Anyone else counting down the days until New Year? Yes, 2020 threw us a curveball that no one could have expected, but there is still time to ensure that you end the year with something to look forward to – that much-anticipated December getaway.
Now that we can get outside again, and our borders are open, it's time to explore our fantastic country, and for those willing to look a little further afield, you may be able to have that international December holiday of your dreams.
With careful planning and advice from the Flight Centre team of Experts, who will guide you through the complexities of travel in our current reality, now is the best time to book your December getaway.
Why now is the time to book that December getaway
There's never been a more crucial time to plan and book your holiday in advance. With more South Africans expected to holiday locally this year, and the fact that December is peak travel season, now is the time to get planning if you’re hoping for the best deals and availability.
When it comes to holidays, the "early bird" certainly catches the best deals. A lot of people think if they wait until the last minute, they're going to benefit from lots of reduced holiday options. But this isn't always the case, especially this year with suppliers already offering incredible deals to entice local and international travellers.
You'll also find that the variety of holiday deals on offer diminishes dramatically closer to Christmas. Holidaymakers who leave it to the last minute are invariably disappointed because they can't get the deal, exact room or suite or package they want.
Usually, flights get booked up fast, and accommodation becomes scarce months before December, one of the most popular booking months for travel. This year, with limited flight schedules in place and social distancing regulations at many accommodation establishments and tourist attractions, be even more of an early bird.
It can also be tricky to coordinate diaries, so planning now means you can get the dates locked down quickly and can take leave. If you're going to be travelling with extended family and friends, it's important to share what you want to get out of the journey in the initial planning stage to ensure you're all on the same page.
Rule of thumb, book as early as you can while you can have your pick of the holiday spoils.
Where do you want to spend your December holidays?
Still nervous about travelling? Rest assured, the airline, hospitality and tourism industry has implemented some of the most stringent health and safety protocols in the world, giving customers added peace of mind.
For additional peace of mind around flexible bookings, check out Flight Centre's Moneyback Guarantee.
After enduring months of lockdown, it is understandable that people have become much more appreciative of the prospect of travel. There is less emphasis now on amenities (unless it is around health and safety) and what one can get out of one's holiday, and more focus on the experience and the destination itself. So, how do you choose a destination?
Best selling international holidays in years gone by
Traditionally, bestselling international destinations for the December holidays have been those balmy Indian Ocean Islands, such as Mauritius and Zanzibar.
Beach holidays of all kinds and local packages as well as Bali, Maldives and cruises were popular for December sunseekers. For a northern hemisphere break, London, Paris and Turkey were popular.
Local and regional travel picks
This year, however, local and regional travel is expected to be the most sought after.
If you want to keep it local for December, take a browse of our handpicked Homegrown Holidays bound to make you fall in love with South Africa all over again!
• Soak up the sun and sea in unforgettable Umhlanga – a laid back, beloved holiday destination for many generations of South African families.
• Get up close with nature at stunning St Lucia in KwaZulu Natal.
• Get your arts, culture and craft beer fix in cosy Clarens.
• Knysna is a Western Cape favourite for the December holidays and this year it might be a little less busy than previous years, so if you've always wanted to holiday along the Garden Route this is an excellent time to tick it off the bucket list.
• It's easy to imagine fairies are hiding in the lush forests of Tsitsikamma! You may not spot a fairy but what you will find are Knysna loeries, elephants and a stunning diversity of flora and fauna, from the forest down to the sea.
• Landlocked Gautengers can get their beach fix at the ever-popular Sun City, a family-favourite year after year.
• Meander through the Magaliesberg mountain biking, hiking and soaking up the fresh air.
Tips for your December holiday – from start to finish
• Book and plan early and consult your Flight Centre Travel Expert every step of the way.
• Book travel insurance – yes, even on a local trip.
• Leave earlier than you usually would, especially when it comes to airports. Plan ahead with parking and packing.
• Book must-do excursions before departure so that they're not fully booked by the time you get there. Check the opening and closing times for any attractions.
• Keep your cool. Accept that delays and unexpected events may happen, and that travel staff are under more pressure than usual.
Now is the time to book your December getaway and end the year on a high note.
For peace of mind no matter where you're travelling, contact your Flight Centre Travel Expert.