AIt took £130billion to – momentarily – lift our spirits and put a glimmer of hope at the end of winter’s dark tunnel. Think back to Thursday and the announcement that energy bills will be capped at £2,500 for two years. It meant families could breathe a sigh of relief and start making plans again to rebuild our economy and become the bright modern Britain we all know we can be.
So “act today”, as our new Prime Minister would say, to book a mid-term break. For most of us, mid-term starts in six weeks, October 22, and on normal years booking now might have been too late.
But 2022 is different. Worried about the cost of life, energy prices, incompetent airports and rising travel prices have kept thousands of people from booking. But renewed confidence in the future will spark a gold rush – and while there are deals available if you know where to look, some families will pay far more than expected.
Of a dozen holidays featured in our mid-term guide to autumn 2020, all but one saw significant price increases in 2022, ranging from a cottage in the Lake District – from £826 to £1,146 – and a hotel in St Ives where room rates are up by £30 a night, in a Sicilian villa that has risen from £2,250 a week to £3,050 and a jump of £600 pp for a Seychelles getaway .
Surely some of this is due to simple profits on the back of perceived demand, but in the case of overseas holidays, it’s the cost of flying that breaks the bank.
Last week, the pound crashed to its lowest level against the dollar in 37 years. At the same time, the price of jet fuel has soared, with the cost per barrel nearly doubling compared to September 2017. Russia was once a major supplier of distillates such as Jet A-1, and with record world reserves. low, fares could reach record highs, their rise accelerated by demand still exceeding supply on thousands of routes.
So the best value option for an overseas holiday will always be with a tour operator operating its own flights or with a charter allowance, such as easyJet Holidays, Jet2, Inghams, Sunvil, Tui or Virgin Holidays. The so-called FIT, or Fully Independent Traveler, where the agent or operator finds a scheduled flight to match your departure dates, will in most cases be much more expensive – especially if you’re heading to mid-flight favorites. -courses such as the Canary Islands, where flights from October 22 now start at £725 return.
Sun Siyam Iru Fushi in the Maldives
So where is the value of this semester? With the tourist pound worth as little as $1.02, it’s not in the United States or the Caribbean. Mexico, however, is a bargain for a long-haul holiday, with an all-inclusive week in a suite at Tui’s five-star Riu Palace Mexico in Playacar from £1,074 pp including flights – that’s £141 less than the four-star Riu Paraiso in Lanzarote (tui.co.uk).
Other long-haul, flight-included deals include a week’s B&B at Kombo Beach Hotel in The Gambia for £899 pp; a week’s B&B at the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa Merlin Beach in Thailand for £937 pp based on a family of four with children under 12 (tropicalsky.fr); and seven nights all-inclusive at the beachfront Rixos Bab Al Bahr in Ras al-Khaimah – the eco-friendly alternative to Dubai – for £1,290 pp (loveholidays.com). A week’s B&B at Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, a family-run Maldives resort, costs £1,900 (bestattravel.co.uk), and if you’re an airport CEO’s employee and a fan of Joe Wicks, book a mid-term week at Soneva Jani in the Maldives, when the Essex dynamo runs the gym (6,434 £ per person, half table; inspirationtravel.co.uk).
Some of the best short-distance active options include a guided family adventure in Spain’s Picos de Europa with leading ecotourism specialists Pura Aventura for £1,200 pp B&B including flights (puraventura.com); an eight-night family cycling holiday in Puglia for £1,495 pp, half-board (flights extra; inntravel.co.uk); and a mule train through the Moroccan Atlas Mountains from £495 per adult and £425 per child, including most meals (flights extra; familiesworldwide.co.uk). Flights to Italy and Morocco are incredibly cheap right now.
For fly-and-flop breaks, a week’s B&B at Hotel Lenno on Lake Como costs £808 pp (inghams.co.uk), and half-session at the five-star Salgados Dunas Suites at Praia dos Salgados in the Algarve costs £624 pp, B&B (tui.co.uk). In Greece, you’ll pay £741 per person for a week’s B&B at the Kassandra Palace Hotel in Halkidiki (easyjet.com) and at least £1,000 per person for a good four-star hotel in the Canary Islands, with three-star properties for around £850 per person.
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In the UK there is still availability at family hotels such as the newly refurbished Moonfleet Manor in Dorset (B&B family rooms from £430; luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk); Watergate Bay in Cornwall (B&B family rooms from £306; watergatebay.co.uk); Another Place in the Lakes (B&B family rooms from £338; another place) for the last two, check the “last minute” pages of their sites.
Many holiday homes are also vacant: for sea views, the two-bedroom Coastguard Cottage in Mousehole is £996 for a mid-term week and the three-bedroom Guinevere, on the harbor at Mullion Cove, is £1 £537 (both with classic.co.uk). Inland, a week’s hire for four at Wheeldon Trees Farm in the Peak District National Park costs £1,168 (premiercottages.co.uk) and the pretty Howe Green Cottage in Kirkbymoorside in North Yorkshire, which sleeps four, went from £946 to £610 (sykescottages.co.uk).
But wherever you choose, don’t hesitate, because the prices you see now can only go up.