When travelling to a foreign land, wariness and uncertainty are always involved but there is no need to be disturbed choosing Ghana as your destination.
There are a lot of affordable destinations for travel within Ghana and it doesn’t require much effort to find them and get the most value for your money, meeting friendly locals and travellers, eating well, and having fun.
To have a proper budget trip to Ghana, one needs to start by cutting travelling expenses. Flights to Ghana can vary in price depending on where you’re travelling from, the time of year and how quickly you want to arrive in Africa. To keep the costs of your flights down, compare prices from different airlines at the time of year you’d like to travel. It may turn out that flying exactly when you had in mind is too expensive, so it helps to be flexible on dates; airlines often have lower prices on fares out of peak travel times.
Another way to reduce the cost of your flights to Ghana is to fly there via somewhere else; a connecting flight from Europe can work out much cheaper than flying directly to Ghana from the US, for example.
On arrival, it is always advisable to stay out of town since booking a break in a big city can be much more expensive than staying somewhere rural, so avoid the premium prices of cities like Accra, Cape Coast and Kumasi by looking for more cost-effective alternatives. Accra is great for a day trip but staying in the city means spending more on accommodation just to be close to the action. Try booking your accommodation further out along Accra’s coastline for cheaper deals.
However, if you want to live in Accra the class of accommodation can vary considerably from very budget Western-style to an absolute shoestring budget. There are budget rooms throughout Ghana, with some very nice accommodations as well as dreadful dumps available. Even a single hotel or guest house can have rooms that vary greatly that you will find for around US$15 to US$35 per night.
Another option is to use a Home Stay that allows you a non-hotel environment. Such an arrangement also can vary considerably between urban and rural locations
When out of cash you can easily exchange USD and British pounds quite easily throughout the country. You can also exchange both Euros and CFA without much of a problem in the major cities. Bank machines are pretty much everywhere. Some machines are visa only, but there is also plenty of maestro and even some plus and MasterCard machines.
Public transit is very well organized in Ghana when compared to other countries in Africa. Although Accra’s city centre is a hectic one and perilous for pedestrians, one could get around by hopping on a taxi, bus or tro-tro because insurance and registration stickers are displayed on the front windscreen of all vehicles in the country, allowing easy verification. You could still hire an SUV or a sedan should you want to brave the roads.
When it comes to food, it is fun and nice to eat like the locals since it will go a long way to help in saving up a lot of money. Eating Ghanaian meals from roadside take-away or at local chop bars for US$2 can save you considerable amounts of money when compared to eating at hotels, restaurants or establishments that serve imported food items or prepare non-African style meals.
If you want foreign foods, it’s going to cost you. Local meals are very hearty, fresh, tasty and starchy; you’ll definitely want to sample some of the native cuisines and, if you’re savvy, you can enjoy delicious dishes without burning a hole in your pocket. If you’re hankering for something other than that, you’ll have to pay. Your best bet is in Accra where there are plenty. However, supermarkets in Ghana are quite expensive.
Another option if you’ve got any cooking facilities in your accommodation is to visit the local market or store and stock up on ingredients, which you can cook yourself. This can work out much cheaper than eating out every night. When it comes to eating cheaply and efficiently, a handle water flask and leak-proof food container are essential equipment for your trip.
You can as well save money by avoiding the main tourist centres, where food prices are marked up. Instead, explore areas off the beaten track where there are few tourists (like the Shai Reserve Centre, Koforidua Beads Market and the Obuo Tabiri Mountains) to find the most authentic flavours at a fraction of the price.
Spend your money on those great activities you’ve dreamed about instead of skipping them just because they come with a price tag. This is because, a traveller who spends his money wisely, no matter how much he spends, is a budget traveller.