Beat the winter blues – book up a January getaway now!

January – it’s just around the corner, and perhaps the most depressing month of the year. We find ourselves with bare bank accounts, bulging waistlines and a freezing temperature to boot. The unsolicited reality of the New Year can no doubt leave us feeling rather miserable, so why not escape the dreary post-festive season and book a quick break away. Ozel Rowland picks some of the best January getaway destinations…go on, book up now!

The Algarve

Regarded as Portugal’s most premier holiday destination, the Algarve can reach averages of up to 16˚C in January and is loved for its beautiful coastal setting lined with magnificent limestone rocks. Go on a walking expedition, or book a boat trip, through a scenic route of the cliffs of Ponta de Piedade in Lagos, or head over to the wilderness of the west coast to discover Cabo de São Vicente, Portugal’s least developed region for a quiet retreat. If it’s a bit of culture and sight-seeing you’re after then discover the town of Faro to get a feel for Portuguese life in the old town. Book your getaway with bargain prices from £120pp.

Punta Cana  

Lining the eastern edge of the Dominican Republic’s is more than 50km of a stunning white coastline where you can get your dose of sun, sea and sand. The renowned Coconut Coast is a favourite among many for its dramatic seascape and lofty palm trees, as well as its abundant water sport activities and buzzing night scene. Temperatures can reach an impressive high of 29˚C as January marks the start of the island’s dry season, so you can lounge to your heart’s content on the beachfront before taking a dip in the crystalline waters of the Caribbean. Otherwise, why not explore the land and visit the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve to get up close with local wild life and tour its 12 freshwater lagoons. Find deals starting from £638.50 and begin your journey to this exquisite island today.

Antalya

Sitting along the glittering turquoise coast of the Turkish Riviera is Turkey‘s largest and most popular resort. Visit Antalya this January and find yourself in the narrow cobbled streets of Kaleici, the city’s historic quarter, to see beautifully preserved ancient Roman landmarks such as Hadrian’s Gate and Hidirlik Tower. Take a break at one of the many restaurants and get lost in the view of the Marina below before checking out the Antalya Archaeological Museum, where you can discover even more about the city’s rich history. For a more tranquil experience take a stroll along the coast or visit one of Antalya’s beautiful parks for picturesque landscapes and greenery. Temperatures in January can reach averages of up to 15˚C and with prices starting from £235 you wouldn’t want to miss out on this Turkish delight.

Gran Canaria  

The Gran Canaria is classic holiday destination that offers an eclectic mix of options for visitors. Whether it’s for a relaxing getaway on a beach, heady nightlife, or an active adventure of hiking and rock climbing, there’s much to enjoy on this fabulous island. While January is the coolest month of the year with averages at 17˚C it’s still warm enough to get the most out of your holiday. Stay at Las Palmas for a touch of culture and city life, or join a camel train in the sandy dunes of Maspalomas before hitting the plaza for a dose of high-end retail therapy. Playa del Ingles is best for party-goers, while Puerto Rico is ideal for sophisticated nights out in the town. Whichever resort you choose, you’re bound to find something that suits you. Deals start from £245pp.

Sharm El Sheikh

Surrounded by the aquamarine waters of the Red Sea is the charming coastal resort of Sharm El Sheikh. Located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, it’s a favourite among holidaymakers for its year-round sunshine, which is hardly surprising considering it enjoys January averages of 22˚C and value-for-money package deals. The area is an ideal spot to embark on an underwater adventure of snorkelling along the stunning coral reefs of the Red Sea, or for soaking up the sun on the inviting white sands of Sharm, which boasts more than 60km of coastline. A day trip to the historic city of Cairo is only three hours away and visitors can see such world famous ancient landmarks such as the grand stone monuments of the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza. Book your all-inclusive holiday now with prices starting from as little as £245pp.

 

The bizarre lengths us Brits go to for a cheaper holiday

What would you be willing to do to for a free round-the-world trip or a heavily discounted holiday? Run through the streets naked? Not talk for an entire year? Sunshine.co.uk found out what strange lengths people around the UK would go to.


They polled 2,176 people aged 18 and over from around the UK and asked them a series of questions and what they would be prepared to do for a cheaper holiday or a complimentary round-the-world trip (and no, they weren’t just talking competition entries and bargain hunting).

65% of people would stand up for an entire flight for a cheaper holiday

Initially, respondents were presented with the fantasy scenario of being able to save a significant amount on their holiday (described as at least 50% off) if they adhered to certain, slightly unusual, requests.

Respondents were presented with a number of things they could do to save money, in this fictional scenario, and were asked which they’d be willing to do for the money off. The top five responses were:

1. Stand for the whole duration of the flight – 65%

2. Share the hotel room with total strangers – 42%

3. Sleep on a sun lounger (outdoors) each night – 33%

4. Work a shift in the hotel during the stay – 21%

5. Not drink alcohol for entire holiday – 13%

24% of people would give up a non-vital organ for a free round-the-world trip

When we raised the stakes and asked what they would be prepared to do for a free round-the-world trip, 27% of the people taking part said they would streak naked through a busy high street, 24% said they would give up one of their non-vital organs and 18% told us that they would quit their job. 12% said they would leave their partner.

When asked if they had ever been dishonest when on a holiday abroad in order to benefit in some way, 21% said that they had. We asked what they’d done, 42% claimed they lied about a special occasion to get special treatment, such as a birthday or anniversary. 13% had lied about being on honeymoon to get preferential treatment or upgrades. Haven’t we all? No? Just us then…and to be fair, considering the oft-dreary, wet weather we have to contend with for much of the year in the UK, it’s hardly surprising that many of us are prepared to resort to desperate measures for a bit of sunshine! Talking of which, the Canary IslandsMexico and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt are all nice and warm right now.

© Sunshine.co.uk

Egypt – recent travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

In light of of presidential elections yesterday and today, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have adjusted their travel advice for the Egyptian Red Sea resort area of Hurghada in Egypt. There are also enhanced security measures in place to protect the Sharm el Sheikh resort areas.

The FCO said: “We believe that terrorists continue to plan attacks. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could occur without prior warning. Terrorists could target protestors and the Egyptian authorities.”

“There is a high threat from terrorism. Three South Korean tourists and their driver were killed at Taba (Sinai) on 16 February, and the group responsible has threatened further attacks.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advise against all travel to:

  • The Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and recent terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • The Governorates of Beni Suef, Minya, Asyut and Sohag
  • The Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq

Terrorism

“We believe that terrorists continue to plan attacks. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could occur without prior warning. Terrorists could target protestors and the Egyptian authorities. Attacks have mainly been aimed at the security forces, their facilities and other government buildings. You should take great care near these buildings. Attacks targeting foreigners in tourist resorts and elsewhere can’t be ruled out.

On 2 May 2014, there were bomb blasts in El Tor (At Tur) in South Sinai targeting a police check point and a bus. On the same day there was an explosion outside a court building in Heliopolis in Cairo. There were a number of deaths and injuries.”

Hurghada

Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the resort areas in Hurghada. Egyptian military are situated in and around Hurghada international airport. There are checkpoints around Hurghada and throughout the Red Sea Governorate. There are roadblocks in place in the town and monitoring of areas often frequented by tourists. In Hurghada on 14 August 2013 there were some violent clashes, in an area away from tourist resorts. One man was killed.

Sharm el Sheikh

Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the Sharm el Sheikh resort areas. Egyptian military are situated in Sharm el Sheikh international airport, at check points around the perimeter of Sharm el Sheikh and throughout the South Sinai Governorate. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airport and the police are carrying out vehicle checks in Sharm el-Sheikh. There were no violent protests in the South Sinai resorts during recent disturbances in Egypt.

Presidential elections

Presidential elections will be held in Egypt on 26 and 27 May. There will be political rallies and marches across the country in the run up to the election. On 17 May explosive devices were thrown into the crowd at a rally in Cairo injuring at least 3 people. You should avoid all rallies and marches.

There will be heavy security in place on polling days. Take extra care near polling stations, avoiding them where possible. During a nationwide referendum in January 2014 British nationals and other foreigners were arrested near polling stations. Don’t take photographs near polling stations.

Protests and demonstrations

Protests, marches and demonstrations are common across Egypt. Demonstrations often happen on Fridays, but can occur at any time and with little prior notice.

The atmosphere at demonstrations can change quickly and without warning. Police may use water cannon, tear gas, birdshot or live ammunition for crowd control.

There have been several violent clashes since July 2013 resulting in a large number of deaths. Most of the clashes have taken place in Cairo and Alexandria. At protests in Cairo, Alexandria and Fayoum on 24 and 25 January 2014 there were reports of around 80 deaths. There are ongoing protests and clashes within university campuses across the country.

If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don’t attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times. Take particular care in areas with a history of regular protests. At protests on 24 and 25 January westerners, including British Nationals, were singled out and attacked by some protestors. See Safety and security

There is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations. NGOs report more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults against women in demonstrations since 30 June 2013. Foreign and Egyptian women have been attacked. See Safety and security

© Foreign and Commonwealth Office

 

Once-in-a-lifetime holidays a thing of the past as holidaymakers return to dream destinations

Once-in-a-lifetime holidays are becoming twice-in-a-lifetime breaks – with a large percentage of British travellers returning to worldwide destinations they fell in love with first time round.

Researchers for Kuoni who carried out a detailed study among 2,000 adults who holiday regularly found 75 per cent have revisited a city, country or resort at least once. And 31 per cent have already chosen to go back to a long-haul destination, which they initially deemed to be ‘once in a lifetime’ – and more than half said they plan to return at some point in their lifetime.

The study found that America, Australia, Italy, Barbados and Canada are the five places, which top the ‘twice-in-a-lifetime’ holiday list. The report also identified a trend of saving over a long period of time to return to a stunning location, which holds fond memories.

Derek Jones, managing director of Kuoni, which carried out the report, said: “We’re seeing a generation of adventurers who set off to see the world with a backpack in their twenties to places like Thailand, Malaysia, India and Australia return to those places they love at a later stage in life.”

“Worldwide travel is more affordable and accessible than it has ever has been before. The choice of destinations, hotels and flights now is vast and brings many stunning countries and cruises – viewed in the past as ‘once in a lifetime’ – within the reach of many more people.”

Almost three-quarters of people were likely to return to a ‘once in a lifetime’ destination because they were so overwhelmed by the scenery and landscapes, while the same percentage wanted time to experience things they had missed on their original visit.

A third of those polled were so amazed by everything they saw first time round they wanted to see it all a second time, while 63 per cent fell in love with the culture, which was so different from anything else they had come across before.

Six in 10 people felt they’d never be able to match the fantastic accommodation anywhere else in the world, and 59 per cent simply loved the local cuisine.

Over two thirds of people decided to go back to a long-haul destination after finding the local people so welcoming and friendly, while a further 37 per cent made some really good friends they were keen to see again. And when it comes to socialising with people who live abroad, a fifth were lucky enough to enjoy a bit of romance and wanted to go back to meet the same person again or recreate the experience.

Other reasons why people decided to save up and revisit a tropical destination include wanting to take a new partner or additional member of the family and marking a special occasion such as a honeymoon, milestone birthday or anniversary.

Two thirds of people claim their ‘twice in a lifetime’ holiday is the only place they have really managed to relax, and is also the destination where they’ve been able to switch off from work completely. Four in 10 holidaymakers said they simply didn’t believe another trip could top the one they’d had previously.

For those people who had returned to an exotic holiday location, a fifth went at exactly the same time of year, while one in 10 used the same itinerary a second time. A third went to all the same bars and restaurants, 16 per cent stayed in the same room and 13 per cent managed to meet up with the same people.

In addition to the USA and Australia, Brits would also like to save up and go back to Egypt, Thailand, the Maldives or Mexico.

TOP TEN ‘TWICE IN A LIFETIME’ DESTINATIONS

  1. USA
  2. Australia
  3. Italy
  4. Barbados
  5. Canada
  6. Egypt
  7. Thailand
  8. Maldives
  9. Mexico
  10. A Cruise

TOP 20 REASONS FOR ‘TWICE IN A LIFETIME’ HOLIDAYS

  1. You have such fond memories of the first visit
  2. Fell in love with the scenery and landscape
  3. The locals were so welcoming and friendly
  4. You didn’t see or experience enough first time round
  5. Good value for money
  6. Wanted to see different parts of the country
  7. Fell in love with the culture
  8. You forgot about work completely
  9. The accommodation was amazing
  10. You loved the food
  11. Something for all the family to do
  12. Haven’t been so relaxed anywhere else in the world
  13. Wanted to take a new partner, or return with the family
  14. To mark an anniversary or special occasion
  15. You simply want to recreate the first special holiday
  16. You met some / made some good friends
  17. You don’t think any other holiday could top it
  18. You had such a romantic time on your last visit
  19. You befriended the staff
  20. You met someone / enjoyed a holiday romance

© Kuoni

Travelling to Egypt: the current situation

* The FCO advise against all travel to parts of the country

* The FCO advise against all but essential travel to parts of the country

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and recent terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths. See North Sinai.

In view of continued unrest and the evolving political situation in Egypt, the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Egypt except for resorts on the Red Sea in South Sinai and those resorts on the Egyptian mainland in Red Sea governorate (including Hurghada).

In the governorate of South Sinai the FCO advise against all but essential travel, with the exception of (i) the Red Sea Resorts including those in the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab; (ii) the St Catherine’s Monastery World Heritage Site; (iii) road travel between the Red Sea resorts; (iv) road travel from the Red Sea resorts to St Catherine’s Monastery approaching from the east; and (v) transfers between the resorts and the airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh. See South Sinai and Road travel.

The FCO do not advise against the use of Cairo airport as a transit stop providing you do not leave the airport grounds. There have been access problems on some of the roads to Cairo airport, chiefly Saleh Salem Road.

If you are already in a part of Egypt where the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have a pressing need to remain. If you decide to remain in Egypt, you should stay at or close to home or a place of safety (eg your hotel), keep a low profile and pay close attention to your personal safety, particularly in the larger cities. You should avoid crowds.

You should follow the regulations set by the local authorities and obey curfews. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times.

Protests and demonstrations

In Cairo on 14 August Egyptian security forces ended sit-in protests at Nahda Square close to Cairo University in Giza and at Rabaa Al-Adaweya mosque in Nasr City. This resulted in at least 500 deaths. Violent clashes also occurred near Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Mohandiseen, Cairo.

On 17 August there were further violent clashes in Ramses Square and at the Al Fatah Mosque between protesters and security forces. Demonstrations planned for the afternoon of Sunday 18th August, including outside the Constitutional Court in Maadi and Roxy Square in Heliopolis were cancelled by the organisers because of security concerns.

There have been demonstrations in other parts of Egypt, including Alexandria, Hurghada and Luxor, some of which have turned violent. Further demonstrations are likely and could take place in any part of the country. Army and security forces have been deployed in anticipation of further protests and rallies in the coming days. Train services across Egypt are suspended.

A curfew has been in place since 14 August. As of 24 August the curfew has been set for between 11pm and 6am local time Saturday to Thursday and between 7pm and 6am on Friday. This is expected to continue for several weeks. The governorates affected by this are Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, South Sinai (except for Sharm el Sheikh, Taba and Dahab) North Sinai, Suez, Behera, Minya, Assiut, Souhag, Beni Suef, Ismailia, Qena and Fayoum.

A national state of emergency was declared in Egypt for a period of 1 month on 14 August. It was extended for a further 2 months on 12 September.

You are strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Do not attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters.

There may be an increased risk of anti-western sentiment linked to the possibility of military action in Syria. Keep up to date with developments, be vigilant and avoid any protests or demonstrations.

There is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations. NGOs report more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults against women in demonstrations since 30 June. Foreign and Egyptian women have been attacked. See Political and security situation

Red Sea resort areas

Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the resort areas. Egyptian military are situated in Sharm el Sheikh international airport, the entrance to the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and the exit to the resort area of Dahab. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airport and the police are carrying out vehicle checks in Sharm el-Sheikh. There have been no violent protests in the South Sinai resorts during recent disturbances in Egypt. The resorts remain calm.

In Hurghada on 14 August there were some violent clashes, in an area away from tourist resorts. One man was killed. On 16 August there was a demonstration near the marina area. You are strongly advised to follow the advice of the local authorities and avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Do not attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protestors.

Terrorism

There is a high threat from terrorism. Although security is tight throughout the country, especially in resort areas, there remains a high risk of attacks, which could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by foreigners. See Terrorism.

© The Foreign and Commonwealth Office

 

Short springtime breaks away

From a charming fishing port in the UK to a beach holiday hotspot nestled on the coast of the Red Sea, we’ve round up some top destinations for a short springtime break away

Centre Parcs, across UK
With four locations across the UK; Longleat in Wiltshire, Elveden in Suffolk, Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire and Whinfell in Cumbria, all of Centre Parcs’ villages are set within 400 acres of beautiful forest complete with lakes, burbling brooks, and an array of scenic hiking trails and bridleways. As well as the superb forestland, resident wildlife and exhilarating natural beauty of each location, Centre Parcs are perfect for family breaks; with restaurants, cafes, swimming pools, shops, and over 200 indoor and outdoor activities – all of which are guaranteed to keep the whole family entertained. The weather will vary from village to village, month to month, however the great thing about a Centre Parcs holiday is that even if it’s grey drizzly outside, there’s plenty of indoor fun to enjoy, including a sub tropical swimming paradise, which is a balmy 29.5°C all year round.

Looe, Cornwall, UK
Sitting pretty on the south western tip of England, Looe is a small yet perfectly formed coastal community in southeast Cornwall. Laid-back but still lively, very charming and seriously pretty, Looe offers plenty of enjoyable things to do, as well as warm, mild weather and a prime position in terms of benefiting from earlier springs and longer autumns. Indeed, if you want to put a spring in your step without having to leave home turf, Looe in springtime will herald warmer temperatures than the rest of the UK during the same season. Furthermore, the surrounding flora and vegetation will start to bloom; bringing bursts of colour and refreshing lushness to this ridiculously picturesque fishing port.

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Shaking off its less than flattering moniker ‘Lanzagrotty’, Lanzarote has been steadily and subtly transforming itself into a fair classier affair. Ok, so it’s not going to rival Monte Carlo or Hvar in the glitz and glamour stakes any time soon, however, a growing focus on eco-friendly accommodation, local food and wine, and holiday activities that have more to do with the island’s natural beauty over sun, sand and…booze, has seen one of the most popular Canary Islands experience a seminal shift from crass to class. There’s one thing that won’t change about this firm favourite however and that’s the wonderful weather, which from March until June is particularly pleasant with comfortably warm temperatures and very little rain to worry about.

Naama Bay, Egypt
Located in the Sharm El Sheikh district in Egypt, Naama Bay is a well-known diving Mecca and popular package holiday destination. Built around two principle bays, Naama Bay not only offers world-class diving and snorkelling but also stunning sandy beaches, an abundance of excellent facilities, top hotels, and lively entertainment. With consistently warm and dry weather throughout the year, Naama Bay is a great place to go if you’re feeling the urge to ditch the UK’s lingering winter weather for somewhere that will guarantee your daily fix of vitamin D but is still only a relatively short flight away (5 hours).

Cala n Bosch, Menorca  

Quieter, more laid-back and arguably prettier than Majorca, Menorca’s charms come as a surprise to many. One of the largest of the Balearic Islands and situated just off the east coast of Spain, Menorca has a warm Mediterranean climate and some beautiful secluded beaches, charming whitewashed towns and a relaxed, low-key atmosphere. Cala n Bosch is especially family friendly and features a picturesque marina, two lovely beaches, historic sites and benefits from a lively atmosphere, as well as some superb restaurants and fun entertainment. March signals the beginning of spring for Menorca, and steadily rising temperatures will ensure warm conditions right the way through to September, making Menorca an ideal place for a short springtime break away.

Top 10 places to visit in March

Waving goodbye to January and February tends to be a fond rather than a sad farewell for most of us – the worst bit of the winter slog is nearly over and spring is just around the corner. Yet despite buds appearing on the trees and the weather picking up slightly, March is still a long and often wet and chilly month in the UK. As a result, many of us start pining for some sunshine and looking to sunnier climes for a much needed winter break. From a beach based holiday in the Caribbean to a classy European city break, we’ve pulled together our top ten places to visit in March to help banish those winter blues.

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
If you’re idea of a perfect break encompasses beautiful beaches, warm seas, plenty of sunshine and exploring some of the world’s best dive sites, Sharm El Sheikh is definitely the place for you. Blessed with some of the most extraordinary diving in the world, this coastal location on the Red Sea is one of Egypt’s top holiday destination and benefits from a pleasant 21°C average temperature – both in and out of the water – at this time of year. Before travelling to Egypt, click here for travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Marrakech, Morocco
A bustling, vibrant and exciting city, Marrakech is only a three and a half hour flight from the UK, and yet as soon as you step off the plane you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to the other side of the world – not to mention taken a step back in time. Frenetic, lively, colourful and chaotic, Marrakech is an enjoyable onslaught on all your senses. Be sure to soak up the local culture and get lost in the city’s dizzying maze of souqs, where bartering for a brightly coloured bargain is all part of the fun. The city’s food stalls will ensure you don’t ever go hungry; local cuisine includes tasty tagines, spicy kebabs and snails in soup (tastier than it sounds!). Although the weather won’t rise past a pleasant 22°C on average, staying in a riad-guest house complete with a pool is your best bet after a hard day’s haggling.

Calangute, Goa
Sunshine, curries, body boarding, holy cows, beer and temples may sound like an incongruous mix but it is what you can expect from Calangute, a coastal town in the north of Goa in India. Famous for having the longest beach in north Goa, visitors flock here for water sports, including parasailing and water skiing, plus to simply laze on the beach, pick up pretty trinkets from the local market, and enjoy delicious Goan cuisine. The weather doesn’t disappoint, with an average daily temperature of 28°C. Calangute is a lively, popular holiday hotspot – perhaps a bit to rambunctious for some – for a more relaxed vibe, head towards the southern end of Calangute, towards Candolim.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

There’s a reason Tenerife remains one of the most popular places for some winter sun. Not only does it have 350km of stunning coastline, there’s dramatic volcanic scenery and lush tropical forest to explore, as well as delectable Canarian cuisine, interesting local culture and classy boutique hotels – proving that the Canary Islands’ biggest and best-known island has more to offer than just beaches, beer and bedlam. The weather is a star attraction with year-round sunshine and consistently warm temperatures – the Canary Islands aren’t known as ‘the islands of the eternal spring’ for nothing. Visit Tenerife in March and you can expect to soak up hours of sunshine and enjoy an average daily temperature of 25°C.

Phuket, Thailand
If you can’t stop day dreaming about swapping your daily commute for a daily swim, then think about booking yourself on a flight to Thailand’s largest and most popular island, Phuket. Ok, the flight is not exactly short haul, however once you feel the sand between your toes, the sun on your back and warm water up to your waist; those 12 hours in the air will soon seem a distant memory. With a selection of superb beaches, fabulous food, luxury resorts and spas, along with bustling nightlife and weather that holiday dreams are made of (the island enjoys a daily temperature of 29°C on average at this time of year) – Phuket sure beats Blighty right now.

Dominican Republic, Caribbean
You’re lying on a sun lounger, cocktail in hand, sun on your face with the sound of the ocean in one ear and a cooling sea breeze whistling through a gently swaying palm tree in the other…You could continue to top up your tan, or, if you can bear to tear yourself away from your beach towel, world-class diving and deep sea fishing awaits. All this could be fact not fiction if you ditch home for away and treat yourself to some Caribbean sunshine. And it’s not all about the beaches; the Dominican Republic also boasts some stunning mountainous scenery, striking colonial architecture, and a warm and friendly atmosphere. Add to this an inviting average daily temperature of 25°C, and you’ll soon be packing your bags. Before travelling to the Dominican Republic, click here for travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Florida, USA
Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Florida, the US’s most south-eastern state, enjoys a tropical climate and the well deserved nickname ‘Sunshine State’. As well 1,200km of coastline made up of beautiful beaches and bays, Florida has lakes, wetlands and a diverse range of wildlife. Famous for being home to some the world’s best known theme parks, namely, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and of course, Disney World, Florida has long attracted families in search of fun and sun. The breezy, balmy weather – especially in March when on average temperatures sit around 25°C – makes Florida ideal for a winter break.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
Spain’s ninth largest city is a popular holiday hotspot, not least for its lovely weather, cosmopolitan character and unique maritime history and charm. With cooling sea breezes tempering the comfortably warm temperatures, which reach a pleasant 21°C at this time of year, Las Palmas is a great place to visit in March. Spring is well and truly in the air and conditions are perfect for soaking up the local culture, strolling along the promenade, and people watching in the city’s lively cafes and bars. Venturing out to sea is well worth while; don’t miss an opportunity to go dolphin and whale watching. Combining culture and a vibrant atmosphere with much-needed sun and a spot of sand surfing, Las Palmas is the perfect antidote to your winter woes.

Cape Verde
Feeling an inescapable urge to escape the UK’s chilly climate for sunnier climes? Why not head to Cape Verde? Lying 350 miles off the coast of mainland Africa, the Portuguese and Creole speaking African country enjoys a hot and dry climate with plenty of sunshine all-year round. The ten islands that comprise Cape Verde are steeped in a rich history, and as well as playing host to some amazing beaches, there’s plenty to do; including guided treks across the island, rock climbing, canyoning, scuba diving, fishing, and exploring the arid desert to the south of Santo Antão. March is generally a very comfortable month weather-wise, with temperatures between 18 and 24°C and very little rain.

Palma, Mallorca

With its stunning architecture, fascinating history, stylish shops, classy cafes, pretty harbour, palm-tree lined promenade and irresistible cosmopolitan charm, Palma is an ideal place for those seeking a chic city break. Of course, there’s also the great weather, which in March is pleasantly warm, sunny and spring like – perfect for exploring the city’s cultural highlights and hopping from one tapas bar to the next. Temperatures can reach 24°C during the day, so it’s worth packing your beach towel; Palma has some great beaches to the west and east. Come nightfall, head to The Puro Beach or Anima Beach Club – both seriously stylish yet laid-back venues that will see you enjoying yourself from evening to early doors.

© 2019 Holiday Weather