Fuerteventura: It's beach time baby

Judging by the number of deckchair dwellers lined up on Brighton beach like battery hens, it seems we’re all enjoying the final days of summer. Which means (much to my dismay) that Autumn is just around the corner; ready to impose its ugly, chilly, flu inducing self upon us. Some people love this time of year. It makes them want to cuddle up in huge knitted jumpers, munch on roasted chestnuts, sing that Primary school ditty about not forgetting to be thankful and chatter about Christmas with gleeful anticipation.  I’m not one of these people. Even the opportunity to dress up in Vogue’s top rated camel coat and dig out my Ugg boots can’t tear me away from the impending doom of long dark nights.

So instead of misery I’m opting for escape. If you fancy doing the same but can’t afford your own pad in Fiji, I’ve found some cheaper winter sunshine options.


Land of camels, shisha (and a few holiday makers that got thrown in jail for bonking on the beach), Dubai has the perfect climate between October and March.

I’ll be honest, if you can’t imagine a trip without art and culture, it’s not the place for you. But if a slightly dusty city break with good restaurants, luxury hotels, a beach and shopping malls sounds up your street, book away.

How much will it cost? Flights with Emirates, Etihad, BA, or Virgin will set you back around £500-£600 return. (More at peak times like Easter and Christmas.) If you don’t mind a short stop in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines offer flights from around £350. Particularly bargain savvy holiday makers might even be able to snag one of Flight Centre’s £250 flash sale flights. Follow them on Twitter for regular updates on these magical discount days.

For deals on luxury accommodation check Lastminute and Expedia. If you’re keen to save those pennies and are willing to stay in a less flash area, try the Jormand hotel  in Bur Dubai. I lived there for three months when I first moved to the city and although it lacks the wow factor, it’s comfortable, clean and costs as little as £50 a night for two.

Alcoholic drinks are pretty expensive but if you visit the right ‘ladies nights’, there’ll be a bar serving free drinks almost every night. Yes I said free. You’re welcome.


Egypt has experienced a rocky political ride over the past year, but it’s keen to rebuild its tourism industry. If you want up to date advice on the sticky patches to avoid, check the foreign office website before you leave.  Currently there’s no restrictions on the popular tourist destinations including Sharm el Sheikh or the Pyramids of Giza (home to the world’s most famous Sphinx.)

How much will it cost: Package holidays are probably one of the best ways to get bargain trips to Egypt. Co-op travel is  offering all inclusive four star options from £439 but it’s worth having a shop around on Mr Google as well.

Cheaper to eat out than Europe, you’ll find lots of great places to dine when you’re on the move. That said, cheap isn’t always cheerful and Egyptian food is renowned for causing the odd bout of stomach pyrotechnics. If you don’t want a tummy like Alton Towers’ latest rollercoaster, I’d give street food a miss and put your restaurant reasoning skills to good use.

The Canary Islands

A little enclave of (almost) eternal sunshine, the temperature in the Canary Islands rarely drops below 17 degrees in the day. (Unlike the rest of southern Europe where things tend to get a bit nippy between November and March.) If you’re one of those avid exercising types, there’s plenty to do in terms of bike trails, walking and wind surfing.  Alternatively, if you’re like me, just lie on the beach like a lumpant walrus consuming french fries and cocktails until the tide comes in to roll you away.

How much will it cost?

Flights to the largest islands (Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria) are ridiculously cheap if you buy at the right time. (Starting at around £59 with Jet2 and easyjet.)  The best time to travel is usually November or early December, before the Christmas rush and Great January Depression.

For good value flexible accommodation check out villa rental websites like Owners Direct.  Giving you the freedom to come and go as you please, you could disappear into town, party all night and invite some smoking hot locals back for an impromptu margarita pool party. (Or just play drunken Scrabble in the air conditioned living room and throw all the tiles on the floor when you don’t win.)

In terms of eating, the Euro exchange rate is still pretty unforgiving. Villa hire has the added bonus of self catering, meaning there’s no need to pay more for food than you would at home.