If you’ve been considering taking a trip (with your family, significant other, or on your own) over the Christmas, new year or Easter period the good news is that most airlines have now opened sales for travel between November 2018 and April 2019! Looking for destination inspiration ahead of booking those flights? Here are some ideas.
Beach destination inspiration
Bintan Island, Indonesia
When South Africans talk about “a holiday in Asia” there is one firm favourite destination atop that list – Thailand. With its beautiful beaches, friendly people and variety of activities for all travel types, it’s not hard to see why it’s so loved. But, there is another Asian destination that is quickly climbing the ranks of “best Asian holiday spot” among South Africans: Bintan Island in Indonesia. Bintan Island is truly a unique paradise with so much to offer couples, friends, and families. The island is renowned as a wellness destination and provides refreshment to the minds and bodies of travellers who visit the island; and it is a golfing paradise with its Ria Bintan golf course – one of the best in the world. Getting there is a breeze – a 10-hour direct flight from South Africa to Singapore, and then a 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore to Bintan island.
Cancun is on the south east coast of Mexico, stretching out towards Cuba on the Yucatan Peninsula. Its name has become synonymous with partying and the high life, but this part of Mexico is also privy to some ancient ruins, beautiful beaches and relaxing luxury resorts. Club Med Cancún Yucatán is the ultimate all-inclusive family resort located at the tip of Mexico’s iconic Riviera Maya in the state of Quintana Roo. Alongside three white sand beaches and the world’s second largest coral reef, between the Caribbean Sea and the lagoon, Club Med Cancún Yucatán, offers an extensive array of water and land sports and easy access to the ancient Mayan wonders. February is one of the first very dry months in this part of the Caribbean so the chances of even a short downpour are much lowered as well – meaning, magnificent weather for most of the month. What about travel time? +-17 hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta (USA, on Delta airlines) and then a 2.5 hour connecting flight to Cancun. There are no direct flights from South Africa to Cancun, which allows you the opportunity to add a few days in your connecting city. Options include spending time in: Paris (if you fly Air France); Amsterdam (if you fly KLM); Sao Paolo (if you fly Latin America Airlines – LATAM); Atlanta (if you fly Delta Air Lines).
If you’re looking for an island destination that takes less time to fly to than driving from Johannesburg to Durban, the Indian Ocean beckons. A mere four hours in an aeroplane and you’ll touch down on the tropical island of Mauritius – a firm favourite among South Africans (and for good reason!) The island provides plenty of opportunities to experience a beach holiday at a moment’s notice, with tons of activities for parents and children alike. Relax by an infinity pool, kick back at the beach, or soak up some personal wellness at a spa, Mauritius is an oasis of peace and tranquility. The island also provides the adventurous family all that they could ask for, from wakeboarding to kitesurfing and snorkelling, scuba diving and more!
The Maldives is largely regarded as a honeymooners paradise. And while that is still most certainly true, the destination is starting to become an ideal holiday destination for families. With the likes of Club Med offering all-inclusive kids’ clubs, more families are escaping to this sun-kissed destination than ever before. Most travellers fly into the capital Malé and then catch resort transport – either a boat or sea-plane. Depending on which airline you choose to fly, a flight from South Africa to Malé, on average, will be 15-hours (including one stop over along the way where you can stretch your legs). The tropical climate means year-round warm temperatures.
Snow destination inspiration
Val Thorens, French Alps
Val Thorens (located within the Three Valleys as mentioned above) is the highest ski resort in Europe is hard to beat for snow fans. At 2,300m, it has one of the longest ski seasons beginning in November with good snow conditions running up until May. It is situated at the head of the Three Valleys and is the largest ski/snowboarding area in the world. It has 100 percent ski-in ski-out accommodation with unbeatable skiing and snowboarding: powdery fields, perfectly groomed slopes – 600km of runs and snow guaranteed right through the season. The snowboarding facilities are cutting-edge, with high-tech ski lifts that take you right up to the highest peaks with views over more than 1,000 mountaintops. What about logistics? It’ll take a +-10 hour direct flight to Geneva, accompanied by a 2-hour luxury coach ride up to the magical snow-filled village of Val Thorens.
Samoëns, French Alps
Samoëns is a town located in the Vallée du Giffre (Giffre Valley) in the French Alps – and just a 75 minute drive from Geneva airport. Renowned as one of the best family snowboarding (and ski) destinations in the world, this place is ideal if you’re looking for a destination that caters to children and adults. The region has become so popular with families that Club Med was prompted to open a resort, Club Med’s Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon, which opened in December 2017. Samoëns offers exceptional snowboarding for the whole family, offering 265 km of runs, as well as off-piste and between-piste slopes. Ideal for a snow holiday between November and April.