Every week we invite competing companies to provide their best deal for a specific holiday – and today we're running a travel challenge special edition. We've asked seven holiday companies to give us their top three late-availability family summer holidays for travel between now and the start of September.
Late deals sometimes turn out to be a bit of a swizz – when you call to book, you find out there's no space left. So we asked the companies to assure us they have plenty of availability on the dates, and at the prices, shown.
Prices quoted are the totals for a family of two adults and two children.
£2,689 Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Includes Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow to Dubai departing 17-31 August, plus transfers and 10 nights' B&B.
"This hotel is exclusive to Virgin Holidays customers in the UK, and is a great family pick, with guaranteed sunshine, a Virgin Holidays concierge lounge (info and Playstations galore), the option to upgrade to all-inclusive accommodation and free shuttle buses to Dubai City," says Gill Standeven at Virgin Holidays (0844 557 3859; virginholidays.co.uk ).
£2,249: Indian Ocean Beach Resort, Mombasa, Kenya
Includes Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow departing 19-31 August and onward Kenya Airways connections, plus transfers and seven nights' half board accommodation.
"This is a beautiful local hotel; all rooms have a personal valet, there is a free scuba lesson for all guests and the hotel is near all the local historical hotspots," says Nikki Mortimer at Virgin Holidays (0844 557 3859; virginholidays.co.uk ).
£4,920: Marigot Bay, St Lucia (Virgin Holidays + Hip Hotels)
Includes Virgin Atlantic flights from Gatwick on 8, 10, 13 or 15 August, plus transfers and a week in a suite with breakfast.
"This super-chic hotel – set in 30 acres – is in a fab position in one of the most beautiful marinas in the Caribbean," says Jacqueline Smith at Virgin Holidays + HIP Hotels (0844 573 2455; vhiphotels.co.uk ).
Monarch Holidays (0871 423 8642; monarch.co.uk )
£1,516: Apartments Club Princesa Playa, Cala'*Bosch, Menorca
Includes Monarch flights from Gatwick on 24 August and a week's self-catering at the four-diamond-plus rated apartments.
"With great facilities – including a kids' club – to keep the whole family entertained, sociable daytime flights and apartments just 400m from the sandy cove beach, this makes the perfect sunshine escape for the whole family," says Hugh Morgan at Monarch Holidays.
£2,432: Sunshine Corfu Hotel & Spa, Nissaki, Corfu
Includes Monarch flights from Gatwick on 23 August and a week's all-inclusive accommodation at the four-diamond rated hotel.
"With its fantastic all-inclusive offering including a host of activities and entertainment for adults and children, this holiday offers great value for money for families looking to lock in their costs prior to travel," says Hugh Morgan.
£1,452: Apartments Parque Santiago III & IV, Playa de las Americas, Tenerife
Includes Monarch flights from Gatwick on 23 August and a week's self-catering accommodation at the three-diamond-plus rated apartments.
"Perfectly located on the ocean front, with direct access to the sea," according to Hugh Morgan. "With a sandy beach; four swimming pools including a separate children's pool and Siam Park [Tenerife's newest water park] close at hand, the kids will be kept thoroughly entertained."
Hoseasons (0844 847 1100; hoseasons.co.uk )
£649: Seascape Cottages, Carmarthenshire
Includes a week's rental of Villa Apartment 4, sleeping four guests, on a hillside above the Pendine Sands, starting 31 July.
"Seascape Cottages guarantees the ideal family seaside holiday," says Geoff Cowley at Hoseasons. "For those seeking to simply get away and unwind amid the chaos of the summer holidays, this an ideal location for exploring the beaches and countryside of West Wales".
£689: The Bay, Plymouth, North Yorkshire Moors
Includes a week's rental of an apartment sleeping four at The Bay, starting 7 August.
"This Hoseasons Park has almost 600 metres of frontage onto a safe and sandy beach. The park also offers easy access for visiting the North Yorkshire Moors and the city of York, as well as the traditional seaside resort of Scarborough," says Geoff Cowley.
£599: Chesil, Dorset
Includes a week's rental of a Chesil Redcliff 6 caravan, sleeping up to six guests, starting 24 July.
"Chesil is a family park with a warm atmosphere offering a children's play area, an indoor swimming pool, and evening entertainment," says Geoff Cowley. "The surrounding area provides a wealth of things to see and do too; the Georgian seaside resort of Weymouth is just three miles away, boasting a sandy beach and safe bathing waters, as well as the Old Harbour."
£2,428: Louis Corcyra Beach, Gouvia, Corfu, Greece (Thomson)
Includes flights from Manchester on 26 July, transfers and a week all-inclusive at the four-star hotel.
"For guaranteed summer sunshine, Greece is a sure bet," says Katrina Barry at Thomson. "This hotel is great for lazy days spent around the lagoon-style pool. Plus the on-site Thomson Kids' Club will keep children of all ages entertained." (0871 231 3235; thomson.co.uk )
£1,728: Zante Maris, Tsilivi, Zante, Greece (First Choice)
Includes flights from Bristol on 24 August, transfers and a week's half-board accommodation at the four-star hotel.
"In a perfect beachfront setting and with close proximity to all the tavernas and restaurants that Tsilivi has to offer, this is great for families looking for some last-minute summer sun," says Katrina Barry. (0871 200 4455; firstchoice.co.uk )
£3,536: Sensatori Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico (Thomson)
Includes Thomson Airways flights departing Bristol on 14 August, transfers and a week's "gourmet all-inclusive" accommodation at the five-star resort.
"This stunning luxurious getaway offers fantastic value for money in a chic setting on Mexico's Riviera Maya coastline," says Rob Ansell at Thomson. "There are plenty of family rooms available still, and with state-of-the-art children's facilities plus a world-class spa, children and parents will be happy." (0871 231 3235; thomson.co.uk )
£2,596: Ramada Gateway Hotel, Orlando, Florida (Netflights)
Includes US Airways flights from Heathrow via Charlotte for departures up to 21 August and seven nights' room only accommodation at the three-star hotel. Manchester and Glasgow departures available at a £30 per person supplement.
"This hotel is convenient for all of Orlando's tourist attractions and is known for its service, providing a warm welcome to a family looking to make the most of all the attractions," says Trish Hughes at Thomas Cook (0844 493 4944; netflights.com ).
£1,947: Mirage Park Resort, Goynuk, Turkey (Airtours)
Includes one free child place, flights departing Manchester on 10 August, transfers and seven nights' all-inclusive accommodation at the four-star resort.
Trish Hughes says: "This modern beachfront hotel is ideal for those who want to relax in beautiful surroundings and explore the village of Göynük, steeped in Turkish history. (0844 871 6636; airtours.co.uk )
£2,561: Atlantica Gardens Apartments, Limassol, Cyprus (Thomas Cook)
Includes flights departing Gatwick on 10 August, transfers and all-inclusive accommodation at the three-star resort.
"Limassol is a lively, cosmopolitan all-year-round resort with long stretches of beach backed by local tavernas and restaurants. This popular complex is a particularly good choice for a fun-filled family holiday with its fantastic swimming pool complex," says Trish Hughes. (0844 412 5970; thomascook.com )
Kuoni (01306 747 008; kuoni.co.uk )
£4,852: Almond Smugglers Cove, St Lucia
Includes Virgin Atlantic flights departing Gatwick on 17 August, transfers and seven nights' all-inclusive accommodation at the four-star resort.
"There are some great savings to be had this summer offering exceptional good value especially on an all-inclusive basis", says Tamara Diethelm at Kuoni.
£3,846: Kurumba Resort, Maldives
Includes Monarch Airlines flights departing Gatwick on 15 August, transfers and seven nights' B&B accommodation at the five-star resort.
Tamara Diethelm says: "There is great value for money at this fabulous Robinson Crusoe island this August."
£3,558: Kani Lanka Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka
Includes Sri Lankan Airlines flights departing Heathrow on 26 August, transfers and eight nights' half-board at the four-star resort.
"This is a fabulous, great-value family experience lazing on an exotic beach, visiting traditional villages or watching elephants play in the river", says Tamara Diethelm.
Mark Warner (08717 033 880; markwarner.co.uk )
£2,333: Ocean Club, Algarve, Portugal
Includes Viking Airlines flights from Gatwick, with departures on any Saturday in August, plus transfers, a week's half-board accommodation and tennis.
The resort runs alongside a long stretch of beach, there's a five-court tennis centre on site with a professional coaching programme, plus two swimming pools. Child care is available at the Ocean Club. "It is a superb location for those looking for a little more independence," says Lizzie Edwards at Mark Warner.
£2,634: Abu Soma, Hurghada, Egypt
Includes Viking Airlines flights from Gatwick on 19 or 26 August, transfers, a week's half-board accommodation, plus sailing, windsurfing, tennis and aerobics/ fitness programme at the five-star hotel. The consistent cross-shore breezes and flat water make for world class watersports conditions.
"The market-leading childcare here is designed for both parents and children to make the most of their holiday," says Keri Doble at Mark Warner.
£4,746: Sea Garden, near Bodrum, Turkey
Includes Viking Airlines flights from Gatwick with departures on 15 and 22 August, plus transfers, a week's all-inclusive accommodation, sailing, windsurfing, tennis and aerobics/ fitness programme.
"The hotel overlooks a spacious crescent-shaped beach and a beautiful terraced garden. Mark Warner nannies, waterfront staff and tennis coaches will ensure a first-class holiday at a great-value price," says Keri Doble.