Bali over February is a very comfortable 26°C. Picture: Supplied.
Bali over February is a very comfortable 26°C. Picture: Supplied.
Thailand’s party paradise, Phuket is worth visiting. Picture: Supplied.
Thailand’s party paradise, Phuket is worth visiting. Picture: Supplied.
If the only thing getting you through the last stretch of the year is the thought of a year-end break, don’t wait until the first week of January for the post-holiday blues to hit. Be an early bird and snatch up new holiday specials for travel in 2019.  

Nicky Potgieter, Flight Centre Leisure Marketing Leader, said w hen it comes to holidays, the early bird certainly catches the best deals. 
"A lot of people think if they wait until the last minute, they are going to benefit from lots of cut-price holiday options, but it simply isn’t true. 

“Travellers will also find the variety of holiday specials diminishes dramatically. Holidaymakers who leave it to the last minute may be disappointed because they can’t get the deal they want," she said. 

Potgieter said  January was one of Flight Centre's most popular bookings months. 

Destinations on the radar for Potgieter and her team in 2019 include:

Bali  

Did you know that you don’t need a visa to visit the destination?

The average temperature in Bali over February is a very comfortable 26°C, and while you may get some rain, it will be interspersed with hours of sunshine.

What to do: Visit the rice paddy valley of Tegalalang, learn to surf in Kuta and hike to Sekumpul Waterfalls.

Where to stay: The surf’s up in Kuta, one of the most popular locations for South African holidaymakers. There is also plenty of shopping, and the nightlife is world-renowned.

How much: For travel between 1 February 2019 - 6 March 2019, seven nights at the Bali Garden Beach Resort including breakfast, return flights ex-Johannesburg with taxes, and airport-hotel transfers, is from R16,350* per person sharing. Plus, get a transferable R1,000 travel voucher as part of Flight Centre’s Beach Escapes program.

Phuket 
 
For a beach holiday that won’t break the bank, try Thailand’s party paradise, Phuket. Of course, Patong is generally where the action is.

In May and June, the weather gradually shows signs of the approaching wet season, but it is hot and dry making it a favourite time to visit. With average temperatures of 28.4°C we certainly won’t complain. 

What to do: Laze around your resort pool, hit the beach, or climb to the top of the hill on which Phuket’s Big Buddha sits and enjoy panoramic views. Shop at Phuket Town’s weekend night market, learn to cook Thai at a cooking class, or spend a night on Bangla Road.

Where to stay: This depends on whether you want peace and quiet or to be part of the action. Patong is a popular choice for South Africans who want to be close to the beach, shopping and nightlife. The quieter Kata and Karon beaches have a range of beautiful beach resorts that provide more serene surrounds.

How much: Eight nights at the Centara Karon Resort Phuket, including breakfast, return airfares with taxes ex-Johannesburg and airport transfers, is from R12,490* per person sharing from 1 May 2019 - 13 June 2019.


MSC Cruise

Embark on a local cruise off the eastern coast of South Africa from Durban, or up to Namibia from Cape Town. With cruises to Portuguese Island, Walvis Bay, and 'nowhere cruises' out to sea, MSC Cruises' South Africa line-up offers an affordable cruise break over the summer season.  For those cruising to Mozambique, expect pleasant, hot weather of between 28-32°C, but with less of the summer humidity. 

What to do: MSC's cruise ships have kids' clubs for different age groups and a range of facilities for adults, from the pool and a casino to the onboard La Scala Theatre.

Where to stay: With a range of inside, ocean-view and balcony cabins, accommodation onboard the MSC Musica is comfortable and affordable, with en-suite bathrooms with a shower and double bed that can convert to two singles.

How much:  Board your MSC Musica cruise to Portuguese Island on 15 March 2019 from R5,190* per person sharing including three nights’ accommodation, port charges and all meals and entertainment onboard.