We’ll keep this brief because time is of the essence.

Last minute holidays: they’re fun, they’re spontaneous, they happen.

Whilst the vast majority of you will have booked your family summer holiday months in advance sometimes, for whatever reason, things might not work out that way.

Fear not! Whilst many destinations like Namibia have been booked solid for months, there’s still some utterly fabulous places where there’s still late availability – if you move fast.

We like to call this ‘The Carpe Diem Collection’

Where: Costa Rica

Last minute family summer holiday in Costa Rica - girl with huge blue butterfly

Beach, wildlife and volcanoes, what’s not to like…

Why go this summer? It’s almost like the European family summer holiday gods planned it. The break in the rainy season falls in late July and August, before resuming again once the younger folk have gone back to school. Costa Ricans call this mini-dry season ‘veranillo’. It’s verdant. And there’s fewer tourists than usual. Packed with exciting activities and to-die for jungle, volcano and beach scenery, the question should really be, who ISN’T going to Costa Rica this summer?!

Don’t miss: Our Costa Rica with Kids blog, for must-do activities for all the family.

Be inspired: Costa Rica Highlights

Where? China

family summer holiday in china - kids posing with the terracotta warriors

Terracotta kids in Xian

Why go this summer? In a country as vast as this, you need time to travel to and experience the many sights and sites it has on offer. Having been travelling here for over 20 years (Liddy used to be a tour guide here, don’t you know?), we know exactly where you’ll be able to find the best climate and weather, accommodation availability and enough activities to keep even the most Haribo-happy content (learn Kung Fu at the Shaolin Monastery, anyone?).

Don’t miss: Yangshuo, for its karst limestone scenery and other-worldliness.

Be inspired: China Highlights in 3 weeks

Where? Cuba

Vinales - Places to visit in Cuba

Explore the gorgeous landscapes of Vinales by horse, cart or mountain bike

Why go this summer? Tourism went bonkers in Cuba over the last couple of years, that is until Hurricana Irma hit in September 2017. Thankfully, the areas where the hurricane hit have now largely recovered which means Cuba is back with a bang! Whilst many of the large hotels may be full and unable to accommodate last minute bookings, we can always find the locally run casas, the most authentic accommodation on the island – even at the last minute.

Don’t Miss: A horseback ride through the beautiful countryside surrounding Vinales, with or without cigar.

Be inspired: Want to know what a Cuba trip is like, day by day? See how our very own Helene found her recent trip in her ‘Postcards from Cuba’ blog. Depending on how much time you have, take a look at our sample itineraries Highlights of Cuba (10 days) and Cuba in Two Weeks.

Where: Vietnam

Dining al fresco on a family holiday in Vietnam

Dining al fresco in Vietnam

Why go this summer? Our advice for travelling to Vietnam in the summer is: go earlier in the school holidays (mid July – mid August) if at all possible. Summer in Vietnam is a mixed bag, weather wise, with the south in its wet season and the north very hot and humid with late afternoon rain. The centre of Vietnam, though. Oh yes! You can expect predominantly hot weather and (our favourite) far fewer crowds than at other times of year. And, even if you do head south, the rain, like many places in the tropics, doesn’t usually arrive until mid afternoon.

Don’t miss: Cycling around the back streets of Hanoi and hanging out on the beach at Hoi An. Check out our Top 10 things to do in Vietnam with kids review.

Be inspired: Highlights of Vietnam

Where? Peru

family summer holiday in Peru, enjoying activities in the Sacred Valley

Peru’s Sacred Valley, is an exciting hub for summer family holiday activities

Why go this summer? A southern hemisphere destination, Peru’s winter (May – September) is the driest and therefore also the best season to travel in, particularly in the Sacred Valley area, around Machu Picchu and Cusco. Need more inspiration for a summer family holiday? Have a look at our Top Ten Things to do with the Family in Peru guide.

Don’t miss: Zip lining, white water rafting, hiking and cycling in the high-octane, adrenaline sports centre of the Sacred Valley.

Be inspired: Highlights of Peru in 3 weeks

Where? Belize

Actun Tunichil Mucknal - Belize - Summer family holidays

Explore the ancient cave systems at Actun Tunichil Muknal

Why go this summer? Like its better-known neighbour, Costa Rica, there’s a break in the wet season during the UK school summer holidays. We can’t guarantee wall to wall sunshine, but given the tropical warm waters, the pristine beaches, far fewer tourists and friendly people, we really don’t think you’ll mind.

Don’t miss: Cave exploration at Actun Tunichil Muknal, one of the most exciting activities you can do in Central America. Be warned, there are skeletons…

Be inspired: See our Belize photo blog for a great round up of things to do with the family such as those you’ll find on our Belize Adventure Highlights trip.

Where? Egypt

Egypt with kids - family on Nile cruise - Summer family holidays

See Tutankhamun’s treasures, sunset camel ride at the Pyramids and spend the night on board a felucca

Why go this summer? In a word: ‘budget’. At this time of still-struggling-a-bit sterling, Egypt is one of the most inexpensive destinations we offer. Yes, it will be hot, but it’s a dry heat and almost all the hotels have pools for you to cool off in after a morning’s Sphinx-seeing and Pyramid-peering.

Don’t Miss: A Felucca cruise along the Nile, not only for a splendid way to sight-see, but cooled by breezes, too.

Be inspired: As well as Egypt, many families combine a trip with neighbouring Jordan. See our Highlights of Egypt and Egypt & Jordan Highlights for details.

Where? Cambodia

Two young women abseiling in Cambodia

Mix up temples with abseiling and zip-lining as well as boat trips on the Mekong River

Why go this summer? We get a lot of questions about travelling in green season, and every single member of the Stubborn Mule team has done it. Why? Well, it’s much less crowded than peak season, giving you first dibs on sights and fantastic accommodation, but it’s also SO much less rainy than one ever expects. In South East Asia, you generally have hours of the day to enjoy before the clouds gather and rain falls from around 2pm, sometimes as late as 4pm, and once it does, the air clears and the cycle starts again. Find out how top UK family travel blogger, Cathy Winston, found travelling to Cambodia during green season here. An awfully big adventure and 12 reasons to travel to Cambodia with kids

Don’t Miss: A stay in an Eco Retreat in the Cardamom Mountains or a luxurious stay in a floating tent hotel (really!)

Be inspired: We tailor make itineraries according to the season but have a look at our 15 day sample itinerary, Cambodia Highlights

Where? Burma

Summer family holiday in Burma - brother and sister explore the temples

Explore Bagan’s temples, Ava by horse and cart and bathe elephants at Kalaw

Why go this summer? Hang on. Isn’t it monsoon season? Well yes, it is, but whilst the beaches are likely to be wet, there’s still plenty of sunshine on the dry central plains around Bagan and Mandalay, the perfect conditions in which to explore.

Don’t Miss: A day spent looking after elephants in the Green Hill Elephant Centre, washing them, playing with them and trying – and failing – not to get splashed by them.

Be inspired: Our 15 day ‘Burma in Summer’ trip packs a big punch when it comes to keeping everyone happy.

What are you waiting for?

Last minute summer family holiday ideas for 2018

For an itinerary tailored to your dates and family requirements and a quote, do ring us for a chat as soon as you can or email via our online form.

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel
I’m always interested to hear about your travels so do email me with your experiences and feedback on your summer family holiday.