Heading abroad over the summer break can be extremely expensive at the best of times - and an increasing number of British families are now deciding to take their annual holiday during term time instead. If you're thinking about following suit, you've come to the right place.
Before you go booking your flights and stocking up on sunblock, it's a good idea to read up on the law around term time holidays and make sure you know exactly what you're dealing with.
The headline is that it's an offence to take your child out of school unless they are sick, or you have advance permission from the school question. That second one is the caveat you can take advantage of, though, by contacting the headteacher of your child's school directly, and asking them to sanction a period of leave.
Bear in mind that how much, if any, leave they grant will be entirely at their discretion. Generally you should cap your requests at 10 days per year, and even then the school may be influenced by the proximity to exam season, so it's a good idea to go at a relatively quiet time of the school year (usually after Christmas is the safest bet).
Literally speaking, you can go without the school's permission and simply risk the fine of £60, but flagrantly disregarding the law like this isn't something we'd recommend, and schools are obliged to inform the local authorities of any absences so it's unlikely you'll get off Scott free.
Ultimately, it just won't look good, and if you fail to pay it the fine will go up and up, and you could find yourself in court. Our advice is go through the proper channels.
Aside from the law, it's also obviously a good idea to weigh up the cost and benefit of taking your child out of school for a couple of weeks, as it could see them fall behind on their studies.
Due to lower demand, destinations that would normally be expensive over the traditional summer and winter holiday windows are relatively cheap during term time.
Popular destinations like Spain and Greece are roughly 25% cheaper outside of the peak months, and in monetary terms that comes out at around £300 to £500 of savings. It means you can travel on a shoe-string budget without having to compromise on the quality of your flight or hotel service.
As for weather, unconventional holiday seasons represent the opportune time to broaden your horizons and explore some countries you hadn't considered previously. The Scandinavian countries like Norway are ideal for new year skiing trips, for example, and you can also check out places like Egypt and Morocco, which cool to the low twenties during the spring.
The downside to term time holidays is that activities can be scarce when resorts aren't prepared for an influx of tourists. Whilst places like Disneyland are much easier to navigate when there's less holidaymakers around, you can't guarantee all of the facilities will be open for business.