As we snowball toward the end of the year, many South Africans are starting to plan their December holidays, while others are looking to plan ahead for 2019 travel like the March/April school holidays and easter break.
And while the recent rollercoaster the rand went on might have put you off of even thinking about taking a holiday, there is hope at the end of the holiday-tunnel given the circumstances. We spoke to Olivier Hannaert, MD of Club Med Southern Africa, for his top tips on booking a holiday to ensure you get the best rate and value – regardless of a rand rollercoaster.
You’ve probably heard this many times, and you’re now going to hear it again, because it really is that valuable advice – the earlier you book, the better the rate you’re going to get.
In addition to getting the absolute best rates, booking early will also ensure you have top pick at the options available (from accommodation room options to your ideal seats on a plane and more!)
If you’re interested in booking a holiday well in advance but don’t have the full amount on hand, don’t let that get you down – there are various travel operators who only require a certain % deposit upfront, with the rest to be paid a month before departure*.
* Note: this is based on Club Med bookings where only 10% deposit on accommodation is required upfront (excluding bookings with flights). All travel operators have their own rules and means of deposits, and so you should always enquire with who you are booking with.
Go for All-Inclusive
With the unpredictability of the rand, more South Africans are looking for travel packages that don’t come with any surprises or hidden costs, including nasty foreign exchange surprises!
Opting for an all-inclusive holiday option means that when you leave for your holiday, you could quite literally leave your wallet at home. When you arrive at the resort, all meals, drinks and activities are at your disposal – all day.
You don’t need to worry about converting from rands to euros (which we are all too familiar with when travelling) to figure out how much that chocolat chaud or mojito is going to set you back. It’s all included in what you pay upfront. But (and this is important): not all all-inclusive holidays are created equal.
That said, it is important that you understand exactly what is and is not included with the holiday package you choose. If the world of all-inclusive is a little daunting for you, one of our travel experts can help break it down for you and advise on a package that would best suit your travel style and needs.
Look for holiday packages where kids stay free
If you do your research well enough, you will find various travel operators that offer some superb deals when travelling with children. Air Mauritius is one such airline which offers great specials if you travel during the off-season months, where booking two adult tickets will allow for two children to travel for free (Ts and Cs apply). That’s an airline sorted, now what about a resort? At Club Med’s resorts in Mauritius, children under 12 years stay and eat (and drink) free. And, children get their own (inter-connecting) room!
Choose visa-free destinations (for South Africans)
Choosing a holiday destination that does not require a visa for South Africans is another easy way to trim down on holiday costs. The table below is a list of all the countries to travel to visa free, or by getting a visa at the airport.
This means that you can just pack a bag and choose a destination; out of 94 countries, at least one is bound to be on your bucket list. With so many destinations, the world truly is your oyster. All that’s left is to plan that amazing holiday you’ve been dreaming about.
Whether you’re looking to splurge on an idyllic island getaway; head off on the perfect family trip (where kids travel and stay free!); or are planning a more pocket-friendly trip to Southeast Asia, there is a destination for every type of traveler – regardless of the joyride the rand heads off on.