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First holiday abroad...May half term.

(24 Posts)
mamaduckbone Fri 19-Feb-16 16:36:15

Dh and I are thinking of stepping out of our UK camping comfort zone and taking the DSs, 10 and 6, on their first holiday abroad this year.

We'd ideally like to go at May half term, in a self catering apartment but in a smallish resort with a pool and some activities, near a beach, not too busy with some 'sights' / local culture accessible. We don't really want to have to drive but don't want to be stranded in a resort. Our budget isn't enormous and I'm thinking southern Europe or maybe Canaries so that it is warm enough (it doesn't have to be boiling hot but swimming / beach weather).

I don't know where to start, having not been on a holiday like this since pre-kids. Does somewhere fitting our requirements even exist? Any recommendations that might at least start us off in the right direction?
TIA.

dreamingofsun Fri 19-Feb-16 18:07:43

if you like camping then you'd love a mobile in brittany. that is what persuaded us to do PT camping in the uk - sites there are much better than here and have loads to do. brittany is like cornwall with better weather, less people and tat and better food

mamaduckbone Fri 19-Feb-16 18:11:30

Thanks for the suggestion - I'll certainly take a look - but wouldn't we need to drive to make the most of it? Neither Dh or I are experienced at driving abroad and Dh suffers with anxiety so I think the stress of it would ruin the holiday. and I want a break from camping

SooticaTheWitchesCat Fri 19-Feb-16 20:01:17

Turkey is lovely in May, hot but not too hot but definitely beach weather.

Have a look at Bitez on the Bodrum Peninsula. You can easily get around by bus so you don't need to hire a car.

dreamingofsun Fri 19-Feb-16 20:12:50

yes you'd need to drive. its not really camping as such though - we had a dishwasher in our last mobile.

what about majorca (pollensa) or algarve (lagos, cabanas).

playa blanca in lanzarote?

we book an aparment from owners direct or holiday lettings

ruddynorah Fri 19-Feb-16 20:17:36

Union Lido in Italy. Go with Bolero.

mamaduckbone Fri 19-Feb-16 20:49:24

Ooh, thanks for the suggestions - off to look now.

revealall Sat 20-Feb-16 08:51:10

Does somewhere fitting our requirements even exist?

Pretty much everywhere in Southern Europe or the Canaries have somewhere like that you'll be pleased to know!
I'd fly. It's part of the fun if the kids haven't been abroad. I'd second Majorca avoiding the Magaluf type resorts. Palma is beautiful with lots to see, there are water parks that run a bus service and there are some lovely beaches. Cost wise there's cheap flights and cheap accomadation so you can avoid the package holiday.

mamaduckbone Sat 20-Feb-16 22:56:02

Thanks revealall I've found some great apartments on owners direct but all the flights I've looked at so far have been astronomical, even with budget airlines, so I'm thinking the location might be narrowed down by where we can afford to fly to.

Morkmindy Sun 21-Feb-16 23:06:49

From experience (for next year), you need to book by Autumn to get cheapish flight prices for May half term I.e under £150 return pp. Prices go up and down a little but it tends to be on the upward trajectory from Jan onwards. I booked our flights to Portugal last month for May half term (late for us) and paid double what we would have done had we booked last Oct. If I were you, I would consider driving and taking the ferry to say Duinrell/Landal resort/European C.P. Good Luck.

mummymeister Mon 22-Feb-16 15:24:33

Sorry OP but you have left it far too late to get cheap flights in May half term. they will be astronomical wherever you go. the longer you wait to book the more they will go up. this is the legacy of Goves rules about no holidays in term time. there is a bun fight for flights and accommodation especially for May half term week. Only 14 weeks away that's why you cant get the flights.

mamaduckbone Mon 22-Feb-16 18:11:14

This is why we don't do abroad - far too indecisive/ disorganised/ spontaneous grin.

I'm not giving in...we definitely don't want to drive so maybe a package deal is the best option...? Does anyone have any recommendations for companies that are reasonable and don't just deal with massive, cheesy resorts?!

mummymeister Mon 22-Feb-16 18:31:03

mamaduckbone - my reasonable budget for a week in peak season may half term is not going to be the same as yours - £4K?? what is your max all in for flights, hotel etc? this would help people to suggest places within your budget and you might get a few more responses.

ime you can only be spontaneous outside of school holidays. in school holidays the longer you leave it the more the price goes up. the best advice we ever got from our travel agent friends was "the last minute bargains are the holidays no one else wants and you have to ask why"

Mark Warner has some last minute hols starting at around £800 each. is that what you are looking for?

mamaduckbone Mon 22-Feb-16 19:08:27

No, 4K is more than our budget allows unfortunately, but I am now starting to think that we're being unreasonable...maybe we need to plan super advanced for next yearsad and hope for a good summer. The school holiday thing is just ridiculous, for flights especially, isn't it? £500 less EACH to travel midweek. angry

QueryQuery Mon 22-Feb-16 19:18:56

Would ferry work? Somewhere like duinrell in Holland is reachable by train from Rotterdam. Although it won't be very hot there is a massive indoor pool complex.

Alternatively, packages are probably cheaper than flights. I looked recently though and May seemed to be dearer than July and August for some destinations.

mummymeister Mon 22-Feb-16 23:23:03

Supply and demand unfortunately. if you want to go when everyone else has to then the prices are high. What is your budget then mama? it would help with suggestions. £2,000 is £71 per person per night which is probably more of an out of season price. what do you normally spend on a holiday?

Hersetta427 Tue 23-Feb-16 09:13:44

I would concur with majorca - maybe Cala Bona. The Protur Bonaire aparthotel is a great choice as it as lots of kids facilities but you cab also go B & B or HB. My other choice would be the aliathon Apartments in paphos cyprus which is part of the holiday village so again has great kids facilities and entertainment. Weather in cyprus would be better than Majorca and there are lots of shops around plus cultural things like the mosaics near the harbour.

Both are available through thomson.

mummymeister Tue 23-Feb-16 14:09:39

Just had a look at that Hersetta427. the Saturday to Saturday that the OP wants comes out at £927 pp half board. don't actually know what her budget is but she said less than £4K so assume this is over. shame. it looks very nice and thought it was reasonable for half board.

Hersetta427 Tue 23-Feb-16 14:38:13

Is the OP can make sunday to Sunday, the Aliathon apartments is £531pp flying from Stansted - not sure where she is based. Not a bad price. The trick with school holidays I have found is book as early as possible. We booked for August 2016 in April 2015.

Also booked at the same time to go away for 10 days over may half term (thanks to a couple of inset days). We paid £2800 for 10 nights all inclusive at a 5* hotel in hurgada (egypt) with is own 50 slide waterpark onsite. Kids are beyond excited.

Onykahonie Tue 23-Feb-16 16:38:34

I've just found several holidays in half term for around £2000 for 4 people, on Thomas Cook. Might not be in the most scenic areas, but work a look? Just search for your dates and select 'any destination'

Try searching for flights on the Sunday as well as the Saturday,or even on the Friday night if you're not far from an airport.

mamaduckbone Tue 23-Feb-16 18:58:01

Thanks for the ideas. I envy your forward planning abilities Hersetta! We were looking at a budget of around £2000 but now realise that's hard to do unless booking months and months in advance.

The Cyprus option appeals - I'll take a look at that. Sunday to Sunday would work as long as the return flight isn't in the middle of the night - I have a training day (teacher) but the Dcs are back at school.

I've also seen one or two options for Greece on teletext holidays which I really like the look of (as does ds2 who is obsessed with Greece for some reason) - but I've heard mixed reviews of their reliability - does anyone have experience, good or bad?

Artandco Tue 23-Feb-16 19:15:05

Of course you can go somewhere self catered for less than £2000! It's a bit last minute but plenty around

For example if you fly Ryanair the half term week to Santander Spain it's £414 for 4 of you return

Add a 2 bed apartment in area off holiday lettings.

The rest on food/ trips/ travel when there

Mumchatting Tue 23-Feb-16 21:52:38

You won't get hot weather enough for swimming in May in southern Europe, I'm afraid. Canary Islands is the only option (in Europe) I think, if you want to swim in May.

If not May, then Greece or Croatia are a great holiday destinations.

HelloClouds Wed 24-Feb-16 18:58:49

A heated pool is the key thing! We have one at our house in inland Andalucia and guests are usually swimming in May. The weather can be really lovely at that time of year.
The May half-term week is always the first one to be booked. I'm already getting enquiries about May 2017 and I'm in awe of their forward planning. We've never been that organised!

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