What with the winter weather looking brighter and feeling warmer than you might expect these past few days, you’d be forgiven for not feeling like you need a break from the usually cold and damp British climate.
But even with the outlandishly high temperatures that February has given us, it’s a great idea to plan ahead for some winter sun, especially as holiday trips can be excellent value when booking for January and February.
Here are some ideas for island holidays you can take in the winter months that might surprise you for their fantastic value for money through the off-peak season.
1. Activity-Packed St Lucia
St Lucia is a stunning destination all year round, with average temperatures never dipping below 26 degrees. Hot and humid weather is on offer throughout all seasons, but the rainy season is considered to fall between June and November.
This means that the perfect time to get across to the Caribbean island is during the UK’s blustery and damp winter and spring.
St Lucia’s famous and imposing “Pitons”, the two landmark mountains found on the island’s west coast.
St Lucia’s beaches are numerous and resort holidays are priced particularly competitively for the idyllic surroundings in which you will find yourself should you choose to go.
On the coast itself, you’ll find everything from bustling beach bars to quiet corners complete with hammocks and fresh coconut.
If you and your family are interested in an active winter break, there’s plenty to choose from in St Lucia, from zip lining through the tropical forest and sailing adventures along the coast to hiking up to the Fort at Pigeon Island and even climbing one of the Pitons!
Even the trip to and from the airport can be an adventure — you can get a helicopter transfer to your final destination on the island!
2. The Maldives — Take Your Pick!
The Maldives is perhaps the ultimate in paradise-island living. Made up of thousands of tiny remote islands, it’s one of the world’s most geographically dispersed states.
There are so many islands to choose from that settling on the right one can often be the hardest decision when it comes to a trip to the Maldives!
Paradise Found: a typical example of a Maldivian island, surrounded by still and inviting waters packed to the brim with exotic wildlife.
Offering pristine white beaches and pure turquoise seas, the Maldives grants its visitors privacy, peace and a unique opportunity to encounter rare wildlife.
From one of the country’s many resort islands, you can take a boat trip to swim with whale sharks, dolphins and turtles. These trips are often included in the price of your overall holiday.
Even if you want to stick to the beach, snorkelling in shallow waters is incredible. The islands themselves were formed by coral, and in the waters surrounding them, you will often find docile blacktip reef sharks alongside weird and wonderful fish native to the Indian ocean.
It’s surprisingly easy to find affordable Maldives holiday deals when looking at prices in the off-season. Factoring in the (lack of) cost of food and essentials when staying at an all-inclusive resort means that you can probably make a Maldives holiday on a budget work for you, with only a little bit of saving up required!
3. Dubai — Something for Everyone
Dubai itself is, of course, not an island. But the man-made Palm Island is the perfect place to travel to with a young family — here’s why.
Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel, located at the centre of the Palm Island, is home to the high-tech Aquaventure waterpark.
The sheer variety of things to do in the desert Emirate is what makes Dubai a fabulous prospect for people of all ages. From relaxing on a man-made beach to shopping at one of the biggest malls in the world, activity levels can be as high or as low as you like when you’re in Dubai.
Of particular note for the family-oriented traveller are the amazing waterparks that you can find within a relatively small stretch of land.
Featuring waterslides that you travel upwards on, Jumeirah Beach’s Wild Wadi and the Atlantis’ Aquaventure are crowd pleasers for adults and children alike, and with the cost of admission hugely reduced or free when staying at the right hotel, you can pack a lot of adventure into a short trip away.
From top to bottom: Dubai’s Palm Island, the luxury Burj al Arab hotel, and the wave-like Jumeirah Beach hotel, with the wonderful Wild Wadi waterpark in between.
For these reasons and more, Dubai family holidays are so much fun and can be a perfect antidote to the winter blues back home.
4. The Canary Islands — A Little Bit Closer to Home
With average flight times of just over four hours from the UK, the Canary Islands aren’t exactly on our doorstep, but they do offer guaranteed winter sun in probably the shortest and easiest travel time.
The sand dunes in Gran Canaria are haunting and mystical.
There are many reasons holidaymakers from the UK travel en masse to the Canary Islands in the winter, but the most important factors are climate and practicality.
The desert climate means that you are guaranteed heat and sunshine no matter when you visit these islands. The Canary Islands are essentially an extension of the African desert region found to the east, with the Sahara sun shining over this entire area.
In terms of practicality, there are inviting beach holidays to be found across seven different islands, with each possessing its own character beyond the mountainous volcanic landscape.
Tenerife provides options for the entire family, and Gran Canaria offers stunning black lava and white sand, while Fuerteventura is a surfer’s paradise.
Whatever you choose to do to get away from the humdrum of the British winter, make sure you do your research ahead of your trip and consider the best balance between penny-pinching and spending money on the luxury that you want and deserve.