Travel Tips: October Half Term
The polish is still shining from the little critters’ back to school shoes, and you may think to yourself, didn’t they only just go back? Whilst we’d love to create the illusion of long terms and minimal school holidays, reality beckons. October half term is just around the corner and it’s time to think of jetting off with the gang in tow. Here are family holiday experts Original Travel’s top picks for this half term:
With pleasant weather at this time of year and minimal travelling time, Portugal is a great choice for a family getaway. One of our favourite family-friendly hotels is the Martinhal in the Algarve which organises activities from surf lessons to biking trips, but the family-friendliness now spreads to the spa as well with Tween (no typo) and Teen Treatments. If a jaunt to northern Portugal is on the cards, Cooking and Nature Emotional Hotel offers bespoke cookery classes for the little ones, family picnics and a strictly kids-only playroom.
Cyprus’s beach resorts are child-friendly without being adult-unfriendly, and the weather is still warm in October. Depending on your child’s tastes, the Anassa and Almyra hotels entertain youngsters with anything from waterskiing lessons to baking traditional Cypriot cakes. Hire a boat, take a packed lunch and spend the day exploring the bays and beaches of the Akamas peninsula, stopping off to swim or snorkel whenever you feel like it.
ORIGINAL TRAVEL TIP: If you are travelling with a baby, the Almyra’s Baby Go Lightly service provides you with all the nappies and kit you need to avoid arriving at the airport with an entourage.
So far, so European, but October is also a great time to cross the pond to the States for a family vacay. Let’s take a moment to consider Southern California and Orange County in particular. Aside from an addiction to the hit TV series, how well does one know the OC? Explore its fab surfing, sailing, beaches and golf courses. We recommend checking yourself into The Resort at Pelican Hill—it may be big, but this is America after all, and it’s a parent’s Disneyland… Did we mention that the real Disneyland is just a short drive away? Tick.
Are you dreaming of beautiful white sandy beaches leading to warm, sheltered waters and off-shore reefs? Enter the dreamy island of Mauritius. We have a soft spot for the One & Only Le Saint Geran, which gets a gold star for its Kids’ Club. It is designed like a huge pirate ship, and the team artfully create programmes centring on discovery, education, local culture, nature, sports and arts and crafts—children can even get green-fingered in the kids-only herb garden.
ORIGINAL TRAVEL TIP: For parents in need of some R&R we provide all families with personalised children’s packs designed by renowned children’s entertainers Sharky and George. The packs keep the children busy during stressful stages of the journey (think immigration queues and long transfers) and at the destination itself. Or go one step further and take a Fun Guru on holiday with you—he or she will have the children blissfully entertained for as long as you like.
We can’t stop waxing lyrical about Oman. At Sur you can watch turtles come ashore, or spend a night in the Wahiba Sands with dune bashing and camels, and finally drive back to Muscat over the dramatic Hajar Mountains, past the second-biggest canyon on Earth. The proof is in the pudding so check out our family video (hotly tipped for next year’s Oscar Awards) starring our favourite family hotel, Six Senses Zighy Bay.
ORIGINAL TRAVEL TIP: Babies find it hard to equalise their ears during take-off and landing. If you’ve tried all the tricks in the book to stop them crying, here’s one more. Get two plastic cups and place tissue soaked in hot water at the bottom. Pop the cups on your baby’s ears for two minutes and the heat creates a small pressure vacuum to unblock the ears. Marvellous!
Long haul? With kids? Are you mad? When it comes to long-haul destinations South Africa has the finest credentials, with civilised timings, overnight flights and minimal time difference to keep jetlag at bay. Aside from the wondrous wildlife in Madikwe (which is malaria-free, another bonus for families and mums-to-be), there is also Cape Town, which just so happens to be wonderful for parents too, but this is all about the children so let’s (try to) forget the superb restaurants and elegant wine estates, and concentrate on the views from Table Mountain and seeing the waddling penguins at Boulders Beach instead.
ORIGINAL TRAVEL TIP: As parents we are used to getting up early, so the safari routine works really well for families: rising early and resting in the middle of the day, followed with a later afternoon activity and early bed.
Find more October half term ideas here.
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Back by popular demand! Original Travel had so many amazing Trickography entrants last year that we thought it would be just plain wrong not to repeat it. Trickographer of the Year for 2014 will walk away with one amazing Sharky and George-ified family holiday, courtesy of Original Travel, as well as some totally awesome camera equipment from Samsung. Click here to find out more.