Add the festive to the season

‘Tis nearly the season to be jolly and we’d love to share some suggestions that will bring an extra sparkle to your December holidays, whether you are spending them at home or travelling. With the year winding down, now is the time to take those small steps that will make a BIG difference when your long-awaited December break arrives.

Staying at home:

As the holidays often mean spending time with family and friends, why not book tickets to some awesome events or make a reservation to eat out at that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try for years, but have never got around to it? This really is the best time of the year to try out new things. Surprising a group of friends or family with luxurious La Vita Spa treatments would surely go down a treat, wouldn’t it?!

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Other great events for you, your family and your friends to go to include: Summer cricket series, the ballet, stand-up comedy evenings or live concerts in some of South Africa’s most picturesque parks (a perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening snacking on a good old cheeseboard)! There really is something on offer for everyone at this crazy time of year, so get yourself to the front of the queue, by making a couple of reservations now. You might just become everyone’s hero for getting tickets to that soon to be sold-out event.

If A LOT of relaxing is what’s in store for you, why not plan some fun things to do at home?  These could include:

  • Getting hold of sentimental recipes – even if they are for someone else to follow.
  • Bringing out your favourite video footage of that highly entertaining thing that you did decades ago!
  • Hosting braais or fun family dinners with your favourite music playing in the background are also great things to organise before the holidays start.
  • Gift-wrapping presents, decorating your house or a tree to a festive theme, getting busy with arts and crafts, building a slip-and-slide for the kiddies or buying that perfect DVD to watch when all of your family and friends are over.
  • And if that all sounds like too much work, maybe buy a hammock, some beanbags or a relaxing soundtrack which will all help you to hibernate your way through the holidays!

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Whatever it is that would make your holidays more magical, why not get up and make sure that your dreams are fulfilled. After all, it will only take one phone call to book that trip of a lifetime to one of our brilliantly located resorts 😉

Travelling over the festive season:

If travelling during the festive season is what is on the cards for you, then you have come to the right place. Not only will we help you find the perfect holiday for you and your family, we will also give you some tips on how to keep things festive during your stay with us! The staff at all of our destinations will be getting into the festive mood, aiming to make your stay merry and special – but there are ways of doing this yourself as well.

Make your family a delicious, festive meal:
The holiday period is all about spending time with family, enjoying a few laughs together and, of course, eating some good food. Don’t let this tradition stop because you are away from home. We have a lot of self-catering units at our properties that give you the freedom to have a blissful time – so you will be able to make that traditional lunch you enjoy having with your family every year. But also, if you are wanting to take a break from the kitchen, our properties have scrumptious restaurants which would be delighted to serve you a holiday meal! Alternatively, our Reception staff will be more than happy to recommend excellent local and nearby restaurants that you are sure to love – but be sure to book in advance, as you don’t want to miss out on an amazing dining experience.

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Decorations:
Decorations really make holiday time special. No matter what you believe in, which religion you follow or what your traditions are – sparkling lights and candles are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face! There is something so special and festive about walking into a room that is decorated, even in the slightest manner.  So don’t forget to pack a few festive decorations before your journey, to ensure that your suite, apartment, chalet, etc. will bring joy to you and your guests.

Join in the festivities:
The wonderful staff members at our properties always get really involved and excited about the festive season and they plan a lot of activities to get you into the festive spirit. Join in the fun! Take part in that karaoke night or make sure to mingle at the properties’ events. You are guaranteed to meet a variety of wonderful people and have a great time.

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Check out the local tourist attractions:
Most of our properties are ideally located to explore the area around you, being in close proximity to towns and areas you wouldn’t usually explore on your own – and most of these places have amazing festive events planned. Make sure that you do a bit of research about the community you are visiting before your trip – there may be a Carols by Candlelight event which you may really enjoy or a festive market with local cuisine and perfect gifts for your loved ones. You never know!

We hope you have an amazing festive season this year, whether you are at home or travelling to one of our holiday destinations. Please stay safe, spread the love and happiness, and most of all – have a great time!

Don’t forget to share your holiday images with us on social media using #FirstGroup…we would love to see them!

P.S.: Happy New Year too!

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Year-End Checklist

We’re all looking forward to the end of the year for one reason or another! From spending cherished moments with family and friends, to getting up to your own devices, the holidays are always interesting and entertaining!

In the lead-up to the crazy season here are some ideas, to get you ahead with all of your planning, which will make your holidays that much more memorable (for the right reasons)!

Detox:
Love or hate it, why not get your health up before indulging on delicious homemade food and rich holiday meals. Enjoying a piece of fruit to start your day, drinking lots of water and even just doing some moderate exercise (when you can fit it in!) are all great ways to boost and revitalise your health.

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Goals:
With the year coming to an end, we’re all running out of time to tick off those goals that we (ambitiously) created for ourselves at the beginning of the year. Maybe you wanted to spend more weekends on the beach, buy certain furniture or organise your filing – well now is the time! Just remember that an amazing holiday awaits you at the end of it all.

Checklist:
We all know that holidays don’t just happen and that tonnes of planning is required for a smooth experience. With time in hand, get ahead on your planning by creating a to-do list and enjoy getting things organised one step at a time. This way you will avoid panic and unpleasant experiences over the holidays from things that could otherwise have gone wrong.

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Organise care for your children:
If you aren’t planning to travel with your children, now is the time to see which family or friends would love to host them while you are away. Kiddies often love the different routine that comes with staying at someone else’s house and even having different sandwiches packed into their lunchbox for school. If you are travelling with kiddies, arranging a nanny now to allow you to have a later than usual dinner or a day spent doing extreme activities like skydiving, without worrying about your children’s safety and happiness, is a must.

Book animals into homes or kennels:
On the same theme of getting organised, and truly being an early bird at this time of year, you have the option of booking your pets into other people’s homes – if you are not a fan of leaving your fur-babies in a kennel! This service is growing in popularity but most pet-homes have a very small capacity so book now for your pets to be pampered while you are away.

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Set up out of office mailers:
Small things like setting autoresponders and changing your voice message can help you to avoid losing any business while saving you hassles on your travels.

Inform your neighbours that you are going away:
If you don’t trust your security company enough to keep an eye on your home while you are away, tell your neighbours just so they can keep an eye on things for you. Really great neighbours might even water your pot plants if you ask nicely.

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Service your car, check your tyres or do wheel alignment before long drives:
This is a big one! Before a long road-trip, ensure that your car is safe and road-worthy. Getting this out of the way also gives you one less thing to do in the new year.

Spring clean:
For those with a spring in their step (please excuse the pun), there is no better way to head into the silly season than with a house or car or even garden which has been well-maintained – leaving you much less to do once life gets back to normal in the new year.

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Making special requests and early bookings:
Little details can make for great memories. Whatever your next trip requires to be that much more enjoyable, why not make arrangements in advance so that a real treat is waiting for you? This tip is great for special birthdays and anniversaries (who doesn’t love rose petals around your bed or bath 😉 but thoughtful requests can make any holiday more memorable. Some top restaurants are already fully booked until 2018 so don’t delay! Great ideas include booking spa treatments at a La Vita Spa, buying tickets to a live music or sporting event or even arranging a microlight flight around the beautiful destination that you have chosen to visit.

Get visas out of the way, consider taking out travel insurance and double check that your passport is still valid:
There is nothing worse than that sinking feeling from being told that your visa won’t be ready in time for your holiday. Even worse than that – being turned away, with luggage in hand, at an airport because your passport has just expired. Rather get these out of the way long in advance to have hassle-free travels.

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We hope these tips will help you prepare for your end-of-year holidays. We aim to make your holiday experiences perfect, so take our advice before it’s too late.

Please travel safely and remember to share your holiday pictures with us on social media so that we get to experience your holidays too! We always love seeing our happy members on holiday!

Holiday Fears

Travelling is something that some people crave and some people fear. We completely understand that there are risks which come along with travelling, but which exciting part of your life doesn’t come with risks? Did you know that the fear or travelling is called ‘Hodophobia’ and it is completely personalized by the people that have it – depending on what they are afraid of?

We do our best to make your visits to our hotels and resorts as safe and memorable as possible but even so, some of the bravest travellers still have holiday fears. We have done some research on the fears that people have when it comes to travelling and it was amusing to see that getting sunburned is one of the most common holiday fears! So here we go, a journey into tackling three of the biggest holiday fears that many people have:

  1. Sunburn

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We have a variety of stunning beach properties, so make use of a large hat and sunscreen (apply this as often as possible, especially if you are in and out of a pool or ocean). As South Africa has one of the most sought-after climates in the world, you may need to pack these essentials wherever you go, whether it’s at the beach, berg or bush – as you never know what adventure might pop up next, which could keep you outdoors for longer than you had initially expected.

But what if you still get sunburned? Well, the first thing to do is avoid any further exposure to the sun. After that, do your best to apply an after-sun lotion, which has soothing properties and also contains vitamins and minerals which will help your skin to cope with and recover from the sunburn. Do your best to stay hydrated too. Should you experience severe sunburn, please do take it seriously and contact a doctor via Reception, rather than making hundreds of amusing posts about your eye-watering sunburn photos on social media.

  1. Sharks

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Well…this is a fear I think we all have. Who wants to get bitten by Jaws’ fourth cousin once removed? No one!
If you’re staying at one of our berg or bush properties, this shouldn’t be a problem. As we do have a wide range of resorts and hotels on the coast, however, please take note of the following…

Sharks feed more aggressively, on larger mammals and fish, in cold water (as they have a greater need for energy); sorry Capetonians! Be aware of any flags on the beach which could indicate any recent, nearby shark sightings. Also, only swim in demarcated swimming areas, not just for safety in numbers, but also to have well-trained lifeguards on the lookout for an ominous dorsal fin! Avoid swimming in dirty water too, as a shark may confuse you with something else if the visibility is low (sharks don’t actually enjoy eating humans, despite what the often-dramatic mass media may say) and lastly, if you get a cut, please exit the water immediately. Sharks can smell blood in the water at one part in a million!

  1. Bad Weather

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If you’re planning an international holiday and are looking for a sunny location, consider visiting the eternally summery Cumbria to stay at our luxurious Brockwood Hall or go for a blissful cruise with Flexi Club on the Thames River, to cruise (come rain or shine)!

Should a beautiful and weather-friendly holiday in South Africa be what you are looking for, you will be spoilt for choice! South African was made for vacationing! The Drakensberg is ideal for escaping from the summer heat and if crisp, fresh mountain air and cosy times spent around a fireplace, sipping red wine, are your thing, then winter is also an excellent time of year to go. The same goes for the rest of our inland destinations, most of which have a river, dam or pool onsite.

We all also know that Durban doesn’t have a winter. Well, that’s what everyone, except for Durbanites (some of whom wear beanies and gloves whenever it goes below the magical 20-degree threshold), has to say. So have no fear and enjoy a beach trip at any time of year. An added bonus of going out of season is less traffic, better specials on offer at local restaurants – and your colleagues will be extra jealous of you when you return to work, with a tan!

As for the Western Cape. Well, is there any better destination in South Africa, at any time of year?! Even in bucketing winter rain (once it hopefully returns) the service and wine at the Cape’s top wine estates remains just as impressive. So too, the sushi at the V&A Waterfront or the experience of shopping at one of Cape Town’s trendy malls.

Hopefully, this blog/guide will help you if you’re feeling a bit fearful about your next holiday. Please let us know some of your travel fears in the comments below…we would love to hear them!

We wish you safe travels and our properties look forward to welcoming you…

Cooks need a break too!

Cooking can be such a hassle, especially after a long day at the office. Most of us work all day, get home and either have the husband, boyfriend, kids or maybe even the wife bugging us to start cooking already. Can we not have a minute to relax?

Yes, we may be superwomen or supermen, but we need a break too. While staying at most of our resorts, this is something that doesn’t have to cross your mind, as we have chefs that are more than happy to take the burden off your hands and prepare a delicious meal for your family.

Take a look at some of our stunning resorts that feature restaurants that will tantalise your taste buds and give you a break:

The Palace – Pesto:
If you’re looking for a quick bite or a creamy cappuccino with a view, then this is the place for you. Pesto has some delicious treats with a Mediterranean feel that will satisfy you no matter the time of day. Take a look at their full menu here.

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Gethlane Lodge – Izinyoni Restaurant:
This restaurant has a social vibe that can put anyone at ease – which is perfect when on holiday. Whether you are looking for a delicious breakfast, a scrumptious tramezzini, a fresh salad or a delectable pizza – Izinyoni has it all! Find out more here.

Selborne – The Lord Selborne; The Terrace; Barkers Bar:
Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa has several different options for you to choose from. Whether you are in the mood for fine dining, a casual meal or a relaxing cocktail at the end of a fun-filled day – there is something for everyone! Take a look at your dining choices here.

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Hole in the Wall – The Bell Buoy:
If comfort and scrumptious food is what you are after, then The Bell Buoy is perfectly suited for you. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant prides itself on home-style, excellent value for money meals – offering bites to suit all tastes and all ages. View the full menu here.

Bushman’s Nek – The Bushpot:
The Bushpot has a wide variety of delectable treats on offer, so try one of their great weekly specials or the Sunday buffet, or just pop in for a quick bite. The Bushpot offers fiery curries, melt-in-your-mouth oxtail, hearty pies, filling breakfasts, tramezzinis, wraps and pizza, with a grand finale of decadent gateaux and waffles. Take a look at the full menu here.

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Qwantani – The Marshall Eagle Restaurant:
Looking for home-style cooking with a relaxed atmosphere? Look no further. At The Marshall Eagle Restaurant, you will be spoiled for choice, with a variety of culinary treats that will delight your taste buds. Find out more here.

La Montagne – Crayfish Inn and The Palm Terrace Café:
Seafood, seafood, seafood! Who doesn’t love a delicious serving of prawns? We sure do! Just like Selborne, La Montagne has restaurants to suit different needs, ages and tastes. The Crayfish Inn has a luxurious feel with delicious offerings such as Kingklip, Fillet and Prawns. If you are looking for something simpler than The Palm Terrace Café is suited to you! With a more relaxed atmosphere, this restaurant is perfect for a quick bite (and for those who are allergic to shellfish). Click here for more information.

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Midlands Saddle and Trout – 29° South:
This restaurant is fairly new to Midlands Saddle and Trout. It was built because the GM and staff felt as though the resort was missing something – and they never looked back. Everyone is raving about how delicious the food is and we completely agree. A range of tasty treats is available, their toasted sandwiches are legendary, and if you’re feeling daring, try out the Giant Burger. Find out more here.

The Oceanic – La Vita:
Not to be confused with our awesome La Vita Spa chain. This restaurant may have you leaving relaxed and happy but don’t expect to get a massage there. 😉 La Vita has a charming and informal setting with a splash of Italian flair. Best known for its pizzas, La Vita has a range of popular dishes that can be enjoyed by everyone. Take a look at the full menu here.

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La Côte d’Azur – French Vanilla Coffee Shop:
Relax and enjoy a delicious meal at French Vanilla Coffee Shop. This restaurant aims to entice your taste buds and have you leaving with a smile on your face. The food is not only delicious, but also excellent value for money. Find out more here.

Magalies Park – Pica Pau Restaurant:
Pica Pau Restaurant dishes up delicious bites with a continental touch, served either on the deck or in the relaxed interior setting. Whether it is Italian Pasta, Portuguese chicken, a quick pizza or rich lamb shank you crave, Pica Pau has something to appeal to your tastes. P.S.: Lasagne Picada is their speciality. Find out more here.

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We hope this has inspired you to get out, do something different and leave the kitchen – you deserve a break too! Treat your family to a weekend away where you won’t see a spatula or frying pan anywhere in sight. The family may think you are doing something nice for them, but it’s really for you. 😉

Road Trip Essentials

Items you must pack when taking a long car trip

Travelling is an experience that everyone craves. It’s a way to escape your daily routine, take some time for yourself and relax. This is all well and good, but we usually forget to consider the essentials that need to be packed if a long car trip is on the horizon. Mistakes happen, people get injured, cars break down, and kids – well they’re a whole planning process on their own; when it comes to travelling, everyone should plan ahead. There is nothing worse than getting injured or breaking down, being in the middle of nowhere, and not having anything or anyone to help you. Don’t worry, we have your back! Take a look at the list we have compiled to ensure that you have a safe journey!

The essentials:

These are items that every car should have, especially if you have planned a long road trip. We love the quote: ‘I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best’ by Benjamin Disraeli. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to travelling. Rather be safe than sorry! Make sure you have the following in your vehicle:

  • Safety pins
  • A roller bandage
  • Cotton buds
  • Gloves
  • Gauze
  • CPR mouthpiece
  • Plasters
  • Antiseptic
  • First aid dressing
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Rescue blanket
  • A box of matches

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Your vehicle and its roadside emergency kit:

In South Africa, the roads are not always in the best condition. We have to deal with potholes, cattle, wild animals and even pedestrians. The truth is that vehicle breakdowns happen on a daily basis and they don’t always happen in a sunny, warm spot with flawless cell phone reception and a tow truck close by. A roadside emergency kit can ease the pain and reduce the hassle of such breakdowns. Here are a few items we think you need to have on your trip, to ensure you are safe and out of harm’s way:

  • A fully charged cell-phone, or a portable charger
  • A fire extinguisher
  • Reflective warning triangles
  • A spare tyre
  • A jack
  • Foam tyre sealant
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Duct tape
  • A tow rope
  • A multipurpose utility tool
  • Extra drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • A rain poncho

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Travelling with kids:

All parents know that travelling with kids is no easy feat, and this is a circumstance that HAS to be prepared for! Can you imagine leaving your kids favourite teddy behind? Or not having a wet-wipe when someone has been sick or messy? These are just a few of the things to keep in mind. We love being a part of your holidays and we understand the importance of having family trips, so here is a list you can use when packing for your next family adventure:

  • Wet wipes (WE REPEAT, WET WIPES!)
  • Extra diapers, or clothes easily accessible. Don’t be the family on the side of the road unpacking everything to get to a new outfit for the little one because there was a spill or any one of the other things that kids manage to do on a daily basis.
  • Plastic bags
  • Tissues
  • Games or toys to keep the little ones occupied
  • Toilet paper (this may not only be for the kids 😉)
  • Snacks
  • Juice boxes
  • Motion sickness medication
  • A blanket
  • The favourite toy or teddy

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We love having you visit our properties, but we also want you to be safe. Make sure you have planned ahead for anything that may happen and ensure that you are not stuck on the side of the road, injured without an emergency kit, or – and this is the worst – have a sticky crying kid in the back seat! 😉 Please be safe, travel wisely and have a great trip!

Travel technology: the best of gadgets and apps for your holiday

There’s no doubt about it, we live in a tech world. For most of us, going on holiday is a great time to unwind and escape a little from the crazy pace of life that is fuelled by technology. However, technology has its place on holiday if used wisely – take a look at these gadgets and apps that can make your vacation easier, safer and a little more fun:

Safer driving with the Hudway app

Going on a road trip, and expecting poor visibility? Hudway is a free travel app that takes ordinary GPS to the next level by turning your windshield into a wide screen projection of the road ahead. The app is fantastic to use when driving at night, or during heavy rain or foggy conditions, supplying you with a visual of curves in the road, accurate distances and voice over alerts for dangerous turns and intersections. Hudway works using either Apple Maps or Google maps and is easy to use: simply load the app, input your destination and place your smartphone on your dashboard.

Hudway is available for both Apple and Android devices – download for free from the App Store and Google Play.

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Turn your holiday snaps into postcards

Instant messaging is great and all for keeping in touch, but there’s something special about snail mail postcards that everyone loves. Postagram is a super fun holiday app that turns your favourite photos into personalised postcards for your friends and family back home. Featuring lots of pre-made layouts, Postagram allows you to use your photos from Facebook, Instagram and your camera roll to create unique postcards, which are then actually printed and posted to your loved ones anywhere in the world via the app.

Postagram is available for both Apple and Android devices – download for free from the App Store and Google Play.

Get a GoPro for adventure holidays

If you love to capture every single moment, then consider the GoPro camera as a must-have holiday investment. The GoPro is the king of adventure holiday gadgets when it comes to making vacation memories on video. It’s effortless to use, and its rugged design and attachments such as body straps and waterproof cases mean that it can safely be used in any environment – from water sports to playing on the beach to mountain climbing.

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Take better pictures with a selfie stick

You may feel ridiculous using it, but the fact is, a selfie stick is a great gadget to take on holiday. You’re guaranteed that you will end up with photos that you like, and that are well framed to actually include the background. Plus you avoid the awkwardness of asking strangers to take your picture and being unhappy with the results.

Don’t get caught with low battery charge

If the thought of going without your phone for a day makes you want to break out into a cold sweat,  then be sure to include a couple of portable chargers that can be used to charge devices even when there is no electricity. If you’re travelling by road, taking a car charger along for the ride is also a good idea. Finally, if you’re going overseas, make sure that you have the correct converter plugs for your chargers (as well as other electrical devices).

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To find out about fantastic International and South African holiday deals, contact Off Beat Holiday Club for more information today.

Road trip snacks for a happy, healthy drive

Flying may be quick and easy, but for many families, nothing says ‘holiday’ quite like a good old-fashioned road trip. If you’re travelling for a few hours to your destination, chances are at some point, someone is going to get hungry. Plus, kids and grown-ups alike tend to snack when bored, making padkos a must.

You can fill up on sugary junk food and unhealthy take-out (and face the consequences of hyper children and stressed parents) or you can take note of our healthy road trip snack ideas for happy travelling. The best road trip food doesn’t involve cooking or even a lot of time spent in the kitchen. It’s all about providing a variety of easy eats that satisfy hunger and minimise boredom.

Packing your snacks

  • Buy some inexpensive, stackable plastic containers with lids. You’ll save space by removing snacks from their packaging and you can easily stack and store the boxes when they’re empty.
  • Make sure you pack a couple of plastic grocery bags to use for rubbish such as juice cartons and fruit peels.
  • Don’t forget roller towel, wet wipes and hand sanitizer for sticky fingers and accidental spills.

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Fruit and veggies

Ditch the chip packet and opt for fruit and veggie snacks that offer the same kind of ‘hand to mouth’ satisfaction without the high salt and preservative content. Choose fruit that is not messy to eat and keeps well in a humid car such as seedless grapes, naartjie’s, raisins and dried fruit. Veggies such as snap peas, celery and carrot sticks also make great snacks, especially combined with home-made guacamole (mashed avocado).

Seeds and nuts

Also great for boredom snackers who like to eat by the handful, nuts are crunchy and delicious, and a super source of protein. Mix different kinds of nuts in a bag – peanuts, almonds, cashews, macadamias – with some sunflower seeds. Add raisins for a little healthy sweetness.

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Biltong and dry wors

If you’re going on a South African holiday, you need the ultimate South African snack. High in protein, easy to eat and so yummy… biltong is ideal for road trips. Pack a variety of sliced biltong, large chunks and wors to suit everyone’s tastes. A stick of biltong is also a wonderful way to keep a teething baby happy and occupied during a long drive.

Yoghurt

A lunch box favourite, yoghurt is also an awesome, healthy snack for a road trip. Buy drinking yoghurt rather than tubs, so that you don’t have to worry about spoons.

Fruit juice and water

A long, hot day cooped up in a car is thirsty work. Try not to be tempted by fizzy drinks. Apart from the sugar overload, carbonated drinks can make everyone feel uncomfortable and bloated. Instead, pack lots of bottled water and fruit juice in individual cartons if the kids want something sweet.

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Muffins

If you’re planning to leave home very early in the morning, bake some muffins the night before so you can have breakfast on the go. Opt for home-made rather than buying from the grocery store, as these can be quite heavy on the stomach.

To find out more about our amazing South African holiday deals contact Off Beat Holiday Club for more information today.

5 Things to leave at home when packing for a holiday

Your holiday is booked and you’re eagerly anticipating a bit of well deserved down time. Whether your vacation involves soaking up the sun on the beach, hiking in the brisk mountain air, or exploring fascinating foreign cities on foot, you need to think carefully about what to take with you.

When packing for a holiday many people end up putting in way too much stuff “just in case” they need it. Shrewd vacation packing involves cutting out a lot of the clutter, leaving you with the essentials that you need to really enjoy your holiday without the hassle of heavy bags (and the airport penalties that go with them).

So, without further ado, here are 5 things not to take on holiday:

Too many shoes

Shoes are heavy and bulky, making for a vacation packing nightmare. Honestly, do you really need to take a pair of shoes for every day of the week? Our advice is to take only 2 or 3 pairs on holiday. Wear the heaviest or bulkiest while travelling and pack the rest.

Speaking of shoes, make sure that the pairs you choose are comfortable and worn in, especially if your holiday plans involve a lot of walking and sight seeing. If you’ve booked a beach holiday, 2 pairs of sandals should suffice.

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Heirlooms and valuables

You may wear great grandma’s ruby ring every day of your life, but you’d be devastated if it went missing while you were on holiday. While holiday insurance will pay out for the financial value of items that are lost or stolen on vacation, heirlooms with sentimental value are irreplaceable. So leave them at home.

You should also limit the number of electronic devices that you take with you. Your smartphone and an e-reader for the plane are more than enough. You really don’t need your laptop or iPad on holiday.

Non-essential toiletries

Airports have some serious restrictions on the amount of liquid that you can carry in your luggage, so consider reducing your toiletries. Your holiday packing essentials should only include toiletries that you really, really can’t live without and that you don’t think you will be able to purchase at your destination. Unless you’re travelling to an extremely far flung part of the world, chances are you’ll be able to buy shampoo and conditioner from the hotel shop when you arrive.

Decant liquid toiletries into special 100ml travel bottles. Store all your toiletries and make up in sealed ziplock bags to avoid leaking if the bottles are damaged by cabin pressure changes.

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Books, books and more books

Gone are the days when holiday reading meant a separate bag devoted to a pile of heavy paperbacks. If you don’t have an e-reader, consider investing in one. That way, you have something to read on the plane or while lounging on the beach that is lightweight and gives you access to so many more book choices than you could ever pack in your suitcase.

All of your keys

Even if you are super careful, the fact is that things can and do go missing on vacation. If your bag was stolen, and it contained the keys to every door of your home, your car keys, your office keys, your safe keys etc… it would be a complete disaster. The only keys that you need are those that are essential to getting you home once your vacation is over. If you’re travelling by car, you just need your car keys and your front door key. If you’re travelling by plane, take a shuttle to the airport and just pack your house key. Leave all other keys with a trusted friend for the duration of your holiday.

To find out more about our fantastic local and international holiday deals contact Offbeat Holiday Club for more information today.

Make travel matter for your kids

Take a look on Facebook and you’ll see countless posts by parents complaining that they need another holiday after a holiday with their kids. While traveling with children – especially young children – is no walk in the park, there’s no doubt that travel can be an incredibly enriching experience for the whole family if you get it right.
Explore the country and the world

Traveling with children allows you to expose your kids to a whole lot of diversity. A country like ours is rich in natural and historical heritage and a South African holiday that introduces children to this is beyond compare. An international holiday can broaden your children’s horizons even further – and with the world becoming ‘smaller’ and overseas holidays becoming more affordable, it’s definitely possible.

Say goodbye to the iPad

While no one is refuting the enormous benefit of technology at our fingertips, a well planned child friendly holiday is the perfect opportunity to take a break from technology – and make your kids do the same. Experiencing reality without the filter of smartphones and tablets is a good idea for everyone – adults and kids alike.

Bring your family closer together

With parents working and living in a frantically busy world, the family unit can suffer. Not irreparably, and often not even noticeably. However, a family holiday where parents choose to involve and spend time with their kids (without a cell phone constantly in one hand) is something that truly makes children feel valued and can bring the family closer together.

How not to go insane when traveling with children
Children are notorious for becoming bored easily, so keep this in mind even at the beginning stages of planning your holiday. You may want to enrich their minds by traveling to places of geographical and historical interest (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but a true child friendly holiday will include a balance of learning and fun.

Choose child friendly destinations

Choosing child friendly resorts and destinations that have lots of activities for children of all ages is a way to ensure that the kids are able to really enjoy themselves and meet loads of other children – plus it keeps them out of your hair for a bit so that you too can enjoy a proper break.

Involve children in the planning

Before you make an autocratic decision about your holiday destination, speak to your kids. It will make them feel included, and you will also get a good idea of what kind of holiday they might enjoy, that can be turned into an enriching experience. (For example, a trip to the moon may be out, but a destination that has a well known planetarium could be a fantastic substitute.)

Plan for a long trip

If your holiday involves a lot of travel – long flights, long car trips etc – then plan ahead. Traveling with children can be a nightmare if they become bored due to inactivity. Take along plenty of activities that can be enjoyed quietly in the car or on the plane. If you’re traveling by car, stop often to let the kids run around a bit and stretch your legs. And remember – no matter how fractious the kids get, a family holiday is always, always worth it!

Do you need a holiday? For fantastic family friendly deals traveling both locally and abroad contact Off Beat Holiday Club and book your next holiday today!

5 Ways to Impress Your Significant Other When on Vacation

The time has finally come for that long awaited vacation with your significant other and we know that planning the perfect break can be a nerve-wracking experience for any couple. With the right preparation and know how, it can be a breeze and a wonderful opportunity to impress your significant other and score some brownie-points?

To help you, Off Beat Holiday Club has put together 5 ways for you to achieve this while still enjoying a well-deserved vacation:

1.

DON’T: Leave planning until the last minute
As the age-old saying goes, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”, so don’t let this be the downfall of your vacation.
DO: Why not plan ahead and call the resort to book a romantic rendezvous, with a picnic next to the river at Bushman’s Nek, or a sunset game drive when staying at Waterberry Hill?

BushmansNek river picnic

2.

DON’T: Do nothing
DO:  Include some adventure with activities like; a horse ride in the Drakensberg, fly fishing at Midlands Saddle and Trout, or a boat trip against the setting sun at Qwantani or Knysna River Club.

Drakensberg horse ride

3.

DON’T: Forget to relax
DO: Book a spa treatment.  This is one of the best ways to unwind, so make sure to call in advance and book a pamper session for you and your partner.

Couples spa treatment

4.

DON’T: Forget the most important meal of the day
Waking up to a delicious breakfast whilst on holiday can set the tone for the entire day so planning for a special breakfast is a must!
DO: Something different and instead of cooking for yourself, order-in or treat yourselves to a relaxed, leisurely breakfast at the restaurant on site or at an eatery in the area.

Romantic breakfast

5.

DON’T: Forget the camera, the selfie stick, the GoPro
DO: Capture all those amazing memories and make them last forever!

Couples selfie