As the school holidays draw to a close, the thoughts of many turn to new school uniforms and the long slog to Christmas. But if you’re a parent of pre-schoolers, you can start packing for a late summer getaway – you lucky thing! Holidaying outside peak time is not only cheaper, but popular European resorts are much quieter, and temperatures are often kinder to young skin.
To find out how to get the most out of your getaway, we turned to TravelSupermarket’s resident travel advisor Bob Atkinson. Bob has worked in the travel industry for well over 20 years and is a regular on on BBC News. What he doesn’t know about travel, frankly ain’t worth knowing.
Here, Bob shares his top tips for a stress-free late summer break.
Choose a package holiday
Big travel companies like Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook offer fantastic value deals where everything for families is taken care of in their family resort style properties. You’ll find everything from a crèche to family entertainment and also day clubs for those aged three and over, all run by NVQ trained staff from the UK.
Properties come with baby facilities, and you can rent fridges in your room to make life easier. You’ll even find baby-sitting services to allow you some time off in the evening for a relaxing meal, knowing your children are safe.
Look out for all-inclusive, half-board and self-catering options. Even the flights are made easier, with priority seating and boarding, options to take your pram to the gate and baby food warming on board.
Priority boarding for families – is it worth it?
Set off on a self-drive
Little ones love the outdoors and if you’re a family of happy campers, why not consider a self-drive holiday on the continent? It gives you loads of freedom and the kids will have the time of their lives.
Using your own car, take a ferry or Eurotunnel to France or even to the Belgian or Dutch coasts. There are sites all over the continent set up with everything from tents to mobile homes and log cabins, all providing the perfect base for exploring somewhere new.
To cut travel time, look for campsites near one of the coasts such as Le Touquet, close to Calais, or Dinard in Brittany. If your little ones are up to the journey, La Rochelle or Biarritz in France or The Hague in Holland will give you access to big wide sandy beaches to play on and wider areas to explore.
Don’t forget insurance
Wherever you decide to go, make sure you get good quality travel insurance. Family cover is fantastic value and by buying a mid-range policy you’ll get top notch medical treatment should you need it, as well as a 24-hour advice line for assistance in emergencies. Compare prices online at TravelSupermarket for the best value.