SPENDING £6,900 A YEAR ON HOLIDAYS, FLIGHTGIFTCARD OFFERS BRITISH FAMILIES A GUIDE TO MAKING THE MOST OF THE ANNUAL HOLIDAY BUDGET IN 2019
Planning to splash out on one blow-out vacation or take one or more bargain breaks in 2019? Flightgiftcard has created a school holiday travel schedule, providing inspiration to make the best of the family holiday budget for the coming year.
Whether they’re spent recharging and relaxing, enjoying exhilarating activities or exploring a new place, family holidays are a time for creating lasting memories and enjoying all-important quality time together.
According to Nationwide, the average British family (two parents, two children) spends £3,420 each time they go away, so for those taking two holidays a year, this figure racks up to nearly £6.9K. While that might sound like a lot, when adding up the cost of flights, accommodation, activities and meals for a family of four, it’s easy to see where the money goes.
There are, however, plenty of fabulous memory-making options for families wanting to stretch their annual holiday budget on a handful of different breaks throughout the year. And, for those that would like to make this year the one they take the holiday of a lifetime, it may just be within reach…!
CEO of Flightgiftcard, Loes Daniels, says: “With so many holiday options available, it can be tricky deciding whether to blow the entire budget on one lavish holiday, or opt for multiple bite-sized breaks throughout the year.
“To help families decide for the coming year, we’ve devised a school holiday travel schedule that offers both high-end once-in-a-lifetime holiday options with air travel starting from £1,912 for a family of four, as well as more purse-friendly travel options full of culture and adventure, with fares from only £56 per family.”
So, whether you’re looking to stretch or blow the budget, read on for Flightgiftcard’s recommendations for unique and memorable family destinations this 2019.
1. FEBRUARY HALF TERM (18-22 February)
Bargain break: Relax in beautiful Malta
With return flights starting from just £51pp, the Maltese capital is the perfect place for families looking for a post-January blues dose of culture and milder February temperatures. The walled city boasts an unsurpassed collection of original Baroque architecture as well as beautiful views over the Mediterranean Sea. Make sure you visit the truly spectacular Co-Cathedral of St John which features intricately carved stone vaults and a famed painting by Caravaggio.
Blow the budget: Winter Sun and luxury in the Maldives
Return flights to the Maldives start from £686pp and February is the perfect time to swap the daily grind for white sand beaches and turquoise waters. With year-round sunshine and daytime temperatures averaging 28 degrees, plus world-renowned coral reefs for snorkelling or scuba diving, there is plenty for all the family to enjoy.
2. EASTER BREAK 8-22 April
Bargain break: A French Family Easter
Easter in France is an important holiday for families, religious or not. Return flights to Colmar in Alsace start from only £38pp, and with its Easter Market, this small friendly French town is the perfect destination to visit with the kids at Easter. Check out the cobble-stoned streets in the spring-time sunshine illuminating the colourful facades and explore the market where chocolatiers create spectacular chocolate eggs. Street musicians and parades entertain the crowds and visitors should also try a ‘kougelhopf’, a traditional Alsatian brioche-style cake.
Blow the budget: Horse around in Argentina
Argentina is a nation with a strong equine history (and which kid – big or small – doesn’t like horses!). The gaucho is one of the best known cultural symbols of the nation, so why not take advantage of this by exploring of some of this vast and beautiful country on horseback! There are plenty of estancias that cater to beginners, so you don’t need to be an expert rider. But if you’re feeling adventurous, why not take the chance to learn a spot of polo? Or live the life of a true countryman by joining a working cattle ranch for a few days?! Return flights are available from £478pp.
3. SPRING HALF TERM 27-31 May
Bargain break: Live like royalty in Sintra
Nestled in the Sintra Mountains in Portugal, this city was long heralded as a royal sanctuary thanks to its cooler temperatures, coupled with picturesque lush forests and offset by a rugged, dramatic coastline. Studded with pastel-coloured villas and palaces, Sintra offers a more unique experience than nearby Lisbon and comfortable highs of 22 degrees. The colourful Palácio de Pena is surely a highlight of any trip. With return flights starting from just £49pp, this is an ideal city break for spring.
Blow the budget: Go off-grid in Havana
Prove your cool credentials by taking your family on a trip to the colourful Cuban capital. Havana is a truly individual destination, so ditch your phones to make the most of this unique city. For £773pp for return flights, take in the lively and vibrant street scenes on a walking tour – the UNESCO protected buildings reflect the city’s colonial past when the it served as a hub for trafficking Spain’s gold and riches from The New World. And forget the clichés; a tour in a classic car is a must!
4. SUMMER BREAK 25 JULY-2 SEPTEMBER
Bargain break: Summer fun in Dalmatia
At just £127pp and only a short flight away, Croatia’s stunning coastal landscape is less well trodden than many other popular Mediterranean coastal resorts and is perfect for families looking for a fun-filled holiday exploring the many islands, waterfalls and hiking trails. A boat trip around the Sibenik archipelago in Dalmatia is an absolute must; make sure you stop off for a splash in the Adriatic’s glistening turquoise waters. Children aged 10 or above will love exploring the rocky islets of Kornati National Park, along with the waterfalls of Krka National Park for a refreshing dip.
Blow the budget: Say Kon’nichiwa to Tōhuku
For an enriching long-haul family break this summer, head to Tōhuku. This often-overlooked region of north eastern Japan boasts timeless art, culture, food and truly breathtaking scenery. Stretch your legs in the Hakkoda Mountains, consisting of a range of dormant volcanoes and renowned for their beauty. Think peaceful lakes, colourful wildflowers, hot springs and fresh mountain air. Back at sea level, experience the bliss of Jodogahama Beach, translated as ‘pure land’ and a designated Place of Scenic Beauty. Or for a truly unique experience, visit Mototaki Waterfall, fed year-round by snow. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a mythical world!
With so many areas in the region to explore you’ll be able to take full advantage of delicious local foods such as taro hotpot (taro and vegetables simmered in a soy-sauce based soup) and kiritanpo (a mashed rice wrapped around a cedar sticks that’s usually grilled with miso or served in a simple-flavoured hotpot with chicken and vegetables). Not forgetting the famed wanko-soba noodles – a delicious small noodle dish which your server will continue to refill until you cover your bowl with a lid. Return flights to Tokyo start from £548pp and then start your adventure taking a world-famous bullet train to Tōhuku.
5. AUTUMN HALF TERM 21 – 25 OCT
Bargain break: Relax on the Akamos Peninsula
Cyprus is the ideal autumn family holiday spot, with picturesque beaches and highs of 27 degrees, the Akamos Peninsula is the perfect place to soak up some pre-winter sun. At only £133pp it’s also a snip of the price of most autumnal getaways for those seeking the last of the year’s sun.
Sample Cypriot delicacies such as ‘koupepia’ (stuffed vine leaves), ‘sheftalia’ (spiced sausage parcels) and ‘glyko tou koutaliou’ (traditional ‘sweets’ – favourites include the walnut, watermelon and cherry varieties), not forgetting the ever-popular halloumi. For budding botanists and zoologists, did you know Cyprus is also home to a plethora of wildlife? With 168 varieties of birds, 20 different reptiles, 16 species of butterfly and 12 different mammals, there is plenty of space to explore.
Blow the budget: Go wild for Botswana
An African safari trip should be on everyone’s bucket list and will make for one of the most memorable family holidays. With return flights starting from £587pp, October is the dry season in Botswana, so the perfect time for wildlife lovers to visit this oft overlooked African country. Get ready to be thrilled by sightings of ‘The Big Five’ – lion, leopard, elephant, black rhino and buffalo, along with a huge variety of equally impressive antelopes, giraffe, zebras, wildebeest and hippos. Be aware that some safari activities will have minimum age restrictions for children.
6. CHRISTMAS BREAK 24 DEC-4 JAN
Bargain break: Embrace còsagach in Edinburgh
For a dose of “còsagach,” (meaning snug, warm, or sheltered in Gaelic), Edinburgh is the ultimate winter city break. Wrap up warm for a stroll around the city and enjoy the cosy cafés, pubs with roaring fires, and the buzzing Christmas market and funfair. For any Harry Potter fans in your family, the city’s gothic architecture and winding alleyways will go down a treat! Flights start from only £14pp return.
Blow the budget: Take a bite out of the Big Apple
You can’t get more Christmassy than a trip to New York City. For a festive holiday that all will remember for years to come, treat your family to ice skating at the Rockefeller Centre, with its spectacular 30-metre-high Christmas tree, wrap up to explore Central Park, take a helicopter ride for a bird’s eye view of the famous skyline, and check out the fantastic store windows adorned with magnificent festive displays. Flights start from £508pp return. Get ready to treat your family to the Christmas trip of a lifetime.