The winter is long and dark, and so a trip away to a warmer place wouldn’t go amiss. We get it. Yet this is an expensive time of year already. There’s the presents to pay for, the cosy days at the holiday markets, the impeding tax bill to pay in January. How can you possibly afford a break? At the same time, how can you possibly go three months without any sun? We’ve got you covered.
How Hot Do You Want It?
How hot do you want to be on your trip? How much sun do you need to feel on your face, in your eyes? You could have a nice UK winter break, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s cosy to spend a couple of nights in a cottage with a log fire on, reading and eating hotel-pub food. It also won’t set you back much more than the cost of the accommodation. So that’s one option.
But I’m going to assume that you want your trip to involve a little more sunshine. You want it to tan your skin and baffle your circadian rhythms. In that case, the general rule is that the further South you go, the more sun you will get, and the more money you will pay for flights. Striking this balance is the key to controlling your budget.
Cyprus and South Spain are excellent destinations with temperatures still in the mid-teens during the winter months. A little further in Morocco, temperatures are still in the low 20s, and flights are cheap at this time of the year. You can travel from London to Agadir for as little as £33, and Marrakesh for £55.
Destinations to avoid include super-resorts, such as those in the Maldives. Demand means that prices are still high. The Canary Islands makes for an excellent winter destination, with temperatures in the low 20s, yet cheaper flights. Of course, nearer is not always cheaper. Flights to popular destinations like Bangkok remain cheap just because of the sheer numbers, and cost of living is also low.
It’s important to keep in mind that overall costs will vary according to your destination of choice. It’s not all about getting the cheapest flights. For example, flights to Barbados will cost several hundred pounds, but the cost of living is cheaper there than, say, Dubai, where a three-course meal will set you back over £50.
South East Asia is well known for high standards of food at low prices, but you can save money pretty much anywhere in the world with the right attitude. In Las Vegas, typically quite an expensive city, buffet breakfasts are the way to save money on food. Across France, the ‘Menu du Jour’ is available on weekdays, offering a three-course meal for under £20.
Accommodation will be one of your main costs wherever you go, but the prices vary greatly depending on where and when you travel. The main point here if you are on a budget is to avoid mega-resorts, or any resort actually. Stick to small, local hotels, or to Air B&Bs.
Is Travel Cheaper In The Winter?
Though you can travel for next to nothing any time of the year, it is generally cheaper to jetset in the winter. Most people go on their main holidays in the summer, and so now is the time for low-season prices and cheap flights.
November and December are actually the best times, as most people who take a winter break will do so later on in the year. Early to mid-January also tend to remain cheap times for travel. Of course, you should aim to avoid travelling between Christmas and New Year, as the holidays are busy and prices skyrocket back up. Prices usually start rising again in late January.
Your winter travel trip doesn’t have to break the bank balance. By choosing a low-cost destination that is easy to get to, and spending wisely while you are there, you can take a trip on a small budget and still catch a few rays of sun. Enjoy!