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Believe it or not? Debunking 5 seasonal holiday myths

One thing becomes clear the more you travel — don't believe everything you hear! Whether old wives’ tales or over-cautious advice, we’ve heard some doozies over the years, especially when it comes to booking seasonal holidays to sun or snow escapes. 

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Are you really bound to catch a cold out on the slopes? And if you’ve seen one beach resort, have you really seen them all? We looked into the fact and fiction of these types of claims — here’s what we found:

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Myth #1: I’ll miss out if I travel during the off season 

There can be some serious #FOMO (fear of missing out) when you plan a trip during a destination’s off season but there needn’t be! 

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Many destinations have mild or good weather all-year-round, so barring monsoon or hurricane season (a Sure Travel agent can advise), you should be able to capitalise on lower prices, more flexible availability, and local travel companies that are more receptive to unique or custom requests.

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The off-season is great for spontaneity — cheaper flights, hotel upgrades, sightseeing without the queues, and last-minute tour or restaurant bookings you wouldn’t have been able to snag in the high season. 

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Sometimes, the vacation-of-a-lifetime is just a matter of changing your attitude. While destinations like Bali are a little wetter off season, it also means conditions are better for river rafting and waterfall chasing (and you’ll likely be back on the beach within an hour or two, since tropical rainstorms don’t last long). 

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You also might be lucky enough to overlap with several cultural festivals that happen off-season: the Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Readers and Writers Festival, or the Ubud Food Festival, for instance. 

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Connect to the soul of Indonesia through vivid experiences and enriching adventure at Club Med Bali in Nusa Dua, the perfect blend of modern comfort, culture and harmony. Save 15% when you book a 7-night holiday with Sure Travel and Club Med (all-inclusive packages start from R22,100 pps!*). 

Club Med Bali. Courtesy of Club Med.

Contact your nearest Sure Travel agency to enquire or book, or call 0861 47 48 49 for a quote.

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Myth #2: Seen one tropical destination, seen ‘em all 

There’s so much more to island destinations than palm trees, sand and sun (though we love each of these things in their own rite!). Don’t think just because you’ve spent some time on Zanzibar that all Indian Ocean getaways must be the same. 

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Tropical destinations make it their missions to differentiate themselves from their counterparts. For the most part, they succeed with flying colours. 

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The Maldives, for instance, was founded by former fishermen from Kerala and Sri Lanka, hence its melting pot of culture (a mix of indigenous groups and colonial settlers from Portugal, the UK and the Netherlands) and mouth-watering food. Besides its iconic floating cabanas, the warm waters of the seabed play host to a plethora of underwater marine life.

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Club Med Kani is an all-inclusive, family-friendly resort, with rates from just R31,470 pps for 7-night stays including round-trip airfare. Experience everything from perfectly arranged meals, an open bar, endless water and land sports, plus kids’ clubs for children ages 4 to 10.

Club Med Kani. Courtesy of Club Med.

While parents relax with a cocktail or go scuba diving, the kids can enjoy a bucket list family holiday too. Activities include flying trapeze, beach soccer and volley ball, a romantic overwater swing, kayaking, snorkelling, and surfing.

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Then there's a tropical paradise like Seychelles. Historically, it was known as a treasure island for pirates. Since then its multiculturalism has created a cosmopolitan feel to the islands, with rich architecture and traditions. 

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From birdlife to wildlife and marine life – the biodiversity here is some of the world’s best and has been protected for decades. To read more about the Seychelles, click here.

Seychelles. Courtesy of Club Med.

Opening to the public in October 2020, Club Med’s newest resort on the private Seychellois island of Sainte Anne is not to be missed. Packages start from R38,880 pps*. Contact your nearest Sure Travel agency to enquire or book, or call 0861 47 48 49.

Seychelles. Courtesy of Club Med.

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Myth #3: Peak season travel means everything will be fully booked

While it is often true that in-season travel means queues, higher rates and fully-booked excursions and hotels, it’s not always the case. 

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Studies show about 50% of holiday travellers choose to stay with family or friends whenever they can, reducing the strain on local hotels. It’s also true that business travel is typically non-existent during peak season, so many destinations try to fill rooms with exclusive package deals and additional perks.

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Peak season travel usually just means you need to book a little earlier and keep an eye out for specials (our expert Sure Travel agents are pros at this). And even when your hotel or resort is at full capacity, properties, staff and amenities are all designed to give you the best experience — despite the number of guests. 

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Some of our favourite peak season destinations include Europe’s ski resorts — Club Med Grand Massif Samoens in France and Club Med Cervinia in Italy. We love the busy buzz of the villages, making new friends at the cosy apres ski, and taking in snow-capped views while waiting for the chairlift or soaking in a hot tub. 

Club Med Cervinia. Courtesy of Club Med.

Seven-night all-inclusive packages for Club Med Grand Massif Samoens start at R39,370 pps*, while Italy’s Club Med Cervinia starts at R31,250 pps* (including ski and boot hire). Both resorts are entirely family friendly, with kids’ and teens’ clubs to keep the littles busy when you’re out on the slopes. Click here for your nearest agency to request a travel quote. 

Club Med Grand Massif Samoens. Courtesy of Club Med.

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Myth #4: Everyone in the family will love it! 

While the hope always is that everyone will be equally as excited about your travel itinerary, the reality is we’re all unique and want different things out of a holiday. 

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For some, it’s relaxation and nothing else. Others can’t sit still and need adventure 24/7. Learning about new cultures might be your thing; food someone else’s. Therefore, a little pre-trip democracy can go a long way when travelling with a partner or group. 

Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers. Courtesy of Club Med.

Get everyone’s list of top activities, sights and eats of choice — then plan to try a couple each day, centred around a stellar resort where you’ll all be spoilt for choice, like Club Med’s La Pointe aux Canonniers in Mauritius

Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers. Courtesy of Club Med.

Eight-day packages start from R24,330 pps* (save 15% when you book now with Sure Travel) for set departures. 

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Myth #5: Winter travel leads to winter blues — or a cold

Although the term “winter blues” is often loosely applied to all things winter, travellers are not likely to experience the medically-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) on a winter holiday, or a pesky cold or flu. 

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When it comes to SAD, because most people who experience this type of depression notice symptoms during late fall or early winter, due to prolonged exposure. They typically live far north or south of the equator and experience the same things year after year.

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In contrast, a short holiday to a winter destination can actually be exciting for us South Africans — the prospect of a new environment, planning with family or friends, and the anticipation of a trip releases mood-boosting endorphins, regardless of the weather. 

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The same goes for colds and flus. It’s not actually the weather that causes illness but viruses and bacteria that can multiply in warm, dry climates (like those indoors, where people tend to congregate when it's cold outside). In fact, the US' Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine published a study that said that cold weather may even stimulate the immune system and reduce the risk of falling ill. 

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That being said, if you do feel a little down on your trip make sure you’re getting regular sleep, eat well and drink water, and get enough physical activity each day to get your blood and happy hormones pumping (a ski resort like Club Med Val Thorens in France should do the trick!). All-inclusive 8-day packages start from R34,200 pps*. Click here for your nearest Sure Travel agency or call 0861 47 48 49 for a quote.

Club Med Val Thorens. Courtesy of Club Med.

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*Additional Terms + Conditions may apply. Prices are valid for set departure dates, and may be subject to currency fluctuations.

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