Tag Archives: fuel costs

Tips to make planning your trip easier

Yellow line trafficThere have been a few things mentioned previously about planning your holiday – using Google Maps, asking locals for suggestions and advice and planning your route. Here are some basics to consider before setting off into the “great trek” known as the end-of-year-holiday.

  • Get your accommodation sorted ahead of time! I know that it adds spice to the adventure to rock up and ask whether there is room at the inn but when the computer says, NO! It’s not much fun trying to sleep in the car in the hope that the next day will yield somewhere to lay one’s head. This is where Africa Places can help – Elaine and Jill are experts at sourcing the type of accommodation you are probably going to want to use. Comfortable, with amenities, in great locations, with lots for the kids to do and activities for the mums and dads too.
  • Make sure the vehicle is ready to roll! Check the tyres, get it serviced and checked over. Tell your garage that you’re going to be going on a trip let them advise you accordingly on the state of your vehicle. If they suggest it needs shocks – do it! Carry an emergency tool kit with the type of essential tools you might need if you get stuck between Touws River and Montagu – or on some other road that’s not a main route with lots of passing traffic. Screwdrivers, some spanners some wire, duct tape, some rubber tubing (you never know how useful THAT can be to temporarily seal a broken pipe), jubilee clips. Ask your mechanic what he takes with him, that’ll give you an idea. Don’t forget your wheel spanner and a jack that works.
  • Maps! Yes, even in the days of GPS and Google Maps available on mobile phones, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned map that you can fold, write on and show to locals when you’re lost. The chances are, the local you ask won’t be au fait with a GPS or Google Maps and will get confused.
  • Local knowledge! Do some online research of the area that you’re going to be visiting. Even if you’ve been there before, there are bound to be new things in place and even some old places no longer there (like a coffee shop that you loved). Search some Facebook pages with the name of the town or resort in, you’ll get a lot of information from very involved locals who contribute to these pages. Local tourist information bureaux will also provide information but be aware that many tourist bureaux will only “actively promote” their members – there are many really good establishments who are not members who also need to be supported. Google blogposts for the area you’re going to – bloggers can give you some really great insight into what’s happening in the area. Narrow your search from “what’s on in Gauteng?” to “what’s on in Northern Suburbs?” to “what can I do in Fourways?” or something similar.

Here’s another tip … keep enough fuel in your tank to reach the next town plus a “contingency” amount of about 25% more (just in case). Some people advocate that you should never let the tank get below 25% full. But don’t carry an extra can of fuel in your car – that’s just dangerous!

In any event, the fuel price comes down tomorrow, 5th November … but I wonder if it will come down on 3rd December or not. Just keep budgeting!
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Planning for potholes and tolls?

Planning your holiday as never been more important than in recent times. Gone are the days of taking the car in for a quick service the day before the trip, filling up with petrol and hitting the road. And when you were budgeting for your holiday, the costs were pretty straightforward and constant.

Since those days (whenever they were) there are a whole lot of other factors that weigh in – one being the variable cost of fuel. According to the latest reports, it’s coming down on 5th November. That’s good news. But will it still be down or change again come the beginning of December? And if you take into account the December price, will there be a nasty surprise at the beginning of January when you have to make your way home again?
Accommodation is usually treated by many as the thing that gets the most attention in the planning stage. Those folk who don’t use the convenient services that companies like Africa Places provide have even more of a battle to find the perfect place to stay, looking for what’s available, discovering when it’s available, and what the facilities there will be and then trying to match them up with the needs of the family. It’s a bit like buying shoes – the shop has lots of shoes, but what you like is not available in your size, and what IS in your size, you wouldn’t be seen dead wearing them! The accommodation arrangements are all “stuff” that Barbie, Elaine, Gill and their experienced team remove from their client’s shoulders and deal with on their behalf.

e-tollSo if your accommodation is sorted out, the story doesn’t end there. These days the route planning can also be fraught with obstacles that you might not want to negotiate. Like toll roads. As a rough estimate, if your journey took you from Cape Town to Johannesburg add on an extra R120 for tolls and another R120 if you’re heading from Pretoria up to Limpopo. Travelling from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is not as pricey, only R35 – but that doesn’t take into account the myriad of speed cameras near Wilderness where it is possible to get “caught” up to 5 times. And that won’t be cheap!

And if you’re driving around Johannesburg what’s the e-toll going to add to your costs … that is, if you subscribe to the system?

Some folk decide to avoid the tolls and take the alternative routes. Then they have to factor in the extra cost that the increased distances of the alternative routes might add to their fuel bills. And then there is the reality that some alternative routes haven’t been adequately maintained and there may be potholes that could damage tyres and wheels!

No. Planning the journey is not as simple as it used to be many years ago. I’m just glad that arranging the accommodation has advanced in leaps and bounds!

(Next time – Resources to use to make the planning much easier!)