How to improve holidays with childrens

Hey mum, let's keep it cheap and cheerful

Ihave just been at the school gates comparing holidays - a subject nearly as sensitive as property prices or secondary school choices - and as usual I've come back a tad green. One mother's detailed description made me realise that I had missed a trick. She and her children spent three weeks on an empty pristine beach in Croatia, while we were parked cheek-by-jowl on a French Mediterranean strip of sand. While her children were having daily jet-skiing lessons, we were queuing impatiently for a turn on a pedalo (the jet-skiing had been booked months before, and was too expensive). And while they dined out every night on food which even the children said was delicious, we spent most of our evenings boiling up pasta to keep the costs down. Their dream holiday cost half the price of ours.

Not that I'm bitter or anything, but I thought I was meant to be the expert around here. It is hard to keep up when all those about you are discovering paradise in unexpected places, but at least I'm in on the secret now, and I can take a serious stab at the next "who had the best holiday?" competition.

If I'm going to be the winner, I'd better get cracking, because people are catching on fast. An increasing number of family-oriented package operators now feature Eastern European destinations, including First Choice (0870-850 3999; firstchoice.co.uk) and Thomson (0870-606 1470; thomson-holidays.com) but for something a bit different, the smaller companies are well worth checking out.

Upland Escapes (01367 851111; uplandescapes .com) offers a range of family holidays in the Slovenian Julian Alps (for all those who didn't pay attention in geography, that is the bit at the top where Italy and Austria meet). This company specialises in walking breaks for all ages - they take in caves, waterfalls, canyons and wildlife galore - and you get to stay in houses and farms (no high-rise hotels allowed).

For those bursting with energy, meanwhile, Activities Abroad (01670-789 991; activitiesabroad .com) has just the thing. Take one of its family holidays on Croatia's Dalmatian coast and you will find yourself kayaking and scuba-diving to your heart's content. But to really experience the great outdoors, you need to camp - try the Istrian Peninsula, dotted with islands for your mini-explorers to conquer. Stay with Vacansoleil (08700 778779; vacansoleil.co.uk) and you will get all the basics: Jacuzzis, a terrace bar and scuba diving, all at very reasonable prices.

At the other end of the market, Black Tomato (0207-610 9008; blacktomato.co.uk) features something a bit different: a luxurious family-friendly break on the shores of Slovenia's Lake Bled. You and your family will stay in the former residence of President Tito - now the Relais & Chateaux Vila Bled Hotel, which is set in its own national park. Splash around in the private lido, take a rowing boat out into peace and tranquillity or dine at the restaurant with panoramic views. If anyone can beat that, let me know. I've got a competition to win.

Katy's top tip

If your little adventurers are into medieval stuff such as castles, Latvia is the place to head for an autumn mini-break. Check out the Baltic Travel Company (0870-753 7747; baltictravelcompany.com) for interesting offerings.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable