I love being in Jhb in December - it's hot but dry (I don't like the heat but I prefer dry heat over humidity), there is NO traffic and you can actually find parking in the malls and do your necessary shopping in peace.
We always preferred to have our holidays at different times but now with kids in school, we are restricted to the official school holidays.
It's kind of killing me, to be honest, because my highest value is freedom ----->> and I just feel resentful having to take a holiday when the rest of the country does too.
I started the new job in September so I wasn't planning to take leave in December (except between Christmas and New Year because I feel that has to be taken).
But I did a thing I do often - I thought, "let me just have a look and see what's available" and before you know it, I was checking out places in the Drakensberg. Sadly, the beach would require flights and accommodation, and we didn't feel like spending on a full (flights, car and accommodation) holiday that was completely unbudgeted.
I set a number in my head and looked within that figure.
And thanks to our diamond vitality status, we paid only 50% of what the holiday should have cost.
(BTW, we saved more than 10 times what we spend on our vitality membership last year, so it pays for us, big-time)
So we went on a 7-night holiday very early (for us) together with half the country.
I explained to a friend that the place was awesome and all that... BUT if I'd paid full price I would have been disappointed.
Not much to do with the place but more with the MORE-ness of all the people.
I like quiet holidays out of routine and this time I saw more people there than I see in my normal Jhb life. Pool at resort full so no loungers available, etc.
I realise this is the new normal but I suppose I thought not many people would be on holidays yet. Wrong.
I'll write more about the holiday because there were lots of wonderful experiences but I'll admit I had to give myself a talking-to so I could set aside my expectations and just enjoy what was there.
But back to the point of this blog.
I'm not really sure how people do this holiday thing for long (2 weeks) on a normal budget. Do you know what Ballito accommodation costs? R2500 a night. Ridiculous.
- My SIL suggested we all rent a house and ... no.
- Another friend suggested camping and.... I laughed hard. Do I look in the least bit like a camper?!
- Another suggested family holidays.... possible but I can only stay with people for 3 days before I go cuckoo.
I was thinking of doing a drive down to PE and stopping halfway at a farm (Cat, was it you who told me about a farm you guys go to?) and continuing with a drive the next day. We could stay with my mother to cut down costs...
(Flying to PE is about R9 - R10 000 for the 4 of us)
Julia blogged about staycations and some comments advised against timeshare. A pity because that was one of the things I wanted to investigate.
Anyway, seasoned travellers with kids, what I want to know is:
- if you have to go on school holiday holidays, which is the best time of year to go away?
- what do you do as a family?
- do you save the whole year, or don't you mind spending a lot at one time?
- how big a deal is taking your kids out of school for a day or so in Grade R?
Would that not be perfect for me?
These photos are from day 1 of our December holiday to the Drakensberg. We accidentally took the horrible, pot-holey road and everything in our bodies was shaken loose.
Eventually we passed Driekloof Dam and because we were so annoyed we carried on driving but then I said to D, "you know what? If we were in Ireland, we would have stopped and taken PHOTOS" so we turned the car around (this is a MIRACLE for a goal-driven person like me - I just want to get to my destination) and went back for photos. It felt like South Africa's answer to Wicklow. DIVINE!
That 10-minute stop cheered all of us right up and you can see above that the kids got to use their new cameras too.
Do you like to stop? Or do you like to get to your destination?
PS if you have non-school age kids, GO ON HOLIDAYS!