Ghana is one of Africa’s friendliest nations and renowned for combining the continent’s best elements in a single location. Politically stable and safe for tourists, Ghana is the place to be for rich, ethnic culture, beautiful biodiversity and fascinating history, attracting more than a million visitors every year.
Like anywhere abroad, however, Ghana can be expensive for visitors on a budget; keep reading for some top tips to keeps costs down and achieve maximum value for money when you visit Ghana.
Volunteer in Ghana
One of the best ways to see Ghana while experiencing true African culture is to ditch the idea of a traditional (and potentially overpriced) vacation in favor of volunteering in Ghana. Despite being one of Africa’s more affluent nations, Ghana is a developing country struggling to overcome issues like poverty, illiteracy and inequality. Every year, thousands of volunteers travel to Ghana to help the nation achieve its vision of becoming a developed country by 2029.
When you volunteer in Ghana, you can make a difference to people’s lives and leave a legacy that lasts for generations; by teaching English to children, you can give them the skills to find a good job and provide their families in the future. The experiences you have when you volunteer abroad are typically more memorable and genuine than you might otherwise find on a regular vacation.
What’s more, volunteering in Ghana can work out more cost-effective than opting for a traditional getaway; you can choose how long you want to volunteer abroad for and pick out a firm that provides accommodation, meals and more for the best deal. At uVolunteer, our Ghana volunteer travel and tour packages are priced as low as possible, covering all the necessities – all you need to do is arrange transport to Ghana and pay for your visa.
If the costs of volunteering abroad are too prohibitive - perhaps you’re on a gap year or not in full-time employment - another option is to set up a fundraiser to cover the cost of your trip to Ghana. Tell family and friends about how you’ll be making a difference in Africa and see how many sponsors you can get to pitch in.
Find free attractions in Ghana
Wherever you visit abroad, there will be popular attractions, and some of these you may well want to see. If you’re traveling on a budget, it’s wise to set aside a bit of cash to visit the attractions you really don’t want to miss but it’s also well worth doing some research before jetting off to map out some free or cheap attractions in Ghana.
Going on safari is a popular pastime for visitors to Africa and there are unparalleled opportunities to get close to nature at Mole National Park – a hidden gem for wildlife where the animals walk freely among visitors. If you’re keen to admire Ghana’s biodiversity - which includes buffalo, antelope, warthogs, elephants and monkeys - then Mole National Park offers some of the cheapest safaris in Africa.
For a truly Ghanaian cultural experience, head to Accra’s Art Center – a bustling bazaar in Ghana’s colourful capital. There are more than 100 stalls here selling traditional African crafts; be prepared to haggle and deal with vendors looking for a hard sell. You could also head over to Ghana’s largest bead market in Koforidua, which sells string of beautiful beads as well as bracelets, earrings and other items of jewellery.
Ghana’s varied landscape is a major draw for many visitors; there are all sorts of beauty spots to explore for free if you know where to look. Hike up the sacred mountain Obuo Tabri, be amazed by the cascading waterfalls and ponder the unusual Umbrella Rock formation in the Eastern region. There are also many beautiful beaches to visit in Ghana, including Kokrobite with its expanse of white sand and surfers’ paradise Busua.
Cut the cost of flying
Flights to Ghana can vary in price depending on where you’re traveling 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 and on certain days like Wednesday and Thursdays.
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. You’ll need to set aside a bit of extra time to account for connections and it can be helpful to try and use the same airlines to avoid baggage mishaps or fees if you decide to visit Ghana via another location. The fastest, most direct flights tend to be the most expensive; choosing a longer flight can be much cheaper, as can flying with stopovers. This sort of journey can add a number of hours on to your journey, however, so be prepared to kill time.
Lastly, if you’ve racked up any air miles, or know anyone else who has and is happy to give them away, now is the time to use them! Collect up unused air miles from family and friends who may not have enough to use individually but would gladly let you have them towards your trip to Ghana.
Choose cheaper accommodation
If you’re visiting Ghana on a budget, chances are you won’t be splashing out on the fanciest hotel for your stay, and opting for cheaper accommodation can save you money while still covering all the basic necessities. Hostels and budget hotels can provide the amenities you need without the frills and excessive luxury high-end establishments.
The advent of the Internet makes researching places to stay in Ghana much easier than it once was; browse accommodation online and check reviews to see what you’ll get for your money – in the process you should also be able to learn more about the quality of the accommodation and any other services, like meals and staff support.
You may be able to make savings by opting for a package vacation that includes accommodation along with flights and other elements like excursions, but spend some time doing the math to see if you’ll actually be better off choosing this type of getaway. If you decide to volunteer in Ghana, your accommodation will often be included as part of the overall price you pay.
Once you’ve picked out some potential places to stay, see whether they have any special offers to cut the cost of your break; sometimes, cashback and discount websites will pass the commission on to you if you visit their site and click through to the booking form, which can significantly reduce the price you pay for your accommodation.
Visit Ghana in a group
Another way to save money when you visit is to travel as part of a group. Students traveling in a group can find cheaper flights with some companies but the main discounts can be made when traveling, booking accommodation and excursions together.
If you’re traveling with friends or family, look into sharing accommodation and dividing the cost. For example, it may work out cheaper to book a family room and split it between three people rather than each person booking their own single room. If you’re booking a number of rooms, speak to the accommodation provider and ask about any group rates they have, or request a discount for a bulk booking – they may not honor your request but it’s worth a shot.
Volunteer abroad in Ghana with friends or relations and you may also be entitled to discounts; uVolunteer will cut the cost of a group trip to Ghana for up to five people by between $200 and $400, while larger groups of at least six people are eligible for a ten per cent discount. Other volunteer abroad firms may not offer the same deals, so do some research before making any binding commitments.
If you want to get out and about with your group in Ghana, you might also qualify for discounted rates at some attractions and restaurants. Rather than waiting until you arrive to see where you can save, look into excursions and meals before you travel and, if possible, make contact with providers where group rates aren’t listed. You may be able to arrange a discount code to use when you visit or pre-book at a special group rate.
Stay out of town
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 daytrip 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.
Ghana is a beautiful country and by staying out of town you can admire the nation’s scenery away from the built-up areas and tourist hotspots, which also means you’ll be able to experience authentic Africa. Do some research online to find out where you could stay for a vacation that isn’t expensive yet offers the amenities you’re looking for, be it a beach, bustling markets or colorful nightlife.
The lively town of Koforidua, for example, is uVolunteer’s base in Ghana. Less than one hour from the bright lights of Accra, Koforidua is the capital of Ghana’s Eastern region but isn’t well-known among tourists, thus retaining its cultural charm.
In and around Koforidua there is plenty to see and do, from visiting the famous bead market on a Thursday to exploring natural landmarks like the beautiful Boti Falls. Further afield are the magnificent Lake Volta, Akosombo Dam and the Upper Volta region.
Eat like the locals
Ghanaian food is hearty, fresh and tasty; you’ll definitely want to sample some of the native cuisine and, if you’re savvy, you can enjoy delicious dishes without burning a hole in your pocket. If you’re hankering for a taste of home from time to time, be aware that eating Western food or meals designed for Western palettes can quickly become expensive. Instead, ask the locals to point you in the direction of the nearest chop bar rather than asking the way to a restaurant – you’ll enjoy quality food at a great price.
Often, you can save money by avoiding the main tourist centers, where food prices are marked up. Instead, explore areas off the beaten track where there are few tourists to find the most authentic flavors at a fraction of the price. If you’re volunteering in Ghana, your volunteer coordinator should be able to provide you with information about where to eat for the best quality yet affordable food.
If you’re staying in a hotel with meals provided, make the most of the morning buffet and reserve some snacks to tide you over when you’re feeling peckish. If there’s fresh or dried fruit available, keep some to one side for later in the day. To keep hunger at bay between mealtimes, you can pick up hard-boiled eggs, Ghanaian sweet donuts and pies cheaply from all over the country, so there’s no need to blow the budget on food.
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.
Ghana is a fantastic destination for a trip to Africa but there’s no need to overspend when you visit; being savvy about how and when you travel, where you stay and what you eat can help you stick to a tight budget while still getting the most from your trip to Ghana. Researching beforehand and talking to locals can help you conserve cash to splash out on that special excursion or souvenir. Traveling as part of a group, using discount sites for flights and hotel accommodation or choosing to volunteer abroad in Ghana are all ways to make savings. Find out how much you can save when you visit Ghana by downloading the uVolunteer Ghana destination brochure here.