Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again: the Christmas holidays are just around the corner. So if you haven’t sorted out where you are going or what to do over the festive season, now is the time to get the wheels in motion to avoid disappointment.
This is especially true if you have plans to go overseas. Flights to the United Kingdom, for example, are filling up fast. The limited economy seats go first, so if you don’t want to pay a premium, get in touch with the airline of your choice and book now. The best options on the London route this Christmas are Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, with a total ticket price of R8 867 (R5 500 for the ticket and taxes of R3 367) and Virgin Atlantic with R9 747 (a cheaper ticket price of R5 200 but way more in taxes at R4 547).
Both have seats available from December 8 to January 4 2009.
If the idea of skiing the top European slopes over Christmas appeals to you, there are some great package deals. Thompsons, for example, is offering a seven-night trip to Kitzbuhel in Germany from December 20 to 27 for R18 373 a person.
It may sound like a lot of money, but remember this is the peak holiday time and the package includes return flights on South African Airways to Munich, transfers to and from the airport, seven nights’ accommodation at a top pension in Kitzbuhel on a bed-and-breakfast basis, the services of a Thompsons ski representative and a welcome dinner.
A great local Thompsons package is to spend the New Year holiday in Cape Town with a week at the Park Inn on trendy Greenmarket Square – right in the middle of the Mother City – for R6 473 a person.
The price includes return flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, departing on December 26 and returning on January 2 2009, seven days’ car hire and seven nights’ accommodation at the hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis. The package includes special discounts at certain bars and restaurants.
If you want a slightly cheaper option to a more exotic destination, returning home just before Christmas, then R9 802 will get you a week at the Tropical Beach resort on Malindi Beach in Kenya.
The price includes return flights from Johannesburg, seven nights’ accommodation and breakfast, lunch, dinner and all local drinks each day. The only condition is that you must book a return date before December 22. This represents huge value for money and perhaps is one of the best Christmas holiday packages available.
If the idea of a cruise floats your boat then you can take advantage of a special five-night/six-day Pearl of the Orient package. It includes a flight from Jo’burg to Singapore and transport from the airport to the port to board the SuperStar Virgo where your cabin will be home for five nights with all meals and daily entertainment.
The tour visits Penang, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Phuket Island in Thailand before returning to Singapore and your flight back to Johannesburg. All of this costs R15 671 a person.
Departure dates for the Pearl of the Orient cruise are either December 7 or January 4 2009.
A more affordable, but less exciting cruise option is offered by Flight Centre aboard Starlight Cruises’ Melody. Departing Durban on December 15 or January 5 for four nights, the Melody will cruise Mozambique’s turqoise waters via Maputo to Barra Lodge at Inhambane.
The prices start at R4 280 a person for a standard inside cabin and include meals, daily entertainment and the captain’s cocktail party.