Can You Still Afford to Go on Holiday?

With the VAT increase this year and the ongoing petrol price hikes the question then arises, “Are holidays still within our reach, especially for larger families?” But at the same time, there’s also a hidden high cost to not taking a vacation. Stress wears us down with consequences that can lead to expensive health conditions further down the road.

The Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa (VOASA) says that quality vacations do not need to slip away because of the current tight economy and your credit card does not to break out into a cold sweat either.

According to VOASA spokesman, Alex Bosch, timeshare or shared vacation ownership offers a wide variety of holiday options that range from 5-star luxury accommodation through to catering for budget conscious consumers who have had to tighten their belts.

“Shared vacation owners place value on the cost savings of future vacations when purchasing timeshare. When you think about it, the rise in inflation in the 1970’s propelled the growth of timeshare as a more affordable way to enjoy quality vacations. 50 years on, shared vacation ownership still makes perfect sense,” says Bosch.

Peter Snyman from Flexi Club adds: “For less than the price of a 60-litre tank of fuel per month, shared vacation ownership has the potential to offer you as many as 5 holidays per year”.

He explains: “With a deposit of R2 100 and a monthly payment of R736 all-inclusive you are guaranteed at least one full week holiday per year at a choice of thirty-four 3-star and 4-star Flexi Club holiday properties countrywide – many of which have health spas, horse-riding and a multitude of onsite recreational facilities. Furthermore, by splitting your weeks into weekends and/or midweeks and by making use of special offers and bonus weeks you could also increase this up to 5 retreats during the year”.

By comparison, if a 3-star hotel room costs on average R1200 per night, a family of four could spend around R14 400 (the cost of 2 hotel rooms) for one week without access to a kitchen or the wide variety of resort onsite amenities that, depending on the resort size, could include a games room, tennis court, trampoline, jungle gym, walking / hiking trail, mountain biking, at least one swimming pool and a heated pool, jacuzzi, sauna, gym, health spa, water sports and sometimes a golf course.

“Timeshare offers a home-away-from-home holiday accommodation with full kitchen facilities, which mean even more savings with the cook and eat in option.  For a family of 4, fixing just one meal a day in your vacation can save you around R3 000 over the course of a week’s getaway. And as a bonus, you’ll get much more space for your money than you would in a standard hotel room at the same price point. Shared vacation owners are also not subjected to premium season accommodation rates, which means they are saving up to 50% on their accommodation,” elaborates Bosch.

Dale Galloway, Marketing Manager for Leisure Portfolio Club, believes that it is important to help consumers not only get the holiday that they can afford, but that they also get a guaranteed holiday annually with further exchange options.

“For example, you could secure 15 years’ worth of annual 5-night getaways outside of school holiday periods accommodating up to 2 adults and 2 children under 12 at Crystal Springs Mountain Lodge – a 4-star resort (Tourism Grading Council of South Africa accredited) – for as little as around R4 911 per year. This would work out at R245 per person per day and if you consider what a resort costs per night, then this is extremely reasonable and will give more South Africans an opportunity to get away in the face of rising costs,” she says.

Over 15 years this adds up to around R73 665 invested in family vacations. Over the same period, you would have paid around R112 050 in accommodation bookings at the same resort, without taking inflation into account.

Galloway adds: “When it comes to focusing on meeting needs in a tough economy and where consumers can evaluate the value of purchases before spending their hard-earned Rands, it is vital to provide options that ensure peace-of-mind with the financial commitment made and then to exceed that expectation by providing additional benefits and value-adds to ensure exceptional value for money. This would include access to a wide variety of additional exchange options should they choose to holiday at an alternate to their ‘home’ resort in any given year, further rental holidays at affordable ‘per booking’ rates as well as international exchange options”.

The value of timeshare vacations means having a world of options at your fingertips, so for those looking at giving timeshare a try there’s also the rental option. The Holiday Club has recently launched a vacation product that allows you to experience everything that timeshare has to offer without purchasing timeshare or points outright.   If, at the end of that period, you are happy with the product, you then have the option to purchase.

“You choose how many points you want, and these are rented monthly. This rental amount is locked so there are no price increases. The great thing is that you can go on holiday after only two months’ rentals, which means no long waiting periods,” says Fiona Broom, Beekman Group Marketing Executive.

So while consumers are having to budget very carefully, the importance of saving money for valuable bonding experiences, like family vacations shouldn’t be overlooked.

“The inherent value of timeshare products comes in using them to take regular vacations with accommodations that provide more space than most other travel options. This is why shared vacation owners have an extremely engaged relationship with their timeshare and the timeshare lifestyle that is driven by the quality of resorts and accommodations, prime locations, cost savings on future vacation costs and making a vacation a certainty rather than a possibility,” concludes Bosch.