South Africa Wedding on a Budget: Flights and car hire.
Flights: Let’s start with the exciting, yet painful business of booking the flights. I say painful because I just don’t understand why they fluctuate so much. Finding the best price and the right time to book seems to be pot luck. It’s so annoying when you sit next to someone on the flight and you overhear them saying they paid £200 less than you, for the same seat, same leg room, and for the same warmed up sloppy meal. However, doing your research really does help you get the best deal. We always use search engines like, TripAdvisor, Skyscanner and CheapFlights. They all end up giving you similar prices, but just keep looking, keep clicking that refresh button, they genuinely change depending on what time of day you’re looking. If you’re coming from the UK and manage to find a return for £500 ($614) or less, from London (Gatwick or Heathrow) to Johannesburg, then you’re onto a winner. We found our flights for £490 ($602) each, for a return on CheapFlights. I highly recommend doing a flight without stops, especially when you’re flying over with your wedding dress. Which leads me onto the subject of how the hell do you fly with a wedding dress!
Well, for me it wasn’t too difficult, as I had a very slim, silk dress. But no matter what dress you have, it shouldn't be too much of a hassle with a little preparation. I simply called the airline before the flight to find out what my options were, and all they advised was for me to arrive around an 1 hour earlier than normal. You then need to let one of the staff at the check-in desk know that you have a wedding dress with you and you need to check-in early. Once at the boarding gate, go up and speak to an air steward about storing your dress. They let us board before anyone else, so that we could in there to get it safely stowed. But on the way back, they were less charitable - it depends on who you get. All they do is put it into a little cupboard where they keep their own suits etc. It was worrying at first, as apparently if there are more than 3 brides on board (unlikely, I know), then it may mean your dress has to be hung in the luggage part of the plane, out of sight, in the cold, all alone. I don’t know about you, but I had to have it in my sights or I’d imagine myself walking down the aisle naked or in a dressing gown because it got ruined by frost or spilled coffee or torn by a guitar case or something appalling. Do bear in mind though, in some planes the cupboard is pretty small and low - I had to fold the bottom of my dress up over the hanger to get it in there, so I’m not sure how it works regarding a big dress or a long train. If it’s one of those gypsy dresses covered in fairy lights and packets of Skittles…forget about it. I’d recommend calling the airline for options on this if you’re worried about it.
Car hire: When hiring a car, make sure you read the small print. We ALWAYS do but still did a silly one, and missed something. We always opt for a car hire with:
Unlimited mileage - important for places like South Africa. This is where we tripped up…we went for a lower price hire but didn't notice that it came with a mileage limit. Which meant constantly trying to add up how far we’d driven. We had to try and limit use of the car towards the end and managed to keep the excess down to around £60 (around $73). Avoid the stress and get unlimited, even if it means paying a tad more.
Fuel policy: Full to full. It just makes life easier. Some companies are obviously sneaky gits and make you try to bring it back half full or empty, which is impossible to achieve and you nearly always over compensate and give them free fuel. Don’t let the scumbags have it…full to full is a much fairer way of doing it. We have no respect for companies that use fuel policy to trip you up.
So, just make sure you double check before clicking yes to anything, and don’t forget that most of these companies won’t let you hire a car unless you have a credit card with you. A friend of ours had this problem and wasn’t able to take the car she’d hired for the holiday, which also meant she lost the deposit she had already paid to hire the car in the first place, and then had to put up with our back seat the whole time.
We hired our car through a price comparison site called Argus Car Hire and through them, ended up getting the car through Woodford Car Hire for just £215 ($263) for a full 3 weeks. Which is pretty nifty, besides the mileage hiccup.
Flights (2 people, direct return): £980
Car hire for 3 weeks: £215
Extra milage: £60
- 3 steps to clearer skin & getting fit.
- Dressing the bride & bridal party on a budget.
- Surviving the Registry Office.
- Where to stay and what to do.
- The venue, catering & music.
- The cake, flowers & decor.