Holidays From Hell

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

That crazy time of the year is upon us again. The shops are playing Christmas carols, the decorations are up and shopping seems to have become both a contact sport and the national pastime. There is however, a glimmer of light at the end of the festive tunnel; that long awaited holiday is just around the corner and those lucky enough to be able to afford to get away from it all are dreaming of sandy beaches, cocktails beside the pool and endless days of fun in the sun.

We all need a holiday and nothing puts a damper on things quite like discovering that the holiday accommodation – which looked absolutely beautiful in the brochure or on the web – doesn't quite live up to expectation or perhaps even worse, that your neighbours happen to be a rowdy, uncontrollable bunch.

The tradition for matrics to celebrate the end of their schooling with a ‘rage’ at a holiday destination has been gathering momentum over the past few years. While we were all young once, living next door to a raucous crowd of youngsters whose only interests are drinking, playing loud music and generally making a great deal of noise can be disastrous for those who have paid good money to get away from it all.

While there may be ways to control the situation if it occurs, prevention is always better than cure, so try to avoid visiting the traditional 'hot spots' shortly after the final exams have been written. It may not be carved in stone but generally speaking, youngsters tend to visit places where the action is and knowing and avoiding these areas during this time could help ensure that you and your family have a relaxing holiday.

Many holiday accommodation establishments have banned students outright, but this isn't a guarantee of peace and quiet as there have been instances where the odd group of post-matric students has managed to slip through the cracks.

So what do you do if you find yourself living next door to a group of people who push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour? Firstly, you should complain to management and if the situation gets completely out of control, to the police.

Every suburb has laws that govern noise. Unfortunately there is a common misconception that people are legally allowed to be as noisy as they like during certain hours of the day. In actual fact, municipalities have bylaws which govern the number of decibels being pumped out, and those who exceed this figure can be fined, regardless of the time of day.

The fines will vary from area to area but as an example, the fine for making a disturbing noise or allowing it to be caused in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality district attracts a fine of R1 000. Operating, playing or allowing to be operated a device producing, reproducing or amplifying sound so as to cause a noise nuisance attracts a similar fine.

Of course not all holiday towns are subjected to the annual onslaught of youngsters. And likewise, not all students are badly behaved. It is highly recommended that those who are visiting a place for the first time make an effort to do a little research before they book their annual break. When making a booking, it may be advisable to ask if the holiday resort or complex has a policy in place that prohibits groups of this nature booking in and if not, what steps they would take should the situation get out of hand.

We all deserve a break from our busy schedules – make sure that your holiday doesn't end on a sour note and do your homework before you make the booking.

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