Send your family travel questions to S F Robinson, The Independent Parent, Travel Desk, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS Or crusoe@independent.co.uk

Send your family travel questions to S F Robinson, The Independent Parent, Travel Desk, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS Or crusoe@independent.co.uk

Q. I am exasperated by friends of ours with children who always seem to be able to find cheap last-minute deals over half-term. Whenever I look they have inevitably already gone. Can you offer any advice, as we frequently end up with nothing?
C Richardson, London

A. A cheap last-minute deal over half-term is something of a contradiction in terms. The spring half-term is one of the busiest times of the year in which to travel. Unfortunately, the key words here are usually "advance planning". If you can be flexible about your dates, travelling just outside peak times, you will also greatly increase your chances of getting the place and price you desire. The internet is a good source of information for what last-minute deals there are. Try www.thefirstresort.com for late deals with tour operators such as JMC, Thomson, First Choice and Airtours. Also check out www.expedia.co.uk and family travel websites such as www.babygoes2.com and www.family-travel.co.uk. The latter often posts deals on its news pages highlighting only what it considers to be the best offers, while also helpfully suggesting some interesting alternatives to the usual destinations. However, even at this late stage, I'm happy to report there are actually some good offers available.

Hoseasons Holiday Park (0870 900 9011, www.hoseasons.co.uk) in Newton Abbot, Devon has a number of lodges sleeping four, available for one week from 16 February for £190. Further down the coast, the family-oriented Sands Resort (01637 872 864, www.sandsresort.co.uk) in North Cornwall is offering a four-night "Thrill and Chill" package for a family of four for £814. The resort includes a health farm, an outdoor adventure centre and a children's club.

Two children (aged three to 11) go free when visiting Disneyland Paris (08705 03 03 03, www.disneylandparis.com) with two adults from now until 20 March. There is still limited availability over the half-term period. Two nights departing on 13 February costs £552 for a family of four staying at the New York Hotel, including return Eurostar travel from London or Ashford, transfers and theme-park passes.

Still in France, Brittany Ferries (0870 536 0360, www.brittanyferries.com) has a some properties in the Gîtes de France network available to rent from 9 February. One week's stay at Vallires les Grandes which sleeps two adults and two children in the Loire Valley, costs £362 per week including a return ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Caen for a car and four passengers.

Further afield, USA Tailor Made Holidays (01732 367711) has cut rents for three-bedroom properties in Orlando from £436 to £259 per week for the month of February; flight extra. Virgin Holidays (01293 456789, www.virginholidays.com) also has some good deals for holidays in America. For departures after 14 February, one week at Walt Disney World in Florida costs £979 per adult, £589 for teenagers (aged 12-15) and £429 per child (under 12). The price includes return flights from Gatwick to Orlando, transfers or a week's car hire, accommodation at the Disney All-Star Resort and Ultimate Park Hopper tickets for the duration of the stay.

Heading down to the Caribbean, Kuoni (01306 742 222, www.kuoni.co.uk) is offering one-week packages at the all-inclusive Rainbow Hotel in St Lucia, for £979 per adult and £219 per child (under 12). The price includes return flights with British Airways from Gatwick, free domestic add-ons from UK and Irish airports served by British Airways, transfers, and accommodation in a family room.

Finally, if you fancy a week on the slopes, and are prepared to drive, Direct Line Holidays (020-8239 3399, www.snoman.co.uk) has one week at Port de Soleil in France, departing 16 February, for £379 per adult and £329 per child; this includes the Dover-Calais crossing. Esprit Ski (01252 618 300, www.esprit-holidays.co.uk) is offering family skiing holidays in catered chalets in resorts in France, Switzerland and Austria from £629 per adult, with a 25 per cent discount for children, flying from Stansted or Gatwick.

Q. I would like to take my children to stay in the French resort of Port Grimaud in the south of France this summer. I have booked flights but am having difficulty finding accommodation. Can you help?
L Saunders, London

A.It seems compulsory for every country to have at least one "Little Venice". One of the French candidates is Port Grimaud, a "traditional" sailing village built in 1966 on the shores of the Golfe de St Tropez. It boasts 10km of canals, which can be explored in a hired electric boat or waterbuses. Prices are high during the peak season, but it's less hectic than St Tropez or St Maxime. The port's large marina is visited by some of the best yachts on the Mediterranean. There are watersports on offer at the larger of the two beaches, two public tennis courts and a market every Thursday in the port's two squares selling local produce.

There is only one hotel in Port Grimaud, the Le Giraglia (00 334 9456 3133, www.hotelgiraglia.com), which has a private beach. Double rooms cost from €250 (£155) per night, but it is only open from mid-May until mid-October. Renting a private apartment is a cheaper, more flexible option.

A flat sleeping six and overlooking the town square costs €915 (£567) per week in August ( www.4-your-holidays.com). A larger flat, sleeping eight and with the use of a boat costs £1,050 per week with www.escapeholidays.co.uk.

You could also consider camping. One of the best sites in the area is Camping Domaine des Naïades, which has an Olympic-sized pool and is available through Canvas Holidays (01383 629 000; www.canvasholidays.com). A mobile home sleeping six costs from £958 for a week. Eurosites (0870 751 0000; www.eurosites.co.uk) offers Les Prairies de la Mer, with direct access to the beach. A mobile home for four costs from £879 per week. More information: www.grimaud-provence.com.

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