A Winter Wonderland: Where's Hot (And Where's Not!) - Tips For The Perfect Winter Getaway
By Jessica Whyte
Last updated: 4th October 2011
Well the last gasp of Britain’s Indian summer has been and gone and all we apparently have to look forward to now is the prospect of snow in October! As the winter chill threatens to set in across Britain for good it is only natural that your thoughts might turn to sunnier climes… maybe you long to soak up the sun in South Africa, or dream of Indian idylls, Thai treats, Bolivian beaches, Australian adventures or a Peruvian paradise? Maybe you’ve recently left school or university and are wondering whether to take a gap year but are worried that you have, quite literally, missed the boat? Or maybe you’ve taken a career break and are wondering how you can make the most of your precious time out? With the prospect of getting out your hats and scarves and turning the heating up to ‘full’ in the UK, it can be hard to imagine there is anywhere in the world where you can scuba dive in December, jump out of a plane in January or wear your flip flops in February!
The great news is, your gap year can start at any time of year – however cold, wet and buried in snow Britain gets during winter, there is always somewhere in the world where the sun still resolutely shines! Down under, for example, Australia and New Zealand experience the opposite seasons to us – when we are hibernating during a cold winter they are basking in the glory of their summer. Australia is known as being a sunny destination all year round but their reversed climate means that you can leave the rest of your family huddled around the fire and enjoy the wonders of the Aussie summer with a barbie on the beach. Christmas in Oz is an outdoor extravaganza, no trudging through the snow or toasting chestnuts – unless they’re on the BBQ that is! Bikinis not bobble hats are the order of the day down under! New Zealand, although not as hot as Australia, also has some of its best weather during the UK winter months, so you can head to the adventure capital of the world and bungee jump in balmy weather, as December-February are the warmest time of year in NZ…what’s not to like?
Fancy a South American winter getaway? Destinations such as Argentina and Peru are perfect at this time of year and can you believe it, can get VERY hot between December and March, especially if you hit the beaches. A bit further up, in Central America, locations such as Guatemala or Costa Rica boast their best time to travel between November-April, with temperatures consistently in the 20’s or above. Mexico is also a favourite winter hotspot, with resorts such as Cancun and Acapulco pulling in visitors seeking some relief from the frozen wastes of Britain!
The good ‘ole U.S of A might be our closest ally, and sure, head east and you’ll probably see more snow in the average New York street than in the whole of the UK, but if you seek out the warmer climate of the southern states, or the theme-park heaven of Florida, winter sun is never hard to find.
And don’t write off Canada – sure, it has some of the coldest winters in the known world and this might sound like a reason to avoid it but think again… Unlike us here in poor old Blighty, where the roads become impassable after three flakes of snow and the grit runs out in hours, the Canadians have made winter an art form – snow ploughs, furry hats, the best winter sports ever, they don’t let the white stuff bother them! If you want to experience what winter really should be like, Canada does it better than most.
If an Asian adventure is top of your to-do list, there is no shortage of great winter destinations to check out. Thailand’s peak beach-bum season falls between November and March, so get island hopping and laze on the golden sands before heading off for a night of fun at the full moon parties! Go off the beaten track in Laos where the temperature rarely falls beneath 17 degrees, or head to the south of China from September- November and check out the beautiful, warm autumn weather while taking in some unforgettable sights. Sun slanting across a pagoda roof anyone?
If an African Odyssey is your dream trip, the continent has some scorching winter warmers for you – South Africa is known for its beautiful weather and summer gets hot hot hot between December and February so you’ll never want to leave! A trip to Tanzania will see the thermometer hit the late 20’s or early 30’s from November-February and is the perfect time to don your safari hat and watch the Big Five laze in the warmth of the sun.
Where better to head in the winter months than an authentic island paradise? Swim in the turquoise seas of Sri Lanka in their hot, dry season between December and March or have fun and frolics in Fiji where the temperatures are consistently in the high 20’s from October –December…aah, bliss…
As you can see, the world’s got winter sorted – you just need to know where to go. Just imagine, between now and spring you could be experiencing snorkelling not snow, ice-cream not icicles, suncream not snowboots, tropical breeze not winter freeze. It’s not too late – don’t put off your gap year trip any longer; there’s no better time than RIGHT NOW to escape your winter blues and put on your travelling shoes… go on, what are you waiting for?