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It's almost time for the kids to break up for half-term, so there's the usual rush to snap up some holiday bargains. Thanks to the stiff penalties imposed on parents who take their children out of school during term time, it's more important than ever to ensure that you tailor your holiday to fit in with your school's dates. The situation becomes particularly difficult for families with children at different schools, as not all holiday dates are the same.

If you're struggling to find a solution that fits in with your family's situation, then why not consider a short break or even two or three nights away? Depending on the ages of your children, you could opt or a European city break or even take in a couple of cities. Who says that a holiday has to based in one place?

A quick hop across the Channel opens up the delights of northern France, or you could spend a couple of nights introducing youngsters to the delights of Paris - perfect for students who are learning French, as it presents them with the opportunity to try out their language skills. The same applies to students of Spanish, German and Italian, as a visit to any of these countries can provide a boost to performance in the classroom for the rest of the year.

May is a particularly good time to head for the Mediterranean. You might not beat the crowds, but you'll be able to enjoy some fantastic weather before the scorching summer heat kicks in. If you have young children, then a hotel that offers childcare facilities or a babysitting service can be useful, as it allows you to spend some grown-up time together, or you could always a bribe a teenager to babysit for you for a couple of hours!

Of course, you don't have to go abroad to experience a great family holiday. Here in Britain we've got some amazing scenery, with mountains, rivers, lakes, cities, towns and beaches to explore. And because we live on a relatively small island, it means that you don't have to spend too much time travelling - holiday traffic jams excepted, of course.

Ask everyone in your family to list their ideal holiday destinations, and see if you can work out an itinerary that caters for all of you. You could include a trip to a theme park, an activity such as swimming, pony trekking or hiking and a bit of culture with some visits to castles, stately homes and museums. Make sure that everyone gets to pick an activity to minimise squabbles, and allow some down time for reading, playing cards or that favourite standby of youngsters everywhere - the games console.

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