Jeremy Gates rounds up the latest travel news and how families can grab a bargain break
If you want an Easter break to lift the spirits after the cold months of winter, the only problem could be getting flights on peak days of the holiday weekend.
Mandy Round, general manager at easyJet Holidays, says: “An early Easter follows quickly after half-term this year, so families who miss one break will want to get away on the other. Because of the flights situation, smart travellers will escape on Wednesday [March 27] or early Thursday and return after Easter Monday [April 1]. We have fantastic city breaks in Barcelona and Amsterdam, and great deals on weeks too, especially if you avoid Saturday to Saturday travel days when prices are highest.”
The big sellers for the Easter weekend from easyJet Holidays include three nights’ B&B at a four-star hotel in Rome for £342, and two nights’ B&B in Barcelona from £265.
Seven-night all-inclusives on the Algarve start at £329, with Easter Monday departures from Gatwick.
Calum Macdonald from Latedeals.co.uk advises: “A week’s holiday from March 27 could mean that you’re away over the two bank holidays (Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday), using fewer days from your holiday allowance
“It’s also during the school holidays - so if a family getaway for less is required, this is a good time to book.
“In terms of destinations, Majorca flights start at the end of March, so there are always well-priced deals. Other short-haul destinations with good prices at this time of year include the Costa Blanca and Costa Del Sol.
“Turkey and Tunisia are also good options for late deals right now.”
Easter ‘specials’ from Latedeals.co.uk include two weeks’ half-board at the four-star Luabay Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz, from £1207 for two adults and one child, with flights from Gatwick on March 23.
There are also 25 per cent discounts on all-inclusives in Tunisia, with 14 nights at El Mouradi Club Kantaoui from £1362 for two adults and one child, including flights from Gatwick on March 24.
At Olympic Holidays, a big discounter in the summer, spokeswoman Jane Williams says its Easter deals take in the Red Sea and Luxor, or Goa.
Seven nights’ all-inclusive at the four-star Coral Beach Montazah Hotel, with a splendid lagoon-style pool and dive centre at the beach, in Sharm el-Sheikh, is down £175 to £639, and includes flights from Manchester on April 4 and transfers.
Olympic Holidays also offers seven nights’ all-inclusive at the four-star Panorama Hotel in El Gouna for £629, saving £95, with flights from Gatwick on April 2.
Without too much work, you’ll find price cuts of up to 35 per cent on seven-night Easter breaks for camping and mobile home holidays in Italy - with a seven-night break in Tuscany starting at £241 through Venue Holidays.
In the long-haul sector, Hayes & Jarvis head of commercial Sean Dowd says Dubai will continue to thrive.
“Dubai’s holiday demand this winter has been fuelled by great last-minute deals, and our Long-Haul Trend Report reveals a 50 per cent surge in bookings in the early weeks of 2013.”
A five-star Easter break in Dubai, with four nights’ B&B at the five-star Movenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate, starts at £995, saving £229, with BA flights from Heathrow on March 28 and transfers.
Dowd says: “There are still good savings to be found over Easter. The big issue is always flight availability. But further afield there are savings to be found on tailor-made trips to the Far East, including Vietnam, which is currently one of our best-sellers.”
Hayes & Jarvis promises a mix of breathtaking culture, heritage and landscape from March 26 with a nine-night ‘Journey Through Vietnam’, via Hanoi, Hoi An, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as an overnight stay on a traditional junk boat in Ha Long Bay.
The package for £1599, saving £335, includes nine nights’ accommodation, Singapore Airlines flights from Heathrow, transfers, air-con transport and guide.
Dowd adds: “Other good bets for late bookers are Egypt and Mauritius, with packages currently discounted by up to 30 per cent for Easter.”
Families worried by the fall in sterling who plan to stay in the UK for the Easter break should also find deals aplenty.
HF Holidays, the UK’s largest walking holiday organisation, has knocked £75 off many country house packages, including seven nights at Newfield Hall, a grand 19th century country house in extensive grounds at Malhamdale, from March 29 for £574.
Other guided walking locations with HF Holidays for Easter include Snowdonia, Northumberland, Dartmoor, Lakeland and the South Downs.