14 Tips for turning that end-of-year holiday into a reality

2018-08-14 11:30
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family runs on the beach on Christmas morning

Now that we are way past the mid-year mark and the fresh scent of spring is in the air, it is time to turn our attention to the December holidays.

When you are collecting travel tips from friends and family on how to save money when holidaying in December, don’t be put off if you hear, “My tip is… don’t travel in December!”

This may be an option for DINKS (dual income, no kids) but, for families with children, December is the most extended school holiday of the year - a bit shorter this maybe but still  - the only time they can travel for an extended period.

READ: How to use your leave to get the most out of the Christmas holidays

Here are a few key tips to consider:

  • Consider all-inclusive packages: Paying for a package upfront that includes transport, accommodation and meals makes budgeting so much easier.
  • Book a guided holiday: Your itinerary will be organised for you and sightseeing and some meals are included. It can work out cheaper, as the tour companies negotiate volume discounts. Another bonus is that you often skip the long public queues at attractions when you are part of a tour group.
  • Visit a less touristy destination: It will not be as crowded and is likely to offer more reasonably priced accommodation. For example, Johannesburg is relatively quiet over the festive season as residents flock to the seaside.

SEE: SA proposes school holiday changes: Your 2018/2019 holiday planning made easy

  • Book self-catering accommodation: Cook some of your own meals to save on eating out. Even if you don’t want to cook, pack frozen pre-made dinners that you can reheat in the microwave or fresh bread with ham and cheeses. When booking a hotel, look for a room with a kitchenette.
  • Travel with other families: Share transport, accommodation and food costs. If the kids are of similar age, they can keep each other busy. Each family can take a turn to look after the kids, giving parents a breather and cancelling out the cost of a babysitter.
  • Pack a picnic: Shopping for delicacies at the local store is part of the fun in discovering a new destination and is less costly than eating at restaurants. Pack disposable cutlery and crockery and pick a spot with a superb view.
  • Visit the local tourist information centre: Ask for advice on things to see in the area and for a list of free activities.
  • Browse voucher websites: Look for dining, spa and activity deals on local websites such as Daddy’s Deals, Hyperli or Wikideals. Buy the coupons before you leave and print the vouchers to take along with you. Although vouchers are digital, many service providers still request a printed copy. If you are overseas, search online for local equivalents.
  • Find discount apps: There are apps like Klook that provide discounts on dining, activities and attractions. If you are overseas, search online for the local equivalents. Download the apps before you leave to save on data.

READ MORE: Dream 2018/19 holidays to plan for: Where South Africans are heading

  • Use television subscription services for entertainment: Sign up for DStv, Showmax or Netflix for movies and entertainment. If you want to connect your laptop to a TV so you can watch on a bigger screen, take along an HDMI cable.
  • Look for fast, uncapped Wi-Fi: Do not take for granted that Wi-Fi is uncapped, as many places only offer a modest daily allocation. Buying additional access is usually very costly, which is particularly important if you plan to watch movies or play games online.
  • Take board games along: They make for a fun, family activity at no cost and are perfect if the weather is unpleasant.

TRAVEL PLANNING: UK, Schengen, US and Australia visa costs: What South Africans can expect to pay in 2018 

  • Buy a local sim card: This will save on roaming costs. Many countries offer a tourist sim card at the airport with included minutes, SMS messages and data. As long as you have data, you will be able to communicate using WhatsApp. If you find free Wi-Fi hotspots, you can switch to Wi-Fi to save your data. You can also share the data with fellow travellers if your smartphone allows you to create a hot spot.

As you plan to end 2018 with a well-deserved break, whether solo, with your significant other or the whole family in tow, rest assured there are ways to make it a holiday to remember without breaking the bank.

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(Source: Flight Centre)