Thursday, 16 November 2017

Why Travel Abroad In Winter?

Summer may have been and gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still go on vacation. There are lots of reasons to get away in the winter months, whether it be to escape the cold weather, beat the crowds or take advantage of special winter sights. Here’s why you should book your next escapade for winter…

Catch some sun

The rain and cold can cause many of us to stay indoors during winter, causing us to not get our fix of vitamin D. A deficiency in this mineral has been linked to depression. Whilst you may not be able to clear away the clouds, you can travel abroad to somewhere sunnier to get your vitamin D intake. Not everywhere in winter is cold – the closer you travel to the equator, the hotter it stays all year round.

The Caribbean is a popular destination for those wanting some winter sun. The average temperature is 27 degrees Celsius, allowing you to still work up a tan. For a beach holiday closer to home, the Canary Islands and Cyprus can often stay in the 20s. Even holidays in Spain can be worthwhile in winter – the Costa del Sol still has an average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius, which you can still wear a t-shirt in. North of the med isn’t advised as temperatures aren’t likely to be far off back home.

Be aware that not all beach resorts will be open all year round. Some hotels find it cheaper to close in Winter, as they may not get enough guests to cover general running costs. Tourists hotspots may be more reliable.  

Try a snow sport

Just as many of the beach resorts start to close, the ski resorts all begin to open. Taking up skiing or snowboarding opens you up to a whole new style of vacation. You can take up lessons whilst at a resort and then hit the bars and restaurants in the evening or get some apres-ski spa treatment.

You can ski all around the world, although most UK residents tend to stay in Europe as long-haul flights can be expensive. Staying in Alpine resorts is generally pricier, although many of these are more extensive and have better facilities. You can ski more cheaply in countries such as Bulgaria, Slovenia and Romania. It’s worth looking out for last minute deals or booking many months in advance.

There are lots of alternative winter sports around the world that could also be reason to go on vacation. For bobsledding, Norway is an excellent place to go. Ottawa in Canada meanwhile is great for ice-skating and is famous for the Rideau Canal Skateway, which some townspeople even commute to work by. There are even weird sports to try out such as ice fishing in Lithuania.

Experience seasonal events

There are many events around the world that only take place in winter. For those that love their shopping, a city break somewhere abroad may allow you to try out the local Christmas market. Salzburg and Berlin have two of the most famous Christmas markets, but they’re not the only cities worth visiting for some festive fun. Krakow and Tallinn are two cheaper places to go for an authentic Christmas market. Meanwhile, for general shopping, New York, London and Paris cannot be beaten. With the Christmas lights up, these cities truly come to life.

Christmas isn’t the only special occasion that people go on vacation for in winter. In February, Venice host their famous Venice Carnevale as a celebration of lent. People in masked costumes take to the street to celebrate, a sight that Venice has become well renowned for. The world-famous Rio De Janeiro carnival also takes place in winter in February, in which a huge procession takes place in the street accompanied by music and dancing. This can be a great winter event for combining good weather and partying. Also around this time is the New Orleans Mardi Gras, featuring a huge parade and a similar amount of partying. The temperature is eighteen degrees during this festival.

There are all manner of other crazy festivals during the winter months that could be a reason to go abroad. In March, Colorado celebrate the weird and wonderful Frozen Dead Guy day, celebrating the discovery of Bredo Mortsoel’s cryonically frozen corpse. In February in Alaska meanwhile, you can visit Yukon Quest – the toughest sled dog race in the world.

See natural phenomena

Winter is also a time for a lot of global winter phenomena around the world, which many people plan their vacations around. One of the most famous examples is the Northern Lights, which urges many people to travel to destinations such as Iceland and Norway and Alaska. There’s even a bubble hotel in Iceland in which you can stare up at the sky at night to take in this sight.

Winter is also the only season to see many glaciers around the world. Many people visit Scandinavia during the winter months for this reason. More people are even travelling to Greenland for its glaciers.

During summer these snowy landscapes may melt away. Whilst this can make certain areas more accessible, much of the natural beauty may be lost replaced by barren rocky landscapes.

Spot winter wildlife

Another good reason to plan a vacation in winter is to increase your chances of seeing certain wildlife. This applies to various Arctic wildlife such as polar bears. Many of these creatures that once regularly ventured onto land are finding it harder as global warming makes this harder. The coldest months may often be the only time to see these animals – Hudson Bay in Canada is one such place, which is ideal to visit in November/December.

Winter is also great for whale spotting. In March, you can spot blue whales and rare species of orca off the coast of Mexico. This is the only time many of these creatures venture near the coast.

It could even be worth heading to the southern hemisphere in winter to spot some wildlife exclusive to their summer. Australia’s Heron Island is known for its turtles – you can catch them hatching from December through until March.

Save money

One of the prime reasons to go on holiday abroad in winter is that you can often save money. Resorts that are running all year round will generally be much cheaper in winter to lure tourists in. This may include everything from hotels to local restaurants prices and deals. Even flights to these destinations can sometimes be cheaper in winter.

The exception is December which can sometimes be more expensive as more people will go away or return home for Christmas and New Year. Flights to cities may be very expensive during this month – if you’re hoping to catch the Christmas market, November may be better suited. January, February and March meanwhile are very cheap, although you won’t get the Christmas events.

Other events such as carnivals may push up the price of flights and hotels as everyone will be planning to stay during this period. It could be worth staying outside the centre of activity away from the buzz such as on the outskirts of Venice during the carnevale.

Avoid the crowds

Another reason to go abroad during winter is to beat the crowds. Again, this doesn’t always apply to December, but it well apply during January to March. Cities may be less packed allowing you to explore with less stress and commotion. Hotels and restaurants will be less booked up giving you more freedom to choose where you want to stay and eat.

Theme parks can also be a great place to visit in winter. The Disney parks in January and February are relatively dead compared to the summer months. Whilst you may not have as good weather, this could allow you to get on more rides as you won’t have queues lasting multiple hours.

January and February can also be a great time to visit attractions such as museums or see landmarks. The popular photograph spots won’t be taken and you won’t have to fight through crowds to get a view of a museum display or painting in a gallery.  

Always make sure to check out opening times to attractions before booking a holiday in Winter. Various museums and cathedrals and theme parks may not be open during these months or may only be open one day per week.

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