New data from search and compare platform, Cheapflights, shows the best times to fly to keep costs down.
The London-based firm said it crunched nearly 600,000 hours of flight searches in compiling its first South African Cheapflights Compass Report.
It noted that while the rand may have come under pressure in recent months, it hasn’t dampened local appetite for travel.
“Quite the opposite, in fact. Our data shows that the period between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017 saw a 51% increase in flight bookings, compared to the previous year,” Cheapflights said.
It said that with an average saving of R423, Wednesday is the cheapest time to fly if you’re prepared to fly in the middle of the week.
Mondays are the second cheapest day to fly, and Tuesdays the third.
January, July and December are the most popular and the most expensive periods to travel from South Africa, with the average international airfare edging closer to R10,000 at R9,456 for January, R9,318 for December and R8,924 for July.
Conversely, the second least popular month for travel – May – is the cheapest month to fly from South Africa at an average fair of R7,414.
Following this is November as the second cheapest month to travel (R7,659), with October in third place when travellers can expect to pay an average fair of R7,732 for international travel.
Cheapflights said it pays to plan ahead with an average expected saving of 9% to be had on flights booked a week in advance.
Cross-continental travel is properly planned and considered by South Africans with some 30% of bookings happening one to three months in advance.
The most significant saving (14%) can be taken advantage of when booking three to six months in advance, which 23% of travellers do, and which is also the second most popular pre-booking period.
Cheapflights noted that the United Kingdom has long since been a favourite travel destination of South Africans and this shows no signs of waning.
At 29%, the UK is the most searched-for long haul destination by South Africans – more than double that of its closest competitor, the United States at 14%.
Thailand is a more affordable holiday destination for those travelling on the rand (and it doesn’t require a visa for those on South African passports), which supports its position as the third most searched for destination by South Africans, at 12%.
Destinations in the greater European Union, including traditionally popular destinations such as France and Italy, also feature in the top searches. Beyond Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Australia come up too.