If you missed out on going on summer holiday with your family but have a chance to travel this fall, there are some first-rate choices – and you don’t have to journey halfway around the world. There are some great options in various European cities as well as some tour choices right here in the UK.
Some Places You Might Not Have Considered
Although summer is the peak travel season, some destinations are actually more pleasant in the autumn, when the mad rush of tourists has abated and/or the weather is slightly cooler without being miserably cold. That’s a good thing, for even though the new school year has just begun, many people are planning for the half-term holidays in late October. There are some intriguing options for folks who are looking for a place they can travel to as a family, at a time of year when long-haul travel may not be practical.
Nichola West, editor of the family travel website Globalmouse Travels, has some suggestions for family-friendly destinations that are a cut above the ordinary beach holiday. Among her family’s favourites are Dubrovnik, Croatia; Cadiz, Spain; Marrakech, Morocco; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Lisbon, Portugal.
Croatia might seem like an odd choice, particularly for those who have concerns about the ongoing migrant/refugee crisis, some of which has reached the Croatian-Serbian border. But at this time breezy and bright Dubrovnik is free of disturbance, and October is one of the best times to visit, as it is still warm enough to swim in the Adriatic. The old town is ideal for pedestrians and there are plenty of sightseeing and adventure options for Mum and Dad as well as for kids eight and up.
October is also a prime time to visit Iceland, particularly since it is the beginning of aurora season. As the weather is calmer in October than it is in mid-winter the sky is likely to be clearer, the better for viewing the Northern Lights should they make an appearance. The thermal pools of Iceland are a perennial tourist attraction, but by October tourism has thinned and the experience may be altogether more pleasant for those who dislike crowds.
If traveling abroad doesn’t suit your fancy (or your budget) there’s a lot to see – and celebrate – in the UK. For instance fans of famed mystery writer Agatha Christie can join in the nationwide celebration of the 125th anniversary of her birth (September 15, 1890). The entire country is participating: pubs, guesthouses and hotels with even the slightest links to the beloved author are putting on events and offering themed packages.
True aficionados who wish to follow in Christie’s footsteps have many options, as the author travelled extensively and wrote and set many novels in her favourite hotels. The area that has the greatest concentration of connections to Christie is Devon, in particularly Torquay, the place of her birth.
On the other hand, Christie also set many of her mysteries abroad, in places as diverse as the Middle East and the Caribbean. Many of her favourite Middle Eastern destinations are no longer safe to visit, but Iran is now back on the map – for the time being, anyway.
Careful Planning is Essential
People go on holidays for fun, but sometimes things can go wrong. A little advance planning can help prevent a holiday from becoming a nightmare, and although travelling as a family takes more planning than travelling solo, it is worth the effort.
As hinted at above, safety is always a primary consideration when traveling abroad. After all we live in a volatile world where there is always some disturbance going on somewhere. The gov.uk web site has an entire section devoted to foreign travel advice, so whenever you are planning a trip abroad be sure to check it for the latest advisories.
Equally as important to safety are money considerations. Not only do you need to work out a holiday budget, it’s also important that you figure out the actual cost of converting your holiday money so you can get the best deal. Don’t let your holiday cost you more than necessary.
Family holidays can bring a family closer together, and they are often a source of children’s most cherished memories. Make the most of your family holiday by being creative in your choice of destinations, and by planning ahead to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. But if you don’t get it right this time, no worries: there’s always another school holiday around the corner.