Now that I’m confined to the school holiday timetable, I’ve spend many hours researching the best holiday destinations to coincide with the school holiday dates. Being restricted to travelling during school holidays has actually opened my eyes to some destinations I’d not thought of before, and there are tons of choices for each school holiday, both long and short haul.
Of course, there are many more options to choose from, but these places appealed to me most for reasons I outline below.
Mid December to early January (3 weeks) – Christmas school holiday
The Christmas school holidays are one of three holidays where there is the chance to travel further as you have 3 weeks! That said, it’s also the most expensive time to travel as well, and though might appeal to some (i.e me!), many will prefer staying at home and seeing family and friends over this busy period.
Long haul destinations I’d love to visit over Christmas include India, Cambodia, Laos, the west coast of Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa and South America. All have good weather in December. Prices hike up 3-4 times the normal cost though, so it will always be an expensive option to travel over the festive period.
Closer to home Poland and Lapland are good options, as are anywhere in Europe for a Christmas market – Prague, Berlin, Vienna. We had our eyes on Poland as it’s much cheaper to visit than the more popular Christmassy destinations, but still with bags of character and hopefully some snow too.
Late February (1 week) – half term school holiday
Dubai is the obvious choice for February half term school holiday. It’s super sunny, only a couple of hours time difference and the flight time is a not too painful 7 hours. We visited Dubai in February and had a surprisingly good time (it’s not my usual type of place to visit).
Closer to home and colder are the Canaries. Bound to be bargains if you travel now, but don’t expect hot weather. To embrace the cold go for the Cairngorms in Scotland (these are on my hitlist – they look amazing; very wild) or Switzerland.
End of March/Early April-mid April (2 weeks) – Easter school holiday
Another long haul opportunity is at Easter school holiday, when we get two weeks. Prices are not quite as dramatic as over Christmas or summer either. We’re heading to Jordan in April, one of the best times to visit this country. Oman is another good option. For somewhere completely different, there’s Namibia, the Philippines, Japan or Costa Rica. It’s coming to the end of the season for Vietnam and Thailand, though you might be lucky and get a good couple of dry weeks before the rains start. South Africa is amazing any time of year and there’s no jet lag either, so is a good option throughout the year, but I think Easter would be a good time as two weeks gives you a good amount to explore properly.
Closer to home the Canaries are your best bet for some sunshine as is Morocco. And both are really interesting places to visit too. Tenerife has Mount Tiede if you enjoy climbing and hiking, and Morocco has the Atlas mountains plus souks and hammams galore for some downtime (if you ever get that with kids? Maybe not).
Late May (1 week) – half term school holiday
I reckon there’s not much point going long haul late May, as the weather closer to home is improving, and there’s only a one week window. I would go for Morocco, Romania, Austria, France, Italy, the Scottish Highlands or Sweden at this time of year. Eastern and Central Europe in particular look amazing. Austria has the beauty of alpine walks and cycling plus spa resorts to relax in, and the prices are not as much as over winter and the ski season. Romania looks like it could be an up and coming destination, and is fantastic value too.
End of July to early September (6 weeks) – summer holidays
Oh! 6 weeks of freedom. The world is your oyster. Long haul options over the UK summer include Kenya, Tanzania, Indonesia, Canada, East Thailand, Peru or Fiji. Personally I’d love to hire a campervan in Canada and bum around for a few weeks. Or head back to Thailand or Indonesia for some beach life.
Another hot destination right now is Iceland, and I think visiting with kids over the summer school holiday would be an amazing holiday. I think it might be a bit too chilly travelling there over winter with kids, but I could be wrong. Summer is cheaper too. I’d also love to visit Greece or Croatia, and in the UK, the Lake District or the Scilly Isles.
Late October (1 week) – half term school holiday
Morocco or the Canaries are still good bets late October as are stalwart favourites France, Spain and Italy. Good old Blighty is often still lovely and warm in October, so you could try Northumberland like we did, or head far south to the Isle of Wight.