Covering everything you need to know from when to plan your trip, where to go on holiday, when to hit the road and embrace the long awaited time off, the question of affordable hotel accommodation and last, but by far the most important, how to enjoy an affordable holiday once you get there.
Holiday Planning : Include Family activities like horse riding are very popular
for the more adventurous. Photo:Grootbos Nature Reserve
Holiday Planning: When to Plan an Affordable Family Holiday
Affordable family holiday planning is important when trying to save money in the process. In order to make sure that your next family holiday is truly affordable the first rule, above all others, is to save up in advance. This way there is minimum spending and interest on your credit card saving money by avoiding price hikes during the holidays, peak season and summer breaks.
Including the kids in the holiday planning process helps avoid sulking sessions and will set aside an afternoon for a nap, a stroll, shopping or simply kicking back to read a book. Let each family member choose one thing within a budget that they want to do then make it a rule that everyone joins in.
Begin planning your affordable holiday as soon as you know the dates you will be going and where you are going to. Make the necessary appointments for vacations three months in advance and get discount rates while ensuring that your travel documents are valid to avoid unforeseen costs and missing out.
Thanks to the Internet making bookings are simple, fast and cost effective by proving the means to research the nest possible rates. Compare prices in advance in order to find the cheapest prices. Book your flights as early as possible to get the best flight fees. Bookings online makes planning your holiday convenient and affordable. The best part is it’s possible to get great deals at the last minute.
Get as much discount and your cards, accounts and memberships can get you and if possible pay your vacation in advance. This is another method to save additional money when planning a vacation.
Kids might appear to be highly energetic, which they are, but when it comes to going on holiday they like to go and stay put at one location. Pick a location and make it your holiday home for the entire vacation. Get to know your destination, enjoy the time making new memories and discover new places.
Instead of a brief visit take advantage of last-minute travel deals if you’re planning a longer holiday. When searching online, search smart. For example, instead heading of to a beach in Florida, search for an affordable beach holiday somewhere a bit more low key. Keep in mind that island style vacations and warm weather locations are usually the most popular and in turn that often makes them more expensive.
If you’ve got boys a hotel or accommodation that prohibits diving or splashing in the pool, it is just simply never going to work making both the kids and the parents miserable. On the other hand, consider that if you’ve got a girl (who is obviously not a tomboy) and loves dress up then remote camping is not the option for you. Pick a place that incorporates everyone’s interests and a location that everyone would love to visit. It could be a city with a great museum exhibition or a dolphin sanctuary.
So you might not be up for a hectic daily holiday schedule of hiking, tennis, game viewing, water sports, fishing, horse riding and snorkelling but one this is for certain, if you have kids then they sure will. An active vacation keeps children occupied; interested and engaged. Try picking places to stay that have onsite entertainment and activities. Check the age requirements for activities before booking.
Self-drive holidays are a cheaper holiday option for families. If getting out in nature is your thing and the bush calls you off road or if you set on car cruising the coastline from Durban down to Cape Town, then browse on Drive South Africa to find out how to get there or routing tips.
Holiday Planning: Mabula Game Lodge. Photo: Mabula Game Lodge
Holiday Planning: Hotel Happiness on an Affordable Family Holiday
If you’re not in a beautiful camp somewhere in the African bush and your holiday requires the comfort of a hotel room then do yourself a favour and invest in two rooms with interconnecting doors. It’s your home away from home and you’ll find you spend more time in there than planned during your getaway.
If you’re not embracing nature and taking advantage of Africa at its best by driving into the bush with an equipped 4×4 and setting up a tent somewhere then the most important consideration would be cleanliness and sanitation when looking for a hotel. There are a lot of great Safari Lodges around if your looking for a comfortable and affordable family holiday in Afica.
If you want to make day tripping, coastal touring and local shopping more convenient, it’s probably best to select accommodation suitable to your needs and in or near the centre of town. If you would like to experience the local markets, culture and small towns then historic hotels are your best choice.
Holiday Planning: Self-drive in Africa. Photo: v.william46
Holiday Planning: When to Head for an Affordable Family Holiday
If travelling by air before getting to South Africa try travelling mid-week to save on the fare. Weekend flights and fares are more expensive. You find the best deals for flights and accommodations off peak, even to some warm weather family resorts and destinations. Not to mention that roads are quieter.
The worst times to travel are during school breaks and end of the year but this is often the only time be prepared for higher rates as demand for flights and accommodation increase sharply. Plan the holiday well and if possible travel out of season even if you miss peak dates by a day or two.
So forget the kids or the car, don’t forget about the cats and dogs. Get an animal sitter before you go, preferably doubling up as a house sitter or look for suitable kennels. Make sure it is a clean and safe environment; veterinarians offer boarding services or make suggestions. Most kennels ask that you have proof of your animals’ giving their shots, so make sure to have those records handy.
Calculate if with the cost of fuel and flights whether driving or flying is going to be the most cost effective. Consider that if you are going a great distance and want quality time at your vacation location, consider flying. If you love the journey as much as the vacation, driving is the best alternative. Route out your trip, estimate mileage and fuel expenses. Drive South Africa offers a distance chart to help you calculate your trip.
Consider how far from home you are travelling and how much time off from work you are taking. Put in for leave once you have decided where to go then decide how to head and how to get there.
Holiday Planning: There are many affordable restaurants at the V&A
Waterfront in Cape Town. Photo: Urban adventures
Holiday Planning: Enjoying an Affordable Family Holiday
Another thing for overseas travellers to keep in mind is currency and exchange rate. Families that are planning their vacations abroad should choose destinations where the conversion will still be favourable to their own currency or better still visiting a country where your currency is much stronger. South Africa’s exchange works well with both USD and GBP.
Get daily supplies from the nearest supermarket. Pack picnics and fill up water bottles from taps where water is drinkable. Bottled water can cost a fortune, simple pour and freeze for those hot days and long journeys on the road. Buy bread, butter, milk and sugar for the local shop in the area.
Make light lunches or snacks in your hotel room can will save you a few bucks. Look in the local guides for affordable restaurants to treat your family to.Don’t spend on the mini bar or fridge, buy snacks and drinks from the local shop.
If possible don’t buy many gifts at hotel gift shops or tourist traps, they hike prices much higher aimed at the tourist market. You can often order and buy the same identical items cheaper than you can in the tourist shops if you take the time to shop around.
Check out Drive South Africa’s special offers on car rental rates for this festive season.