How to make the most of a short, local family break

If you want to squeeze in a short family break before schools go back while still avoiding crowds, opt for a local destination.

 A short break at a local destination might be just what you and your family need.

Having fun at the beach, bush, or mountains with your family is what the school holidays are usually all about. However, the coronavirus pandemic has led to many of us opting to only take a few days’ break, or a weekend away somewhere local. Is there a silver lining to this black cloud? The answer is ‘yes’! You can still have a great weekend holiday at a local resort before schools go back on the 26th of July. Here’s how.

  • Work out your budget and stick to it: The package that includes meals and accommodation may seem like a great deal but don’t forget to factor in the cost of activities. You don’t want to end up with no money to participate in anything extra.
  • Book early: It’s never too early to book your weekend getaway especially if you require very specific travel dates or times. But be prepared to be flexible.
  • Plan ahead: With Covid-19, some resorts are closed and some have stopped certain attractions and facilities. Check which attractions are open. There would be nothing more frustrating to find all resort facilities are closed.
  • Self-catering or hotel: The destination and its surrounding attractions are often the first prize and you may not spend any time other than in your accommodation choice. Decide what will work best for you and your family. Remember self-catering gives dad an opportunity to light up the braai and hotels give mom some time off from the kitchen.
  • Buy and pack your holiday essentials before you leave: If you’ve forgotten to pack certain items, be aware that you might not find them at your destination, and if you do, you will more than often have to pay a premium price for them.

Five road trip essentials you need for a short getaway

  1. Map and travel plan: Even if you’re going somewhere local, pack in the map and have your route worked out well beforehand. Most smartphones today have GPS and apps which highlight great places to eat, points and places of interest, and most importantly, the weather update app.
  2. Quizzes, puzzles, and games for the back seat drivers: No matter how short the trip is, make sure the kids are entertained. “Eye spy” can get a bit boring two minutes into the trip. Hang a plastic shoe holder on the back of the front seats and use it to store games, refreshments, books, and other favourite toys to keep kids occupied on the long trip.
  3. Essential snacks and drinks, PadkosKeep snacks and drinks cold in a soft-sided cooler bag which won’t take up much space. Make life even easier by packing smaller cooler bags for each kid with all their favourites.
  4. Toiletries and other essentials: Stock up on some easy-to-reach toiletries, such as tissues, paper towels, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, and a roll of toilet paper. It’s also a good idea to include a basic first aid kit with a few essentials, such as antiseptic and band-aids for minor cuts, pain relievers, and even some remedies for motion sickness. And don’t forget hand sanitizer and face masks for everyone!
  5. Cooler bag: A cooler bag is a must-have for storing lunch, water, and cold snacks. Also, a cooler bag is a great place to keep other items that don’t do well in direct sun like cameras and cell phones. Just be sure to keep electronics in plastic waterproof bags.