A family holiday in autumn can be an amazing escape from rain (so much rain!), cooler temps and darkening skies. October half-term is approaching and a school break can mean a quality break for the whole family. Especially if you didn’t go away in the summer! But where is the best place to go on a family holiday for half term? And with the recent Thomas Cook collapse is it a good time for family travel? We spoke with London mum and travel counsellor Rebecca Berzins for some expert family holiday advice.
Please introduce yourself…
I’m Rebecca, mum to 4-year-old Cleo, living and working from my home in Palmers Green, North London. I started out in the travel industry after graduating with a (since unused) photography degree over 13 years ago. Australia and Asia were my original areas of expertise but since launching my own business I’ve carved out my niche as the local family holiday expert. I’ve planned everything from sun-seeking breaks in Europe to family adventures in far-flung destinations such as Canada, South Africa and Vietnam. Find me on Instagram / Facebook / Website
Where would you recommend families go on holiday in October for sun and swim weather?
My pick is Paphos in Cyprus, which will still be enjoying highs in the mid-20’s in October half term. It’s less than a five hour flight from the UK and a short transfer from the airport to most hotels when you get there offering all important convenience for families. There’s some great hotels to suit all tastes, some great restaurants such as the water front sea-food taverna, Ouzeri, plus a lovely beachfront promenade for walks or cycle rides. And if you fancy a culture fix the Paphos Archeological Park has some incredible mosaics that are worth checking out.
View this post on Instagram
Can decent deals still be found now for October half term?
There is still some availability out there but unfortunately the recent collapse of Thomas Cook has impacted the industry causing a squeeze in the market and pushing up flight prices as people fight to save their October half term holidays. On the flip side some hotels have slashed their prices as they try and fill the glut of rooms from holidays cancelled in the wake of Thomas Cook. People who are particular with their wishlist are always better off planning in advance to get exactly what they want but if you have an open mind it’s never too late to secure a holiday. I’ve been known to book a family holiday with just 24hrs to go – you just need to be a little bit flexible!
What should families be extra careful of, in light of Thomas Cook has ceasing trading, when booking a holiday?
Some people see the idea of using a travel agent a bit dated when so much is available online. But I increasingly see a lot of people come full circle as they begin to appreciate having someone to talk to and take care of all the details. What the collapse of Thomas Cook has shown us is that it’s more important than ever to use a trusted travel advisor – someone who knows the industry and has their clients best interests at heart. You should always ensure you are booking with a fully financially protected and ATOL bonded company so that your money is safe. Having someone to trust at the end of the phone is vital when things go wrong. I am always available for my clients but when Thomas Cook collapsed many online customers were left sitting at the end of unanswed phone lines frantically searching for answers.
What would you suggest to parents with young kids, who are unsure about trying a resort for the first time but love the idea of all the amenities such as kids clubs, great pools, easy access to beach, and ease of half-board/all inclusive?
My advice is just try it! As parents we already know that all areas of life change dramatically when we have kids and that includes holidays too. It can be hard to let go of how holidays used to be. Of course there are those rare few Insta-Families who successfully manage to throw the kids in a backpack and blog about their adventures whilst leaving the rest us feel like crap for struggling to make it to the park and back unscathed with the kids in tow. Yet in reality most of us simply dream of a week in the sun spending time with our loved ones whilst someone else takes care of the cooking and cleaning.
When you’ve decided to take the plunge and try a family friendly resort then cut through the overwhelm of choice by taking recommendations from friends with similar tastes to you or speak to an expert to ensure you’re not left disappointed by the food, facilities or location. Bed & Breakfast appeals to many who still seek the opportunity to try out local restaurants. Yet I always recommend that to keep budgeting in check whilst also giving you the freedom to be a ‘Yes Mum’ for a week every time the kids ask for ice-cream, you can’t beat an All Inclusive. I promise that you’ll barely need to spend a penny more when you’re there bar a few souvenirs.
Thank you Rebecca!
Rebecca’s contact details:
Tel: 0203 432 4720