It’s safe to say that 2015 will not go down in history as one of the great, long, hot summers. Let’s face it; it’s been miserable so far with only one decent weekend as far as I can remember. And if – like me – you decide to stay in the UK and make the most of the decent weather – as opposed to heading overseas – you will, no doubt, be bitterly disappointed with what you have seen.
I’ve written on this blog about how I think I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), so the thought of not having any kind of summer only to be followed by a UK winter is not filling me with happiness. In my humble opinion, when the threat of a bleak summer and a merciless winter threatens there is only one thing for it: research a winter holiday.
Booking a winter holiday is a particular forte of mine; I know how to get great deals, I know where the sun shines and I know (metaphorically) where is hot on the planet. I do have a check list of things I like to cover off. Currency, flight, local food, threat of danger etc and in this blog I hope to provide you with a template that will create the ultimate winter break.
I’ve also mentioned this topic on the Secret Shopper blog, but I always look at which of the planet’s currencies are performing badly against the pound. Right now, the Euro is as weak as it’s been for around seven years and therefore a great time to find some European hidden gems.
We all know Greece has had its problems recently and that if you do head that way that there are a) deals to be found and b) that you need to take a wedge of cash. Combine the price of the Euro, an off season deal and the issues with Greece and you’re onto a winner.
But if you want to head further afield, then there are some tried and tested countries where you’ll get an unbelievable deal on your UK cash:
- Finland: not the cheapest place on the planet, but in 2013 you would get around 9 Finish Krona to the pound, but now it’s 13.5 which is a decent percentage rise for those who want to experience the northern lights or the fjords.
- South Africa: in 2011 you would get around 11 Rand to the pound, but now it’s almost 20 Rand. An incredible price for such an amazing country.
- Argentina: in 2011 your solitary pound got you just over six pesos. Now it’s over 14; great for the cost of the steaks and hotels and makes up for how long you have to travel
- Japan: always thought of as being pricey, the Yen is now almost 200 to the pound compared to around 130 in 2011. A great time to visit the land of the rising sun.
If you’re savvy enough to use Amex and create air miles through your spending, the great thing about winter holidays is that you tend to get use the air miles in the winter far easier than you can in the summer. Check if you can use any miles you have on your flight before you book anything.
The great thing about heading abroad in winter is that you tend to be far away from the UK and that means you get the sunshine! Obviously that isn’t guaranteed; so if you’re a sun God or Goddess then do your research and try and add all these aspects of the template to a matrix that will help you decide where to go.
Food and drink
if you’re partial to Delhi belly and are at an age when you don’t fancy a bit of Montezuma’s revenge, then stick to a ‘western’ holiday like the South Africa. If, however, your taste buds are ready for heat and spice then think about Asia. Wine lovers be warned though, Asia is not top of the pops for bottles of Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc. Carnivores should head to South or Central America (where the currency is good right now) for some of the best wine and meat you will ever drink or eat!
And there you have it; just a few ideas about escaping the UK’s savage winter and getting a good amount of bang for your buck.