School's back, and you can spot the families who were brave enough to opt for staycations this year: they're still drying out. The playground is awash with tearful tales of abandoned holidays and leaky tents, and no amount of apologising from the Met Office can lift bedraggled spirits. But all is not lost: the October half-term brings the opportunity to have a final fling with some UV rays before winter sets in – and there are some lovely bargains to be snapped up.
If you've been yearning for the Med but baulk at the price tag, you'll find healthy discounts and pleasant temperatures in southwest Turkey. Take the kids to the five-star Kalkan Regency with Exclusive Escapes (0208 6053500; exclusiveescapes .co.uk), a boutique hotel which offers dedicated family weeks during the school holidays at reductions of around 30 per cent. The hotel has a rather sumptuous looking pool and an award-winning restaurant, and lots of glorious beaches are within easy reach.
For Spanish sunshine and sand, look out for Keycamp's special offers at many of its parcs (0844 4060319; keycamp.co.uk), including La Torre del Sol, on the Costa Dorada, which has all the ingredients for an extremely low-cost family holiday in the sun – they're quoting as little as £197 for an air-conditioned mobile home during half-term week. Temperatures here average around 25C (77F), even in late October.
For adventure, my favourite October offer is with Explore (0844 4990901; explore.co.uk), which is featuring five days of fun in the sun during half-term at a bargain price. The exciting Taste of Morocco tour of the Atlas Mountains costs around £500 per person, including flights, accommodation, transportation and many meals. Take the kids to visit Berber villages, trek on donkeys and spend some time with the acrobats in Marrakech.
But if, like me, you were dreaming of sleepy vineyards and rolling Tuscan hills as you pulled on your waterproofs this summer, family friendly operator To Tuscany (0207 1937782; to-tuscany.com) is offering a warm and friendly 20 per cent off, exclusively for Independent on Sunday readers who book an October break in one of its cottages in Montefienali. This historic hamlet has a range of accommodation sleeping up to six, perched on a Chianti hillside. There's a swimming pool and lots for kids to do, from yachting to ballooning, and it's just 40 minutes from Siena. With this discount, a family of four can stay at Casa Della Nonna C, for example, for £360 for the week. Just mention The Independent on Sunday.