If you’re planning a family holiday this December, we’ve got great tips for booking that dream trip, while sticking to a budget.
It’s been a long, hard year and a family holiday is more than deserved by all. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning the perfect family getaway.
Draw up a holiday budget
As the cost of living rises, it’s become increasingly vital to factor in the cost of a family holiday. Budgeting ahead of time ensures that you are planning fun that you can afford. Make a budget for the amount of days you’ll be on holiday, and factor in expenses such as lodging, meals, petrol, and entertainment.
Top holiday saving tips:
- Keep an eye on social media platforms for holiday specials.
- Consider self-catering options.
- Check to see if the venue you’ve picked has any children’s activities so you can save on extra forms of entertainment.
- Consider camping: It’s still a budget-friendly holiday, and kids enjoy it. If you’re not sure you want to give up your comforts, look for a resort that provides ‘glamping,’ which includes private ablutions or pre-erected tents.
Make road trips fun
When traveling with children, long vehicle trips can be a huge challenge. While kids bicker over music choices and space, endless hours of ‘I’m bored’, ‘Are we there yet’, and ‘There’s nothing to do’ permeate the air. Auto Mart’s Francois Labuschagne offers some advice:
- If you plan your trip around your child’s sleep pattern, it will be shorter and less stressful for them.
- On longer journeys, stop every two to three hours.
- Games are a terrific way to pass the time during these pauses; they provide the ideal opportunity to plan brief activities and games for your children. Time fillers include I spy with my small eye, the alphabet memory game, automobile tennis, 20 questions, and telling a group story.
- A playlist of everyone’s favourite music and snacks to satisfy all appetite demands are must-haves for the journey.
Crossing the border
Traveling internationally, especially with children, can be frightening. When arranging your abroad holiday, Thompsons Travel’s John Ridler suggests keeping the following considerations in mind:
- Use a reputable travel agent or tour operator, and make sure they’re a member of the Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA).
- Make two copies of your passports and visas, one of which you should leave with a friend at home. This makes things easier in the event that your documents are misplaced.
- Store credit card information and crucial phone numbers in a secure location.
- Use a bank card loaded with foreign exchange instead of carrying cash.
- Purchase travel insurance that covers both medical and lost luggage.
- Invest in an excellent guidebook. If you’re going to a big city, pick up a ‘what’s on’ magazine before you get there to find out about the newest events and performances.
- Take a city bus tour of the city you’re visiting to gain your bearings and see the sites.
- Bring a variety of clothing for your child that you can mix and match, and roll your children’s clothes to save ironing.
- Pack medication your or your family may need in your hand luggage.
- Buy lunch and dinner from supermarkets instead of eating out every day.
Celebrating the holidays at home
According to Dr. Kgosi Letlape of Dettol SA, staying at home can be just as much fun for your kids as travelling away:
- Look up what’s going on in your region on entertainment websites or in the local media.
- Plan simple activities such as ball games and family picnics.
- Get your children involved in gardening — it’s both pleasant and soothing to grow plants and get your hands dirty.
- Baking is a terrific opportunity to spend quality time together as a family. Simple-to-follow recipes keep children occupied.
- Assign your children the task of coming up with new sandwich fillings for picnic meals.
- Invite your children’s friends over to ‘dance till they drop,’ or have a camp-out in the garden.