We’ve picked out five fabulous locations around the world for winter sun with top tips for banking when using your debit card abroad.
Banish the January Blues Best Holiday Destinations for Winter Sun
January can be a tough month. The excitement of Christmas is over, you’re back at work, and the weather seems to have settled on “miserable” as its default setting. But there’s one simple prescription to cure those January blues – sunshine.
We’ve picked out five fabulous locations around the world which are guaranteed to banish the clouds this winter. It’s just what the doctor ordered.
Our Top 5 Destinations for Sunshine this Winter
Cuba’s tourism industry is about to get seriously big. The resumption of diplomatic relations with the United States is expected to pave the way for an influx of American visitors, but if you get in now you might just beat the rush.
With its white sand beaches, steaming jungles, and elegant colonial buildings, the Caribbean’s largest island has an unforgettable charm. Cuba is not quite as tourist-ready as much of the Caribbean - Wi-Fi access is rare, power cuts are common, and the roads can be a challenge. But when you’re sipping a mojito in one of Havana’s elegant squares or shimmying to some salsa, it’s hard to complain.
Hotels on the island tend to be expensive and the quality can be variable, so for the budget conscious, a casa particular (essentially a private room in a Cuban family’s house) is a fantastic option. Double rooms are available from as little as €20 per night, with breakfast and often dinner included.
The winter months are an ideal time to visit Florida. Temperatures are in the low twenties, and the hordes of tourists that descend in high season are relatively absent. Good news if you want an action-packed trip as you won’t spend half your holiday queuing at one of the sunshine state’s many theme parks.
There’s so much more to Florida than just Disney though - Miami’s strong Cuban influence lends it an exciting Caribbean flavour. While its nightlife rivals any city in the world, and the beaches of the Florida Keys are a world away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. If you’re feeling brave, head to the Everglades. The otherworldly tropical wetlands where you can hire a hovercraft and introduce yourself to an alligator, from a safe distance of course.
Lanzarote has long been a popular winter getaway for travellers from Ireland. For good reason too. It’s affordable, the island’s relatively compact size means getting around is a cinch, and temperatures in the “colder” months hover around an extremely Irishman-friendly of 20°C.
If you prefer, you can certainly spend your time in Lanzarote lazing by the pool or beach. But active types will be particularly well catered for. The island is something of a mecca for cyclists. While surfing, snorkelling, and hang gliding are all popular on the beaches. A breath-taking reminder of the island’s volcanic heritage, the eerily beautiful landscape of Timanfaya National Park is the closest thing you’ll get to an alien planet without going out of orbit. You needn’t worry about having a close encounter with an angry volcano though - the last eruption was almost 200 years ago.
The mid-Atlantic’s less celebrated Iberian outpost, Cape Verde make a fantastic alternative to the more familiar Canary Islands further north. The archipelago, which gained independence from Portugal in 1975, consists of ten islands but the majority of tourists make their way to Sal or Boa Vista. Whichever island you visit, the famously laidback islanders are sure to make your stay a relaxing one.
Cape Verde’s southerly location means you’re virtually guaranteed temperatures in the mid-twenties to thirties all year round. While the island chain’s volcanic origin makes for some startling contrasts in terrain and elevation, so it’s great fun to go island hopping. If you decide to sample the local nightlife, Cachupa, a traditional slow-cooked bean stew, rivals the full Irish as the ultimate hangover-busting breakfast.
Running along the south-western coast of India, Kerala is fast becoming a popular choice for holidaymakers looking for a truly different sunshine break. Less hectic than the tourist-thronged beaches of nearby Goa, this enchanting state is a geographically diverse slice of paradise. Think pristine white beaches, lush forests, and peaceful canals.
Once a centre of the spice trade, Kerala is a true cultural melting pot. But English is widely spoken and the locals pride themselves on the warm welcome they give to tourists. Better yet, no holiday in this part of India is complete without a visit to the famous backwaters - a peaceful network of rivers, lagoons, and canals which criss-cross the state. For a truly unique experience, rent yourself a houseboat and spend your holiday drifting through the towns and villages that line the water, as the unhurried pace of life in this special part of India unfolds before you.
Start Planning Your Winter Holiday
Planning a sunshine getaway this winter? We have all the information you need on using your credit or debit card abroad. For added security and convenience, we recommend that you fill out a travel note with AIB before you go abroad.
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