It's that time of year when the novelty of cold mornings and rainy afternoons in the UK has worn off and families turn their attention to which country would be the best place for them to soak up some winter sun. This year the number of those leaving the UK in search of winter sun between October and December is expected to rise, as many families delayed their summer holidays overseas due to Britain's fantastic summer weather.
The UK Post Office has provided some handy hints this year for travellers looking for good value from their breaks. Both Portugal (specifically the Algarve) and Spain (the Costa del Sol) have been recognised as providing excellent value for money in the Post Office's Winter Sunshine Report.
The barometer report examines eight tourist staples, including sun-cream, drinks and an evening meal, to judge which destinations offer the cheapest break. The Costa del Sol came in at just £44 for the list of items and the Algarve at £48. As the weather in Spain and Portugal can take a turn for the worse over the winter months, the report also highlighted the value of Tenerife, where the winter sunshine is a little more reliable. The island came in at £58 for the eight items.
Italy is another popular choice for those seeking a winter sun break and if the over-priced cities are avoided it can offer excellent value. In fact, the UK travel organisation ABTA observed at its recent travel convention in Slovenia that Italian bookings were up this summer due to "some great-value hotel deals." ABTA also highlighted Mallorca as a recent success story, with summer 2014 bookings up 68% on summer 2013. The island's increased tourism figures are expected to carry through over the winter season.
When it comes to long-haul winter sun destinations, Florida offers excellent value and families can enjoy Orlando's theme parks without the extensive queues of the summer months. The Caribbean is another popular place for winter sun seekers, especially for couples looking for a relaxed, romantic escape. The luxury appeal of the island of Grenada is proving particularly attractive this year, thanks to its high-end spas and pristine beaches.
For those looking for more than just a holiday, each of these destinations offers a wide variety of options when it comes to property investment. From second homes to pure investment properties, the choice is endless. Those looking to buy in Europe are able to enjoy the cheaper Euro at present, with Currency Index observing that the US Dollar's recent gains have had a particularly beneficial effect on Euro rates, which are approaching their best levels since 2012.