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We explore how proactivity can save you oodles of money.

While your tan may be the only reminder of your summer holidays, it doesn’t have to be suggests Pentravel, South Africa’s leisure travel specialist. Planning ahead for your next one, now, gives you something to look forward to – especially if you’re the early-bird who gets that fancy sea-facing room, extra discount or guaranteed availability for your preferred dates. So where to go next? Rounding-up 2016’s most popular travel dates, here Pentravel recommends top spots to visit for a sneaky weekend, mid-year break or Christmas adventure.

Valentines Day

While not a holiday per say, it does fall on a Sunday this year which means naughty getaways are just the ticket to spoil your loved one with. Take advantage of some of South Africa’s finest hotels’ Valentine’s Specials by enjoying a couple’s massage while sipping on a complimentary bottle of Graham Beck MCC at the 15 on Orange Hotel. Or, go the extra mile and escape to Mauritius for a cheeky 7 night getaway at one of Beachcomber’s luxury resorts – a memorable place to pop the question perhaps….?

Long Weekends

There are two XXL weekends in 2016; Monday 21st March and Monday 2nd May (as the 1st is a Sunday). Both are perfect excuses to take a mini-break to Mozambique. In just a swift 4-5 hour drive from Durbs or Jozi you’ll be relaxing on the beach with a cold one in hand. Or, make use of out of season rates and extend your vacay by jetting off to exotic Zanzibar for a few blissful, balmy nights. Only four hours from OR. Tambo, flights leave and return every Sunday or Tuesday.


School Holidays

While parents may not be thrilled at how early Easter is this year (schools close on the 18th March for two weeks!), it does allow for some extra fun-in-the-sun with your family before Autumn sets in. By taking off the 22nd – 24th March you get 10 long days to spend at your leisure. That’s more than enough time to cruise the Mediterranean aboard the Norwegian Epic. With all meals and entertainment included in your fare, it’s an alternative and more affordable way to experience its popular Eastern and Western ports.

Or, hang on to the mid-year hump and take some time off with the kids in June. Schools close between the 25th June and 18th July, making it the perfect time to take that trip to the Far East. Many hotels in Thailand slash their rates in two giving you a very welcome eight nights that only cost you four.  Not keen on the long-haul flights? Why not jet off to family-friendly Mauritius where at Club Med you can indulge in some me-time while your under 12s enjoy their independence in their own room, for free from May.

Child having fun outdoors with snowball in winter snowy forest

If you’ve missed them both don’t worry. There’s another holiday in September between the 30th and 10th October. While it may still be a bit chilly at home, it’s the lovely late summer in Europe, which, coupled with the quiet after the June/July holiday-makers rush and lower rates, makes it an ideal time to fly North. You could even catch the infamous Northern Lights from the deck of a Hurtigruten cruise liner – a true bucket list experience which cruises from Norway from the beginning of October 2016 – March 2017.

Festive Season

The last leg of the year is brutal for many but a well-deserved holiday on the horizon should keep you going. Fancy some snow? How about a 7-night all inclusive ski getaway at the notorious Val D’isère, South of France? If you book between 26 and 28 Jan’16 for the 2016/17 season you’ll beat the exchange rate by saving up to 15%. Or, sunseekers can set sail to ports in the Portuguese Islands, Mozambique and Mauritius, among many others, aboard the MSC Sinfonia, a 988-cabin sea Queen for 7 nights of escapism this Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Besides the diversity of entertainment and fine dining on-board– all of which is included in your fare – kids under the age of 17 cruise free if sharing a 4-birth cabin with you.

“Proactivity certainly pays off,” says Pentravel’s CEO Sean Hough. “With the exchange rate hovering around $17 to the Rand, it’s in travellers’ best interests to plan ahead as it will save them a lot of money compared to if they book last-minute. They’re also liking to travel when they want to and get a few extra perks thrown in just for good measure.”

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