The Independent Parent: Your questions answered

Where can we take our family for half-term at this late stage?


QWe have made a last-minute decision to take our two sons (aged eight and 14) away for the October half-term. Ideally, we would like a bit of sun, but at this stage we realise that we might have to make do with what's available. Where is popular and, more importantly, where can we go?

QWe have made a last-minute decision to take our two sons (aged eight and 14) away for the October half-term. Ideally, we would like a bit of sun, but at this stage we realise that we might have to make do with what's available. Where is popular and, more importantly, where can we go?

J Cross, West London

AWhen it comes to half-term, forward planning is the name of the game, especially if you have a specific location in mind. Popular destinations, particularly Florida and the Canary Islands, get booked up months in advance.

But there is still some availability, and while you may have to compromise you should be able to find a holiday. For all thoselisted below, apart from Virgin Holidays, your elder son will be counted as an adult and will pay accordingly.

Mainland Spain, particularly the southern regions such as the Costa del Sol still enjoys warm temperatures at the end of October. Airtours (0870 241 5339, www.mytravel.com) is currently offering some late deals, including a seven-night stay on the Costa del Sol for £216 per person departing on 20 October. This includes return flights from Stansted to Malaga and self-catering accommodation.

The Canaries and Madeira are prime half-term hot spots, mainly because of the almost guaranteed sun and relatively short flying times. Casas Canarias (020-7485 4387, www.allyearsun.com) offers a two-bedroom cottage on the Finca Loas dos Barrancos estate, located 4km from Santa Cruz on the island of Tenerife. The property has the use of a communal pool, and one week will cost £462. Flights are not included, but can be booked through the company and should cost around £300 per adult and £210 per child under 12. On the island of Madeira, a seven-night self-catering holiday at the Villas Oliveira resort departing on 21 October will cost £371 per adult, and £219 for your eight-year-old with First Choice (0870 750 0465, www.firstchoice.co.uk), including flights from Gatwick.

Tunisia is also worth considering. The North African country has had a dreadful year, following the massacre of a group of German tourists in the spring, but it is one of Cadogan Holidays' (023 8082 8300, www.cadoganholidays.com) most popular half-term destinations. Cadogan offers a seven-night holiday departing on 20 October for £459 per adult and £349 per child under 12, including flights from Gatwick and B&B accommodation. You can stay at either the Regency Resort in Hammamet, or the Royal Miramar Thalassa near Monastir. The same holiday is also on offer for departures on 27 October for £499 per adult and £349 per child under 12.

Egypt is another popular family destination this autumn. Availability is limited, and flight space may be hard to find from 17-22 October because the Association of British Travel Agents is meeting in Cairo. Bales Tailormade (0870 241 3212, www.balesworldwide.com) can tailor holidays to a number of locations. As an example, three nights at the Oberoi Mena House in Cairo and three nights in Luxor's Old Winter Palace costs from £665 per adult and £495 per child under 12. The price includes return flights from Heathrow to Cairo, accommodation with breakfast and all transfers.

If you don't mind flying long haul, there are some good offers to certain Caribbean destinations and America. Virgin Holidays (0871 222 0305, www.virgin.com/holidays) still has availability to its most sought-after half-term destination, which this year is Florida. It is offering a seven-night holiday staying at the Best Western Thunderbird Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Miami for £669 per adult and £339 per child (aged two to 11) and £469 for your 14-year-old. The price includes direct flights from London Gatwick to Miami, seven nights' accommodation and either transfers or car hire.

Six nights in Cuba will cost £689 per adult and £345 per child (under 12) with Kuoni (01306 747008, www.kuoni.co.uk). The holiday departs on 19 October and the price includes return flights from Gatwick, transfers and accommodation in an all-inclusive resort hotel. Indigo Holidays (0870 11 22 333, www.indigoholidays.com) offers a seven-night holiday on the Caribbean island of Tobago, departing on 17 October for £429 per adult and £269 per child under 12. The price includes return flights from Gatwick to Tobago (with a short touch-down in Grenada on the return journey), transfers and room-only accommodation at the Tropiskit resort.

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