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Winter sun holiday scene

Winter sun: half-term holidays for the family

Head of International Travel Law Nick Harris

Dated: 7th October 2015

In October it's schools' half-term once again. So what's to do? Stay home and leave the kids to Instagram, Facebook and 'League of Legends'? Or catch some rays in warmer places?

Smartphones work pretty much anywhere, says Simpson Millar's Head of Travel Law Nick Harris, so here are 10 destinations, all easy to research and book online, that'll give the whole family a post-summer smile.

Morocco flag

Marrakech, Morocco

Flying time 3hrs 30mins
How warm? 27°C (80°F)
How much sun? 8 hours a day (average)

October is the finest time of year in this north African country. Morocco is a region so culturally fascinating it's an education for the children in itself. But move fast: package breaks at the lower end of the cost scale are selling rapidly and it can be expensive to fly at weekends.

Egypt flag

Red Sea, Egypt

Flying time 5hrs 15mins
How warm? 29°C (84°F)
How much sun? 10 hours a day (average)

You'll find some excellent, good-value hotels in Egypt which, despite the recent turbulence, still offers a safe, secure, enjoyable and cost-effective winter break.

Smiling child at airport with luggage ready for holiday Spain flag

Costa del Sol, Spain

Flying time 2hrs 30mins
How warm? 22°C (72°F)
How much sun? 7 hours a day (average)

Summer lingers longer at Spain's southernmost mainland spot. Although flight costs have started rising, Costa del Sol still offers lots of holiday opportunity at reasonable prices.

Tenerife icon

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Flying time 4hrs 15mins
How warm? 24°C (75°F)
How much sun? 7 hours a day (average)

You can't go far wrong in Tenerife, with great hotels, a lovely climate and a comparatively short flying time. Although flights are becoming more expensive, you can still find reasonable packages.

Lanzarote icon

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Flying time 4hrs 15mins
How warm? 25°C (77°F)
How much sun? 7 hours a day (average)

Lanzarote is said to welcome families more than anywhere else in the Canaries, particularly near sunny Playa Blanca. The drawbacks compared to Tenerife are the relatively few flights and hotels – the best deals usually need to be arranged 6 months in advance.

Cyrpus flag


Flying time 4hrs 30mins
How warm? 25°C (77°F)
How much sun? 8 hours a day (average)

The Mediterranian's longest Summer, favourite locations are Paphos and the fine western coastline near Latchi.

Greece flag


Flying time 3hrs 45mins
How warm? 22°C (72°F)
How much sun? 6 hours a day (average)

Although Cyprus is a little warmer, Crete is excellent value for a half-term break, with beautiful historical sites that can be appreciated without the intense heat of high summer. Shop around for the best flight packages.

UAE flag

Dubai, UAE

Flying time 7hrs
How warm? 36°C (97°F)
How much sun? 10 hours a day (average)

It gets busy, but Dubai is a true sun-worshipper's paradise if you're okay with higher-price 4-star accommodation. The flight is comparatively lengthy, so bear this in mind if you've young children.

Happy family holiday abroad walking on the beach USA flag

Florida, USA

Flying time 9hrs
How warm? 29°C (84°F)
How much sun? 7 hours a day (average)

Florida's arguably too steamy during mid-summer, but in October the temperature and sunshine hours are lovely. And the Keys and the Everglades are a must-see.

Italy flag

Sicily, Italy

Flying time 3hrs
How warm? 22°C (72°F)
How much sun? 7 hours a day (average)

Italy's endlessly interesting 'ball' on the end of the 'boot' has it all – sun, sea and sand, Greek and Norman history, culture and magnificent cuisine.

Holiday suitcase, hat and glasses

The destinations listed above offer the best combinations of winter sun, amenities that'll keep both adults and kids happy and, of course, good value. But move fast: half-term is looming, and the best value deals are selling like hot cakes.

And wherever you go, don't forget travel insurance and vigilance – the last thing you want is to find you've to seek compensation on your return because of hoteliers' failings.