The daily commute and demands of juggling a hectic social and family life can leave you in the doldrums at this grey old time of year. What you need is a pick-me-up – so what about planning a getaway that’s both rejuvenating and good for the soul, to set you back on track? Here are a few of our favourite ideas for a rewarding trip away:
Desert Island – The ultimate get-away-from-it-all holiday. Splash the cash and you could find yourself on a deserted beach in the Maldives, but there are desert (or at least, nearly deserted) islands closer to home. What about an early season break to sunny Croatia – home to some of the quietest islands in the Med – such as
Scedro, a protected nature reserve offering just a single rental property to stay in, some hushed monastic ruins and a scattering of idyllic sandy coves to recuperate in. Closer to home, book a cottage in Tresco in the Scilly Isles – a tiny family-owned island with unspoilt beaches just 28 miles off the coast of Land’s End. Perfect for a romantic weekend break or a get together with your closest friends.
Quality time – A holiday with your family, be it with little ones or with older relatives, is always worthwhile experience – but as most of us know, these types of holiday can easily veer off the stress scale. So to limit stress, go for a break with plenty to do to keep everyone occupied, with activities all age groups can do together. Family activity holidays based in Portugal are perfect for teens but suitable for ages 5 and up, and include surf lessons (with inflatable ‘Splizer Surf’ boards for younger kids) canoeing and jeep safaris. Further afield, if you’re looking to combine the trip of a lifetime with characters from your kids' favourite cartoons, the options aren’t limited to Disneyland - why not wow them with the wildlife of the real Madagascar?
Indulge – There’s nothing like the indulgence of whisking yourself to a spa for serious relaxation, all in the name of health and vigor – if you want to try something different to a country house retreat, try a boutique hotel break in Marrakesh for traditional hammam spa treatments, or head further afield to Thailand for great value spa packages. If you want to go it alone, a yoga retreat in India is a great solo holiday and should leave you revitalised, ready to face the perils of daily life back in the UK.
Give something back – a volunteering abroad break needn’t be limited to gap years and lengthy career sabbaticals, there’s plenty you can do to contribute even if you just have a week or two to spare. Set a goal to raise some cash for charity with a sponsored trek up Kilimanjaro, or do your bit for science with a 1-2 week marine conservation sailing holiday in Greece (currently under £560 excluding flights though Responsible Travel). Alternatively, dedicate some time to working with children - specialist companies such as Original Volunteers will arrange for you to lend support in a school for 2-4 weeks in locations such as Cambodia and Ghana through to South American destinations.