Welcome to the self-made package holiday: July. Yes, yes – I know it’s June. But you have to have a little time to plan! Are you new to travelling independently, or have you been out-savvying the holiday shop for as long as you can remember? Either way, we thought we’d take on some of the hard work for you, and plan ahead for your family’s week away in the sun (or snow, or rain – we won’t judge!) come Sunday the 13th July 2014.
“But prices are so extortionate during the school holidays!”
Yep, you’re spot on there – but don’t let the tour operators pile on extra commission. I’ve spent a few hours packaging up three of our favourite July holidays for a family of four. It’s that easy. What do you do? Just click on the links and get booking. Don’t say we’re not good to you!
|Lake Garda||£262.51||Villa||7 Nights||easyJet|
|Devon||£142.10||Apartment||7 Nights||First Great Western|
Lake Garda , Italy
Whether you’re out for the world’s finest ice-cream or want to bask in Mediterranean sun (both, I’d wager), Lake Garda is one of the best places to visit come July. As Italy’s largest lake, it offers a wide range of holidays – and its Verona banks some of the best. Ancient history; soaring natural landscapes; gourmet wine tours: Mum and Dad will certainly love Italy at its most authentic. And the kids? Being a lake, all sorts of water sports are on offer, from the rip-roaring to the more serene – I remember when my family visited over 10 years ago, my brother just dipped in a fishing line. Oh, and me eating my weight in Pistachio ice-cream – yum!
How to get there: With Skyscanner, the cheapest direct return flights will cost £766.04 when booked with easyJet. Fly from London Gatwick (LGW) to Verona Villafranca (VRN). Once there, the drive to our sample holiday home takes just 17 minutes on the Tangenziale Sud.
Where to stay : Sample holiday home anyone? You won’t all be able to stay in this small yet oh-so elegant apartment in San Martino Buon Albergo, but it’s just one of 419 available rentals we have in the Verona Lake Garda area. This one will set you back £853 for the week, but our cheapest Verona holiday homes are priced from just £284. Set in a prominent wine growing area, it’s a great base for exploring the wider area – that said, the pool, tennis courts and local wineries will probably keep you at home for a few days…
Some of us just don’t fancy the flights and frills – we’d rather take it easy in a traditional English destination. And, if the likes of Dartmoor National Park or the English Rivera sounds up your street, Devon could be just the right spot. Come July, you really do have the spoils of both countryside and coast on your doorstep, whether you want an afternoon in weirdly named Westward Ho! or an afternoon of thrills and chills in Crealy Great Adventure Park or Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. That’s a whole lotta parks for little people… I remember visiting Devon when I was just five years old; I was (unfortunately) chased by a baby bull to my Dad’s hilarity. Needless to say there were some happier farm animals too!
How to get there: With National Rail, the cheapest return train tickets will cost £218.40 for a family of four. Travel from London Paddington (PAD) to Tiverton Parkway (TVP). Of course, you can always just hop along the M5, before jumping off at junction 27. From London, it’ll take 3 hours and 15 minutes to drive to our sample holiday home.
Where to stay : Sample holiday home anyone? Set in Tiverton, the largest town in Mid Devon, this luxurious apartment is perfect for a family of four. With baby animals on site, the kids will love playing with the donkeys and pygmy goats. Surrounded by castles, gardens and canals, it’s just one of 412 available rentals we have in the Devon area. This one will set you back £480 for the week, but our cheapest Devon holiday homes are priced from just £350. Visit Tiverton Castle and soak up its 900 years of history, or make the most of the sunshine with a sailing trip on Wimbleball Reservoir. And if the weather plays up? No problem: the heated indoor and outdoor pools will make sure everyone’s kept happy.
Corse du Sud, Corsica
Our third and final package holiday takes you to Corsica, an island of unspeakable beauty and to-die-for sunsets. Specifically, we’re off to the South, where you’ll find Ajaccio – and, not too far away, the Sanguinaires Isles rising majestically from the sea. Directly in line with the La Tour de la Parata, they’re a haven for wildlife – dolphins and seabirds alike – and were described by Alphonse Daudet thus: “Imagine a wild and blood-red island with a lighthouse at one end and old Genoese tower at the other… Another beautiful place I have found for dreaming and for being alone”. You won’t be alone of course; bring the whole family along for that paradise sunset.
How to get there: With Skyscanner, the cheapest direct return flights will cost £714.52 when booked with easyJet. Fly from London Gatwick (LGW) to Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte (AJA). Once there, the drive to our sample holiday home takes just 32 minutes on the D111.
Where to stay : Sample holiday home anyone? This modern, bright apartment might not be the biggest holiday home you’ve ever had – but with what you’ll find outside, you’ll want to spend most of your time exploring. And, truth be told, it’s the sea view that makes it for me. The garden outside is lush and verdant, outshined only by the incredible sea which laps on the rocks just steps away. Set along the Route des Sanguinaires, it’s the perfect midpoint between Ajaccio and the isles themselves, though one of 2,679 available rentals we have on Corsica’s Corse du Sud. This one will set you back £811 for the week, but our cheapest holiday homes in Corsica are priced from just £172. This one’s all about sea, sun and taking life easy. You deserve it right?
Let us know your thoughts. When did you make the move to booking your own flights and accommodation? And what do you love about holiday homes that you don’t get from a hotel? We’re a gossipy bunch here at the HomeAway Blog, and we’d love you to get in touch with your suggestions for our next edition.
So for now, stay travel savvy,
the HomeAway Team x
*All prices are based on a family of 2 adults and 2 children travelling in mid-July 2014. All rates quoted with external websites were valid at the time of research (June 2014). HomeAway.co.uk accepts no liability for the availability of quoted rates.