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FAQ'S Your Getaway Survival Guide

How do I make a booking?

All booking enquiries you make on this site are forwarded directly to the getaway concerned. Submitting an enquiry does not obligate you in any way - it's simply an initial enquiry for availability. Once you have sent a 'booking enquiry', a copy of your enquiry is e-mailed to you. From here you are free to follow up directly with the getaway with any further questions you may have. On accepting a quote, your deposit can be made either by manual EFT or (in many cases), credit card. Budget Getaways does not add any commissions to the quoted price. In other words, the price you will be quoted is the price you would pay if you dealt with the establishment directly.

What is a Budget Getaway, anyway?

Budget getaways come in a mind-boggling array of guises, shapes and forms: crumbly farm cottages smelling of sweet cow and thatch; rural yuppie pads posher than your own home; restored shepherd cottages spilling old-time character and massive hearths; suspect backpackers’ hostels, others hip gathering places; love ’em or hate ’em municipal resorts, most pretty grotty but invariably packed out over season; rustic riverside cabins dozing under shady willows; endearingly simple State nature reserve campsites blending like chameleons into the surrounds; airy Out-of-Africa chalets; caravan parks organised along Third Reich principles; backyard granny flats with frilly tea doilies and knitted hand-me-downs; wholesome family beach houses licked by aquamarine waves, and others smelling like an old dog. But have no fear - stick with us and we'll guide you safely through this perilous self-catering universe.

When is ‘budget’ budget?

‘Budget’ does not equal cheap and nasty – though in a few cases it can certainly masquerade as such! ‘Budget’ also does not mean waking up with a total stranger in the bunk next to yours. On this site 'budget’ is defined as any freestanding self-catering establishment that charges a maximum nightly rate of R350 per person (pp). The good news is that most of our featured getaways charge under R200pp a night. You will find that just about every place has its own way of doing things, sometimes practical, at times bizarre. Some folks charge on a ‘per person’ basis, others ask a set price for a cottage, whether there are two or 12 of you. Some levy a minimum charge, some not, while others apply a combination of methods that would confuse Einstein. Wherever possible we have simplified these formulas to a 'per person per night' rate, or a 'per unit per night' rate. Please note that our ‘rate guide’ is simply a rough estimation of what you can expect to pay – the precise rate should be confirmed with the establishment. The rates we give also apply to adults; children are generally charged less – why, we don’t know.

What is 'self-catering'?

Any accommodation that offers adequate independent cooking facilities or a designated area to prepare your breakfast, lunch and dinner, we lump under the heading ‘self-catering’. Using this definition, a Bed and Breakfast guestroom with a kettle and teacup is not self-catering, yet a campsite would be. With the exception of camping, self-catering usually implies the provision of a stove of sorts, a fridge, pots, pans, crockery, cutlery, a wash-up area (besides the bath) and a braai. With literally one or two exceptions, all the getaways on this website are self-catering.

How are the getaways graded?

We all have our personal favourites and no-one can claim to like what the rest of the world does – not that this has stopped us from voicing an opinion! The criteria we use to judge a getaway are based on a synthesis of the following:

– is the accommodation squeezed behind the owner’s garage or perched above an ethereal valley?

– this does not necessarily imply a hermitage, but neither is it the ground equivalent of a SAA economy flight to Perth;

Attention to personal detail
– those little touches that suggest that someone cares;

– does the owner view you as a necessary evil or a potential friend for life? The ideal host should fall somewhere between these extremes; 

– a little more difficult to measure and dependent on personal taste, but generally those endearing little quirks and idiosyncrasies that make something special or different;

Value for money
– the warm feeling in the gut that says you got a good deal. It’s usually a product of the other criteria.

Getaway summary info

For every handpicked Budget Getaway you'll find a table of summary information to ease your search. The general idea is to scan this info, identify a getaway that loosely fits your needs (in terms of size, locality, price, etc.), and then read the lowdown. The summary information is intentionally simple and fairly self-evident:

– the getaway in a nutshell and its proximity to the nearest town or other landmark;

– the number of adults the getaway can comfortably accommodate;

– whether all kitchen and cooking utensils are provided; in most cases they are;

– whether full bed linen is provided; again, in most cases this is provided;

– whether bath towels are provided; very few establishments provide separate swimming towels;

– whether the accommodation has an indoor fireplace (or wood-stove)

– just about all the featured getaways have braai facilities (but not all provide grids!)

Meals available
– whether optional breakfast or other meals are available on the premises or close by in the form of restaurants  

– whether dogs are allowed; if yes, this is generally by special arrangement (see below)

- the main activities and attractions available either on the property or nearby;

Rate guide
– a rough indicator of what an adult can expect to pay per night. 

Surviving a budget getaway

This may sound dreadfully practical, but to ensure a hazard-free weekend it is well worth checking out a few minor details before setting out... 

Match the getaway to your needs
Be very clear about the type of accommodation you are booking into. Getaways perfect for one segment of the population, e.g. children and groups, are not necessarily suited to others, e.g. romantic couples out for a blissfully private weekend. 

Read the small print
Is the cottage 'equipped', a murky term meaning different things to different people? Best gauge your host's personal understanding of the word. What about those seemingly arbitrary items, like dishwashing liquid, braai grids and the all-essential Blitz? If in doubt, take your own. Are linen and towels provided? Even if this is the case, it's not a bad idea to pack your own duvet in winter. Most establishments expect you to bring your own swimming towels. And of course, detailed road directions are especially handy come late Friday night in the middle of God-knows-where.
Arrival and departure times
These can have a nasty sting in the tail - such as finding yourself hounded out of town early Sunday morning. The majority of getaways have arrival times between 2pm and 4pm, and a departure time between 10am and 11am. 
Check the bill
Before leaving home confirm the price and preferred method of payment as you don't want to be left high and dry. Few getaways offer credit card facilities - cash is king. Most getaways request a 50% deposit to secure a booking, with the balance on arrival or departure. In a few rare cases the establishment may ask for full payment to confirm a booking, though this tends to be the exception.

The question of pets?

A Mrs Woodhouse asks: “May I take my pooch on a Budget weekend?” First off, don’t automatically assume you can take Fido along. In fact, assume the opposite. In most cases we indicate if dogs are allowed, but even here, make sure your hound cuts the grade. Your host may tolerate a stoepkakkertjie such as a Maltese poodle, but if yours is a psychopathic serial sheep killer disguised as a furball, you may have a problem on your hands.

And the question of children?

Good news for parents is that all the getaways on this site are child-friendly – of course, this may not be to the liking of our non-parent users. Some getaways target family groups; others are tailored to individuals seeking total escape from humanity. Ascertain where you stand on the child-friendly debate and book accordingly. Many getaways offer discounts for children under a certain age – usually 12 years. The discount can be as high as 50% of the normal adult rate, which will have noticeable impact on your wallet. Children under two years are generally not charged. 

What about activities?

Let’s face it, there is only so much one can squeeze into a 36-hour weekend. As much as one believes to the contrary – packing the boot with books, bikes, bats, balls and boats – chances are you’ll hardly make use of the getaway activities, especially on the first visit. In fact, Budget statistics show that the vast majority of weekenders don’t get much further than the bed and braai. On the other hand, you don’t want to miss out by leaving your beloved toys at home – nothing more tragic than a rodless fisherman watching a trout leap from the water. Find out what is available, decide what’s realistic, and pack accordingly.