Last-minute half term family holidays
Holidays are easy again, so half term is the perfect time for you and the family to get away. We round up seven of our favourite half term breaks
Holidays are easy again!
From long-haul adventures to citybreaks just a couple of hours away, there's still plenty of time to book a half-term break.
The rules for travelling with kids may be confusing, especially if you've not tried it since 2019, but that's why we're here to help. Most destinations will admit under-12s without a test or a check so long as they're travelling with fully-vaxxed adults; those that won't we've left off this guide; and we've suggested three countries with more generous policies on admitting kids, including one with no restrictions at all.
Perfect last-minute family breaks for half-term
Great for: an affordable, exotic family adventure
Turkey just came off the UK's red list so there's still surprisingly affordable holidays heading out there, even over half term. Just four hours away but properly exotic, Istanbul is an adventure for the whole family while the beaches along the southern coast rival anything you'll find in Greece or Spain.
Kids under 12 are exempt from testing and vaccination requirements. Over-12s must present proof of vaccination or recovery, a PCR or (here's another cost-saving!) an antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival.
Want to know more about Turkey?
Great for: waterparks, sea life and kid-friendly beaches
All of the Greek islands are beautiful, and October is the perfect time to go when the crowds begin to thin out and the weather goes from scorching to pleasantly warm. Why then Zante in particular this half term? Partly because the waterparks on many of the bigger islands are closed this half term, and Zante's is open; partly because the beaches on the east side of the island are gentle and great for kids; but also because the caves, dophins and turtles you'll see in the sea around Zante make it more than just a beach holiday.
Getting the kids into Greece is straighhtforward - like Turkey, everyone over 12 needs either proof of vaccination or recovery or a PCR or antigen test. Under 12s are exempt though, so if you're travelling with younger kids you just roll them onto the plane and off at the other end.
Don't forget! We have loads of handy travel guides for the Greek islands, including Kos, Rhodes and Santorini.
Great for: a longer adventure with no Covid checks at all
If you want an absolutely zero-admin holiday, Mexico has absolutely no restrictions coming in. And since it just came off the UK's red list, it's back home at the end of your trip with no tests either, just a test two days after you come back.
There's no hiding the fact that it's a long way - 11 hours direct from London to Cancun. But once you're there...the beaches are idyllic, the ruins just down the coast at Coba and Chichen Itza some of the most remarkable in the world and if you want to spend your holiday snorkelling the Yucatan Peninsula has the world's second largest barrier reef.
Watch our Cancun video guide or read it in the link below
Great for: older kids to get away from it in a true wilderness
Iceland's close - under 3 hours from London or Manchester - and this is the perfect time of year to go before the roads are all blocked by snowdrifts! Iceland makes for a great long weekend taking in the Golden Circle around Reykjavik or a longer trip driving the coast roads and seeing more whales and waterfalls each day than other cars.
Iceland also has the unusual policy of exempting under-16s from Covid testing, unlike almost everywhere else in Europe where it's under-12s. So if you're travelling with older children who haven't had the jabs, this is somewhere it won't matter so long as you've had yours.
Watch our Iceland video guide or read it in the link below
Great for: getting lost together in the backstreets of Kings Landing
Famous now as the set of Kings Landing, Dubrovnik makes a great citybreak, and the warm Adriatic coast is a tempting alternative to the better-known beach resorts of Greece or Turkey. Dubrovnik and Zagreb are both less than three hours from London so even a shorter half-term break is feasible enough.
Croatia treats vaxxed and unvaxxed visitors from the UK just the same - you need to take a either an antigen test 48 hours before you land or a PCR test no more than 72 hours before you land. Children under twelve are exempt from testing; children over 12 need a test to come in.
Holidays without the jabs
Here's our top destinations open to unvaccinated travellers
Great for: warm, child-friendly beaches all year round
One of the smaller Canary Islands and all the more charming for it, Lanzarote is a great choice for a half-term break. The islands recently declared victory over Covid as cases dwindled to a bare handful, so if you're looking for somewhere to get away from the pandemic the Canaries right now look like a great bet. The waterparks are open, the main tourist beaches - especially Plya Dorado - are child-friendly with shallow waters and tiny fish swimming by, and Submarine Safaris offer an underwater adventure that'll amaze the little ones.
Watch our Lanzarote video or read our guide below
Great for: leaving the kids to it while you relax with a drink
Another European anomaly, like Iceland Copenhagen exempts kids from Covid testing all the way up to 16. The local tourist board claims that the city is so safe and child-friendly that it's normal for the locals to leave infants sleeping unattended outside the city's shops and markets. Wheteher you feel safe enough to do the same is up to you, but this is certainly pitched as a city for free-range children, with playgrounds and parks around every corner, some of which are even staffed so you can leave the kids to it while you enjoy a coffee.