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.

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:

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!

Many destinations have mild or good weather all year round, so barring monsoon or hurricane season (a By Design Africa 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.

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.

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).

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.

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 right!). Don’t think just because you’ve spent some time on Zanzibar that all Indian Ocean getaways must be the same.

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

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.

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 volleyball, a romantic overwater swing, kayaking, snorkelling, and surfing.

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. From birdlife to wildlife and marine life – the biodiversity here is some of the world’s best and has been protected for decades.

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.

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.

Peak season travel usually just means you need to book a little earlier and keep an eye out for specials (our expert 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (Tiffindell Ski Resort in the Southern Drakensberg should do the trick!).

For more information on our latest specials or to book your next trip, please visit our website!



Blog article courtesy of Sure Travel.