on how to get discounts on airline tickets! Some tips may seem obvious, while others will definitely surprise you. It could be joining a loyalty programme with an airline, or booking a business class ticket! Get ready to find out how you can enjoy your next holiday with more to spend on what you really want!

Stay up to date

Regularly check ticket prices. The best way to do this is to subscribe to get alerts from us for your desired route. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of the price fluctuations and be able to move quickly once a discount becomes available. Alternatively, subscribe to the email lists or follow the airlines of South African Airways, kulula, FlySafair and Mango on social media.

Keep your searches secret

Perhaps, you’ve gone directly to an airline’s website several times, to check for ticket prices. If you visit a page before, cookies (data sent from a website that gets stored on your computer by your web browser) created from that previous session will mean the website recognises you. Then with each visit, you’ll notice the prices start to increase! This is a trick to get you to purchase the ticket sooner rather than later. To avoid this, search for flights in private mode, such as Incognito with Chrome, Private Browsing with Firefox, Private Browsing with Safari, or InPrivate Browsing with Internet Explorer. Any discounts on airline tickets won’t be hidden from you then.

Always book in advance

Even if an airline has plenty of seats available on the departure date, you won’t be guaranteed a seat if you try to book a ticket at the airport. This is the case with public holidays, school holidays, the festive period, and when destinations host special events (such as the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, airlines will raise the price on remaining seats due to the high demand). While there are times you can get last-minute discounts on airline tickets, if you plan to visit a specific city and your planning isn’t flexible, you’ll need to book in advance (at least 10 weeks before flying in high season, and 4 weeks in low season).

Be flexible about when you fly

You have a better chance of finding discounts on airline tickets when flying during off-peak periods. Most times you will get cheaper fares during the early morning, or for flights that depart on a Saturday afternoon or evening. During these periods, fewer travellers will fly, pushing airlines to offer more affordable flight tickets.

Get discounts on airline tickets by booking flights that depart on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Wednesdays tend to be the cheapest, followed by Monday and Tuesday. Always compare to confirm you’re looking at the most affordable tickets. In some cases, domestic flights are cheaper on Saturday afternoons. International flights departing from Sundays to Thursday and returning Tuesday to Thursday can at times be more affordable too. On some occasions, you can get cheaper tickets for flights departing on Friday the 13th! Cheaper flights also tend to depart on the 25th and 31st of December.

Be careful about when you book

In some cases, the cheapest flight tickets are available first. In other cases, especially low season, airlines struggle to sell seats closer to the departure date. That’s the best time to get discounts on airline tickets. During peak season, it’s best to book early, as the plane will fill up quickly, and as fewer seats are available, the airline will raise the price of the tickets.

Discount Airline Tickets 2nd image

 

Book business class

You’re probably thinking right now: “What?! Are you joking?” No, we’re not! Busines class tickets are cheaper (and more comfortable) than economy class tickets during peak travel periods, such as the summer and around Christmas! Such times are light business class periods as many companies are taking a break. While economy class ticket prices go up during these periods, business class ticket prices go in the reverse! This is a great way to get discounts on airline tickets during peak travel season.

Trying booking your flights separately

Normally, you would book your outbound and returning tickets together. But single tickets can work out cheaper! Make sure to compare the prices of both outbound and return tickets on our website to get discounts on airline tickets. Booking this way will also give you the convenience to depart or arrive at different airports. This is especially true in the case of domestic flights. With international flights, however, it’s better to book your outbound and returning tickets together with the same airline.

Fly to and from alternative airports

If you live close enough to another airport, consider flying from there. Compare the prices on our website, by selecting the ‘all airports’ option when searching for flights. You may be able to get discounts on airline tickets.

Destinations such as London and New York are each served by several airports. Instead of flying to the hub airport, you may be able to get a cheaper flight ticket when flying to one of the smaller airports. The ‘all airports’ option on our search tool will help you find the cheapest option.

Discount Airline Tickets 3rd image

Join frequent flyer programmes

If you tend to spend plenty of time travelling, sign up for frequent flyer programmes, like Voyager from South African Airways. You’ll be able to earn points to get discounts on airline tickets. You can use the points on bookings with the airline’s partners, including those on the Star Alliance network.

Keep track of the petrol price or the Rand oil price

These depend on airlines’ pricing power. The petrol price or Rand oil price will filter into ticket prices. If there are big falls in Rand oil prices in the last week, you should delay your purchase a bit. If there is a sharp increase in the Rand oil price, however, you should accelerate the purchase of your ticket.

Use a club account card to get a discount

If you have a Thank U card from Edgars, you can use it to get possible 10% discounts on airline tickets with Mango, then use a normal credit card to pay (there would be a service charge if you pay with an Edgars card). For Discovery account holders, you can get 35% off local flights with kulula (base ticket fare only) and British Airways (base ticket fare and YQ tax). Discovery account holders can additionally get 35% off international flights with British Airways, Emirates, and Qantas.

 

Have you come with your own way to get cheap airline tickets? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo credits:

Main image: vacaystatus via Instagram

Second image: jennstmyr via Instagram

Third image: mashafak via Instagram

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Overindulge at these 12 Popular Sydney Hotels with Spa Baths

Sydney is synonymous with the best kind of overindulgence, from dessert bars and idyllic beaches to designer boutiques and pampering day spas. On your next romantic Sydney holiday, make sure you take indulgence to that next level by staying at one of these 12 highly-rated Sydney hotels with spa baths.

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7 Best Spots for Seeing Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto

Take advantage of springtime in Japan and journey to the picturesque city of Kyoto to witness cherry blossoms in full bloom. Visit Japan from late March to early April to see the stunning sakura (cherry blossom) in full flourish. Our friends over at KKday have put together this list of seven best spots to see sakura in Kyoto, a handy tool for navigating your way through the city.

Here’s where you need to go for the best sakura viewing in 2018. Also, check out our 14 Best Kyoto Hotels for Cherry Blossom Season.

1. Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park
Credit: Kimon Berlin, flickr

To visit Kyoto’s most popular spot for viewing cherry blossoms, head to Maruyama Park in the Higashiyama District. Visit this stunning park and witness the famed shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree) that’s illuminated at night. For a unique experience, dress up in a traditional kimono and hop on a rickshaw to ride through picturesque Maruyama Park.

2. Okazaki Canal

Okazaki Canal

Stroll along the footpath beside the Okazaki Canal and gaze at the towering cherry blossom trees, where you can capture images of the vibrant pink flowers against the picturesque waterway. Stop at the torii gate of Heian Shrine to marvel at the striking red landmark surrounded by cherry blossoms.

3. Philosopher’s Walk (Tetsugaku-no-michi)

Philosopher’s Walk
Credit: Tom Maisey, flickr

Wander along Philosopher’s Walk and soak up the scenery, as this stone walkway in north Kyoto follows the Lake Biwa Canal. Enjoy gorgeous views of cherry blossom trees lining the path and stop to explore temples, shrines, cafes and shops along the way. Book a tour to see Philosopher’s Walk and the historic Higashiyama district from the comfort of a rickshaw.

4. Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle
Credit: Robert Young, flickr

Head to Nijo Castle to see some of the city’s history, as it was built during the Edo Period and was used as an imperial palace before being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Behold the stone walls and moat that circle the impressive castle and marvel at the traditional architecture and sakura trees featured in the scenic gardens.

5. Kyoto Botanical Garden, Central Kyoto

Kyoto Botanical Gardens
Credit: Kimon Berlin, flickr

Stop for a picnic lunch and cherry blossom viewing in the Kyoto Botanical Garden. Take in views of cherry blossom groves, as well as fields of vibrant flowers and a greenhouse filled with tropical plants.

6. Arashiyama

Arashiyama
Credit: Tetsuji Sakakibara, flickr

For some of the best cherry blossom views, venture up to Arashiyama and board the Sagano Romantic Train. The nostalgic train runs along the Hozugawa River, between Arashiyama and Kameoka. Observe the captivating scenery of the Hozugawa River, which is dotted with the enchanting sakura.

7. Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace Park)

Kyoto Gosho
Credit: Kimon Berlin, flickr

Take a stroll around the grounds of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace Park to gaze at traditional buildings and towering cherry blossoms in the gardens. Observe sakura against the backdrop of impressive Japanese architecture. For a unique viewing experience, hop on a helicopter tour and get a bird’s-eye view of the sakura in Imperial Palace Park.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see these incredible flowers in person, as witnessing the beauty of cherry blossoms in bloom in Japan is a true bucket-list experience.

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Local Destinations To Explore In 2018

Visit some of South Africa’s lesser-known local destinations for a holiday that rivals any big-ticket overseas trip.

Overseas holidays are amazing experiences, but there’s nothing quite like being a tourist in your own country. We’re lucky that South Africa has such a diverse collection of landscapes and culture, because you could explore for months on end and still have barely scratched the surface. With that in mind, here are some lekker local destinations you’ll want to check out in 2018.

The Champagne Valley, Drakensberg

Image courtesy of @rachael_tena via Instagram

The Drakensberg is a hiker’s paradise, but it’s also perfect for just chilling with a glass of wine by the fire and watching the world go by. From most of the accommodation options you get views of some or all of Cathkin Peak, Champagne Castle and Monks Cowl. Only about four hours from Joburg and 2.5 from Durban so makes a great weekend getaway for Gautengers and Durbanites alike. It’s beautiful all year round but if you want something truly spectacular, go in the middle of winter and pray for snow. Even if you don’t get it, the frost that covers the grass at the foothills of the mountains and the way the lakes sometimes ice over is magical enough – plus the weather is great for afternoon walks and hikes. If you get bored (unlikely) you can visit Winterton  and the surrounding areas for artisanal chocolate and locally made arts and crafts, see a wonderful birds of prey display or watch a performance from the world-renowned Drakensberg Boys Choir.

Find amazing flights to Durban here.

The Northern Cape

Image courtesy of @darren.baxter via Instagram

Often overlooked in favour of its Western and Eastern counterparts, the vast Northern Cape has a surprising amount to offer the unassuming visitor. Mars-like landscapes and dramatic falls await you in the Augrabies National Park, or be awed by the red dunes and Kalahari lions of the Kgaglagadi Transfrontier Park. There’s plenty of wine to finish off a long day’s exploring. In fact, the wine regions along the Orange River are responsible for 12% of the country’s total wine production. Match it with some cheese, crackers and a preserve from one of the many local padstals to be found on the empty roads of the Northern Cape. Swim in deserted rock pools in Riemvasmaak, visit the crystal clear waters of The Eye of Kuruman and have sundowners overlooking the Orange River at night. After you’ve rafted down it, that is.

Find amazing flights to Kimberley here.

Mkambati Nature Reserve, Eastern Cape

Image courtesy of @leonebeukes via Instagram

Between Port Edward and Port St Johns lies a coastal nature reserve just under 8000 hectares. The perfect breakaway to escape the business of everyday life, Mkambati offers nature-lovers plenty to get excited about. Aside from the grasslands and plentiful fauns and flora, it’s also home to impressive waterfalls, rock pools and rivers. The easiest of these falls to reach is Mkambati Falls in the middle of the reserve, which flows directly into the ocean. Within walking distance from there is the enormous Horseshoe falls and the Strandloper falls. The best part? You can swim in the rock pools and drink directly from the water. It’s crystal clear and uncontaminated. On your way back, look out for humpback whales in the deep blue ocean waters, or spot the wide variety of buck and birds that live within the reserve. There are no campsites, but there are options for cottages as well as the main lodge.

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

Image courtesy of @kazuristory via Instagram

Just an hour and a half outside Cape Town, Pringle Bay is the perfect spot for a typical small-town SA experience on the coast. The appeal of a place like this is spending the weekend drinking your coffee with views of the sea, walking along the sand, fishing from the rocks, surfing, and indulging in fresh crayfish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The river mouth is warm and safe, making it the perfect spot for the little ones to swim in. There are plenty of little restaurants, lodges and guesthouses so you won’t struggle to find a place to stay or eat.

Find amazing flights to Cape Town here.

Lake Jozini

Image courtesy of @chazzie_b_ via Instagram

Can’t go all the way to Lake Kariba? Lake Jozini is just as good, and you don’t even have to leave the country. It’s within easy reach from both Durban and Joburg and can be found nestled at the foot of the Lebombo mountains near the Swaziland border. A popular tiger-fishing destination, Lake Jozini borders with Pongola Nature Reserve and Game Reserve. The best way to experience the laidback vibe of Lake Jozini is on a houseboat where you can drink in the expansive blue waters and spot game from the comfort of your Jacuzzi, gin and tonic in hand. Elephants, hippos and buffalos are aplenty, and you can often get to almost touching distance without the animals getting spooked. Remember that it can be very hot over summer so if humidity isn’t your thing, aim to go from April to October.

The post Local Destinations To Explore In 2018 appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

12 Quirkiest Love Hotels for Valentine’s Day in Japan

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but forget about the traditional flowers or chocolates. Instead, treat your loved one to a memorable Valentine’s Day in Japan, where the world’s quirkiest love hotels not only fuel the flames, but offer plenty of fun novelties for adventurous couples.

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