There are still good deals going for package holidays this summer, including to southern Africa, the Czech Republic and Italy.
Travel Deals: Time for a summer getaway
Save up to £600 (Dh3,533) per couple on a six-night, luxury guided tour of South Africa that takes in Kruger, Swaziland and the Hluhluwe Game Reserve organised by the tailor-made travel specialist Rainbow Tours. From Durban International Airport, there's time to explore the city before travelling up the Elephant Coast of KwaZulu Natal to St Lucia, at the south end of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a Unesco World Heritage site.
A boat trip provides the opportunity to see crocodiles, hippos, and numerous bird species including the African Kingfisher Eagle. A drive into the mountains and a trip to a Zulu homestead completes the day. There's the chance to spot rare white rhino on an afternoon game drive at the Hlukluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve before travelling to the mountainous kingdom of Swaziland.
Here it's time to shop for local crafts and artworks before another game drive in an open safari vehicle at Kruger National Park, famously home to an impressive array of species, with the option to take a second evening drive. The tour ends in Johannesburg. Trips depart on July 25, August 1 and September 12 and cost £1,155 (Dh6,802) per person, land only, including accommodation, most meals, activities and park fees. To book, visit www.rainbowtours.co.uk.
The Czech Republic
For the chance to take in memorable sights of a different kind, book a long weekend in Prague with Emirates Holidays. The local tour company has a number of good-value offers at five-star hotels located within walking distance of some of the city's most famous sights such as Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and the Old Town Square.
Stay four nights and pay for three at the following hotels: the Hotel Palace Praha for Dh5,323; the InterContinental Praha for Dh5,429; the Kempinski Hybernska Prague for Dh5,545; and the Mandarin Oriental Prague for Dh5,291. All prices listed above are per person on a twin-sharing basis and include return economy airfares from Dubai, breakfast, airport transfers and taxes. Offers are available for travel from the first week of this month until early September, and March next year. For further information, visit www.emirates-holidays.com or call 800 5252.
Slovakia and Poland
A summer holiday need not mean lazing on a beach. At the opposite end of the indolence scale is this eight-day walking holiday in the Slovakian High Tatras. On this "moderate to challenging" collection of daily walks along well-marked hiking paths, you'll have the chance to admire the wide plains, forests, and high peaks of this beautiful region.
The trip begins in Kracow, before transferring to the foot of the High Tatra mountain range. Based at Hrebienok above the town of Stary Smokovec, walks explore the waterfalls of Studeny Potok, the forested Dolina Siedmich or Seven Springs, the nature reserve of Skalnata Dolina valley with its beautiful lake and Institute of Astronomy, and Mala Studena valley including a demanding ascent of Terycho Chata peak to 2,015 metres. The high point of the trip is the ascent of Slavkovsky Stit at 2,452m with a full day in the mountains before exploring Kracow on the last day. This small-group walking holiday departs in July, August and September, and costs £619 (Dh3,628) per person through Exodus, land only including some meals. To book, visit www.exodus.co.uk or call 00 44 208 675 5550.
The more gentle hills of Tuscany provide the inspiration on this painting holiday organised by the Watermill at Posara. Courses take place at the mill, which has comfortable, apartment-style accommodation and extensive gardens situated on the outskirts of a traditional village near Fivizzano.
From August 27 to September 3, improve your watercolour technique with the help of Danish painter Annelise Pio Hansen for £1,116 (Dh6,570) per person based on two people sharing, including all meals and drinks, local excursions and airport transfers from Pisa.
If you book a creative writing or painting holiday for 2012 by the end of this year, you'll receive a £75 (Dh442) discount. New writing courses for next year include "how to write your memoir" and "writing romantic fiction: beyond the hearts and flowers". To book, visit www.watermill.net.