I lamented an action-packed vacation staying at boutique hotels or cabins in the woods. But eventually I got over myself and accepted the vacation for what it was; the pool was refreshing, the weather was sunny and always between 8 and 30, and despite the wars for lounge chairs you could still find one even at the busiest hours of the day – if not in the best place. The food was plentiful, if not particularly inspiring, and the alcohol flowed freely, with the bar open until 1am every day.
Hotel service was slow but the independent TUI staff were fantastic – on hand to help with anything and set up daily water aerobics as well as other games and entertainment. Turns out I have a soft spot for “organized fun” – everyone was so relieved to just be away, surrounded by friends or family, that the energy was infectious.
Plus, TUI has made all testing and paperwork easier – a process independent travelers still have to go through on their own. So yes, while there was no adventure and no sense of discovery included in the package, we managed to create our own. We had fun meeting new people and hired a car for a few days to get out and explore the island. For what we were looking for from a last minute break this did the trick. We had our dose of sunshine, discovered a new place and had no worries the whole trip.
A seven night vacation at TUI Blue Atlantica Bay in Limassol, Cyprus costs from £ 737 per person, including flights from Gatwick, bus transfer, all meals and local alcohol (020 3451 2688; tui.co.uk).
Five of the best vacation packages
Are you in a similar situation, desperate for a very short term vacation, with a desire for sunshine and for everything to be very, very simple? Here are five last-minute all-inclusive packages with availability on half-board.
Fun-inclusive in Mallorca
The Sol Katmandu Park & Resort has taken “organized entertainment” a step further by introducing the first “fun-inclusive” offer in Mallorca, Spain. The resort promises daytime activities for kids, including Kamp Katakidu (8 months to 12 years old) and access to Katmandu Park. On the beach (0871 474 3000; onthebeach.co.uk) offers a seven-night holiday from £ 518 per person, flights from Luton; departure on October 25
Faliraki for families in Rhodes
While you might dismiss Greece as being cold at the end of October, the weather still persists in the lows 20s, making it more than tolerable for little people to splash around in the sun all day. The Cyprotel Faliraki offers entertainment for children, a water park with slides and paddling pool, as well as a playground. A week here with Thomas Cook (020 8016 3295; thomascook.com) costs from £ 640 per person, including flights from Stansted; departure on October 21
Babies are welcome in Turkey
The British celebrated their return to Turkey last month and the country offers sunny weather until November. TUI Blue Tropical is a dedicated family resort located directly on Dalaman Beach. In addition to children’s clubs, entertainment, slides, slides and paddling pools, there is also a paddling pool and baby lounge, as well as a Turkish bath and sauna where adults can enjoy a moment of relaxation. relaxation. Seven nights with TUI (020 3451 2688; tui.co.uk) cost from £ 1,171 per person for two adults and two children. Includes flights from Gatwick; departure on October 23
Wet’n’wild in Zakynthos
You’ll have a hard time keeping children away from the water at Caretta Beach Resort & Waterpark in Zakynthos, Greece. Unless you can tempt them to prune with the bouncy castles, go-karts and trampoline at the on-site Fun Park. The beach is also just five minutes away. Seven nights for a family of three cost from £ 975 per person with Olympic Holidays (020 8492 6868; olympicholidays.com). Includes flights from Manchester; departure on October 24
Go big or stay at home in the Maldives
Penny couldn’t make it to the Maldives, but you could make it to this Indian Ocean idyll in time for the holidays. This package from Kuoni (0800 140 4812; kuoni.co.uk) includes seven nights in Kurumba Maldives in a luxury bungalow and flights from Heathrow. From £ 10,599 for a family of four; departure on October 23