The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel

It’s not too late to beat the summer rush

If you’re free to travel in term time, there are still plenty of options left for a sunshine fix outside peak season. Laura Fowler picks 20 of the best


Last August, on a delayed, oversold, cacophonou­s flight home from a family holiday in Spain, we waited on the runway for a take-off slot. Babies cried, children kicked the seat in front, and the few adults without children felt obliged to make conversati­on.

A woman in the row behind me asked her neighbours if they had enjoyed their holiday. Well, said the lady, the hotel was lovely, you couldn’t fault it, except it was full of screaming kids. You couldn’t get near the pool, and the buffet was bedlam. She and Alan couldn’t understand why on earth the hotel didn’t ban children from the restaurant in the evening.

What I can’t understand, I thought irritably as I asked my son again to stop scraping the window blind up and down, is why on earth anybody would choose to go to Spain during the school holidays unless they absolutely had to.

August in Europe is hellishly busy, hellishly expensive, and hellishly hot. There are 10 million school children in Britain alone; and 76 million of them in the EU. All those families, trying to bag the same flights, the same hotels, the same sunlounger­s on the same beaches and all in the same beloved honeypots.

People who don’t have children to go on holiday with, or who don’t teach in schools or colleges, have the luxury of choice regarding when and where to take their summer break – so why choose August and late July? Not only are prices lower and destinatio­ns quieter outside the school summer holidays, but June and September are better weather-wise, too.

June in the Mediterran­ean is heaven. It’s a time when summer is still fresh in the air, the days are warm but not too hot, and the evenings long and light. Sun spangles the bright water; a rush of jasmine and orange blossom scents piazzas, sweet and soapy.

Now is the time for the quiet roads and pristine beaches, the pick of restaurant tables and hotel rooms, and flight tickets at a fraction of the price they reach in high season. There is a feeling of optimism and excitement in the air. You are the early birds. Everything is gearing up for the season; it is the calm before the storm, the exclusive preview before the party really gets started and the masses descend.

So if this is you: go, quick, and have your pick. Before 76 million school children get there first.

 ?? ?? Still waters: avoid the school-holiday scrum and bag a serene seat poolside in Mallorca in June or September
Still waters: avoid the school-holiday scrum and bag a serene seat poolside in Mallorca in June or September

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