Freezing temperatures, scraping the car every morning, gloomy skies and the depressing sight of darkness as you drive to work, welcome to winter in the UK folks!
With all of that in mind, there’s no surprise that so many Britons opt to migrate to sunnier, more exciting climes during the winter. Just last year, over 3.5 million Brits travelled abroad for a holiday over Christmas and New Year; and that’s just one week of the winter period.
On top of UK residents departing these shores for a holiday, many people travel abroad during the winter to visit friends and relatives (VFR) who reside abroad. VFR offers a sense of comfort and familiarity when travelling. However, this comfort and familiarity could cause complacency when it comes to travel health. Just because you’re visiting some familiar faces; it doesn’t mean that the risks of their country of residence don’t exist. When visiting people that you know abroad, always be sure to check with them (and a travel health expert), to ensure that you have the necessary vaccinations and certificates.
With so many people travelling away from the UK during winter, let’s take a look at the most popular winter travel destinations, and more importantly, how to keep yourself safe when visiting these places!
Best Countries to Visit During Winter for Warm Weather
Cape Verde is a cluster of volcanic islands that sit just off the northwest coast of Africa. Famed for its breathtaking beaches and luxury tourist resorts, Cape Verde is a popular holiday destination all year round.
Time of flight from the UK to Cape Verde
Climate and Temperature in Cape Verde
During winter Cape Verde is warm and sunny. Temperatures between 21°C to 26°C.
Notable things to do in Cape Verde
Visit the fantastic beaches, take in the beauty of the mountainous regions, enjoy the lavish luxury of 5-star resorts and join in the exhilarating water sports activities on offer.
Safety Information for Cape Verde
Cape Verde is a tourist-friendly destination, with the local people generally being polite and well-educated. Despite this, you should take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from petty crime.
Vaccinations for Cape Verde
Morocco, located in Northern Africa, is another popular tourist destination, with Marrakesh and Agadir being particular tourist hotspots. A country stooped in culture and history, Morocco’s bustling marketplaces and the wonderful architecture within the Imperial Cities provide tourists with a true representation of this beautiful country.
Time of flight from the UK to Morocco
4 – 5 hours
Climate and Temperature in Morocco
The winter weather in Morocco can vary dependant on where you visit. Although much of the country stays mild during the day throughout the winter months, it’s advisable to take a jumper or warm jacket, as the evenings can become a bit chilly.
As a rule of thumb, Agadir is warmer than Marrakesh throughout winter.
Temperatures between 6°C - 20°C.
Notable things to do in Morocco
Visit the many fantastic tourist attractions, take a trip to the Marrakesh markets (this is a must), try some authentic Moroccan cuisine (tagine with couscous) and immerse yourself in this fantastic countries culture.
Safety Information for Morocco
Due to the volume of tourism, Morocco is a fairly safe place to visit. One thing to be wary of is Morocco’s poor road safety record; in 2016, 3,593 people were killed and approximately 100,000 injured in traffic accidents. Also, it’s worth remembering that Morocco is a Muslim country that follows Islamic laws and customs, so be sure to respect these during your visit.
Vaccinations for Morocco
The Canary Islands comprises of seven main islands: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. A popular destination for British travellers throughout the year, the Canary Islands offers a home from home due to the large amounts of British people who have migrated there over the years.
Time of flight from the UK to Canary Islands
Climate and Temperature in Canary Islands
During winter the Canary Islands are typically warm and sunny. Temperatures between 15°C- 20°C.
Notable things to do in Canary Islands
Relax on the quiet beaches, visit some of the intriguing tourist attractions (most open all year round), sample some of the simplistic yet mouthwatering local cuisine and enjoy a few cheap beers.
Safety Information for Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are a low-risk holiday destination due to the fact they’re very tourist-centric, and there is a high police presence. Although, theft and petty crime occur on occasion, so ensure you keep an eye on your valuable belongings when out and about.
Vaccinations for the Canary Islands
There are no vaccinations needed to travel to the Canary Islands.
India (South & West)
India is a vast country, with a lot going on and many things to see. If you’re planning to visit India for some winter warmth, it’s best to opt for areas in the south or west of the country such as Kerala or Goa. India is a country smothered in culture and tradition; with eye-opening experiences around every corner, this Asian country could make for the perfect winter getaway. The beaches down in Gokarna, just south of Goa, are a particular delight.
Time of flight from the UK to India
Climate and Temperature in India
During winter, the southern and western parts of India tend to be hot, sunny and dry. Temperatures between 15°C- 33°C*.
*Due to the vast nature of India, the temperature may vary in specific areas – please check forecasts before deciding on a destination.
Notable things to do in India
Relax on the beautiful west coast beaches, take in the culture within the larger cities, admire some of the remarkable historical destinations, enjoy the surreal experience of boating down the many Indian backwaters and try some authentic Indian food (it’s not the same as you get over in the UK).
Safety Information for India
Despite the country’s beauty and culture, India can be a risky place to travel to, or around. Although the majority of travellers encounter no issues, there have been reports of sexual assault, robbery and even the murder of a British national in recent years. It’s wise to use caution when travelling on public transport and the roads as road safety isn’t great in India; it’s also advised to follow local laws carefully as the police force, and criminal justice system, aren’t too forgiving.
Another area to take the utmost caution when visiting India is when swimming in the sea. Caution is advised as the currents are notably strong and most Indian beaches don’t have warning signs, flags or life-saving equipment.
Vaccinations for India
Costa Rica, located in Central America, is a fantastic country full of culture and wildlife and currently ranks number one on the “Happy Planet Index”. Costa Rica is an underappreciated tourist destination, with many people simply passing through while travelling Central America and South America.
Time of flight from the UK to Costa Rica
10 hours 50 minutes
Climate and Temperature in Costa Rica
From mid-December to April is the dry season in Costa Rica. Temperatures between 17°C- 27°C.
Notable things to do in Costa Rica
Sleep in a rainforest treehouse, relax on the magnificent white sand beaches, take in some of the astonishing nature and wildlife and take a dip in one of the many natural hot springs.
Safety Information for Costa Rica
Although Costa Rica is largely safe to visit, there are a few things to consider from a health/safety perspective before your visit. Firstly, there is a lot of direct sunlight in Costa Rica, and it can get very hot. Ensure you wear enough sunscreen to protect your skin and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. The most common criminal threat to tourists in Costa Rica is petty theft and pickpocketing. Be aware of this when you’re out and about, and always keep a close eye on your personal belongings.
Vaccinations for Costa Rica