The first feature in a three-part series by travel counsellor Juliet Twena
THE saying goes ‘it’s a small world’, but not so much if you wanted to try walking around it!
Then it’s pretty big. Most of us have a general idea of the seasons throughout Europe and perhaps know that when it’s winter in the northern part of the world its summer in the southern hemisphere.
But when it comes to travel, there’s a lot in between and one of the most frequently asked questions I hear is: ‘Where is good to travel to when?’
It can be quite complex – when it’s dry in one part of a country, it can be rainy season in another part, with Thailand being a prime example of this. My intention is to arm you with the basics, and for anything that falls outside, please do get in touch (if I were to include every country in the world this series would be in 12 parts, not three).
So, without further ado here is a breakdown of the first four months of the year…
Christmas is over, the skies are grey and most people are dreaming of sunshine rather than hiding from the rain. So where is good to get some winter sun?
1) The Caribbean
With a selection of islands to choose from, and direct flights from London with through tickets on British Airways, it’s a great option for Jersey travellers. Flight times are around nine hours and the temperature is a balmy 29 degrees.
There’s the colonial island of Barbados, which is synonymous with blissful beaches, elegant hotels and acclaimed restaurants; the lush and rugged ‘Spice Island’ of Grenada, abounding with age-old plantations replete with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and ginger; or the largest of the Caribbean Islands, Jamaica. These islands of the Caribbean have a diverse compendium of culture and topography.
2) The Maldives
With one of the most delicate environments anywhere on the planet, coral reefs are the foundation of the islands. They offer protection to the tiny islands as its natural defence system, as well as offering amazing diving and snorkelling opportunities. The islands are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls, where you will most often find just a single resort. Just imagine, the most crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches, and only you and the other guests of the resort for company. It truly is heaven on earth and January is the perfect time of year to visit. Dry with temperatures of around 27 degrees.
3) South Africa
While South Africa is an all-year-round destination, January is summer and, in my opinion, it is a real treat to look forward to after the comedown of the festive season. January sees hot and dry weather in the Cape, making it an excellent time of year for trips to Cape Town and the Garden Route. The Kruger and KwaZulu Natal also have high temperatures, but sunny periods are interspersed with tropical rainstorms. The Battlefields in KwaZulu Natal are popular in January, as it has the anniversaries of both the Battle of Isandlwana and the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. You can expect temperatures around the 25-degree mark.
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Half-term is now on the minds of most parents, desperate to get away but restricted by the school holidays. Perhaps not this year but, historically, February provides an opportunity to finally take a break from the cold (unless skiing is your bag, but I’ll leave that for another time).
Easy access from Jersey on either Fly direct or on a through fare with BA makes Tenerife a popular choice for winter sun in February. The island has a plethora of hotel resorts, ranging from budget to the luxury Bahia Del Duque. Flight times are short, and temperatures are a pleasant 20 degrees, but having taken my kids in February for a few years, we have always found it warmer. From experience, I have found making sure the pools are heated is always a good shout.
February is a popular time to visit this ‘winter sun’ destination. The dry heat and bearable temperatures of February not only attract families from the UK taking their half-term break, but also those looking to avoid the scorching heat of the summer.
There is much more to Dubai than just its beaches and swanky hotels. Your visit could take in the essential highlights of the city, with time in Old Dubai, downtown and the beach areas.
For a trip with a touch of something a little bit special, you can stay in a secluded resort set among the desert dunes, before ending with some relaxation on the Palm Jumeirah. All areas are easily accessible wherever you stay in the city, making it possible to enjoy a bit of everything in a short space of time.
3) Sri Lanka
As I mentioned to begin with, there are several countries where the time to visit depends on which part of the country you’re going to – and Sri Lanka is one of these. It’s a year-round destination with consistent warmth and lots of sunshine, with temperatures averaging between 31°C at their highest and 22°C at their lowest.
I have chosen February, as the northeastern monsoon is winding down, and the south-western monsoon won’t yet have started. Because of this, the weather is quite calm all over the island this month. Sri Lanka is well-known for its peraheras, colourful festivals where elephants are paraded in full costume and fire-twirlers perform tricks. While the most famous perahera is in Kandy, there is also one that takes place in Colombo on February’s Poya day. The Gangaramaya Navam Perahera has been a tradition in Colombo since 1979. February also marks Sri Lankan Independence Day. Also known as National Day, this holiday commemorates Sri Lanka’s independence from Britain, gained in 1948. The main celebrations happen in Colombo.
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You’d need a lifetime to explore every facet of India and, much like Sri Lanka, there are better times of the year than others for visiting certain areas. But March has always proven a great month for me to travel to India. Holi, the festival of colours, takes place in March. And if you are lucky enough to visit during Holi, as I have, you will experience the most amazing atmosphere of celebration, bright colours and a real sense of community. It’s really quite special.
March is also considered the best time of year to visit the wildlife parks of Central India, such as Ranthambore and Kanha. You should, however, bear in mind that in the peak of the afternoon, the temperature can reach up to 33°C, with a dip at night to lows of 23°C. Goa expects virtually no rain at this time of year, while further north and in New Delhi the temperatures are cooler, with an average of 22°C.
A fascinating county with an ancient heritage and Latin flavour. I have travelled to the region in March myself. Mayan ruins and charming old colonial towns are evidence of the country’s rich history. Today, its colourful festivals and eclectic cuisine mark a vibrant and exciting present.
In March, you can expect dry, warm weather across most of Mexico. Although this time of year is technically mid-winter, it is still warm across the country – ideal for exploring and/or for time on the beach.
March is also a great time to spot whales as they migrate to Mexico’s coast, with humpbacks, blue and grey whales all making an appearance at this time of year.
March is my favourite time of year in Egypt, as you leave the colder months of January and February behind. Yes, parts of Egypt can be bitterly cold in the winter – I have been on the Sinai when snow halted a climb up the mountain.
March sees the country warming up nicely, with guaranteed blue skies and temperatures perfect for visiting southern Egypt, where the vast majority of Ancient Egyptian sites are concentrated. Temperatures are around the 25-degree mark during the day, making exploration of the bustling streets of Cairo, the pyramids of Giza and ancient Pharaonic tombs more comfortable than in the scorching heat of the summer.
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Spring continues to blossom in Morocco in April, and the days grow warmer. The temperature in Morocco in April reaches a high of 24°C in many places, although the coast can be a bit colder. It’s the perfect temperature to be able to explore the cities comfortably, as well as hike in the mountains. It is important to note the Islamic festival of Ramadan does affect transport in Morocco. The dates vary each year, so it’s worth checking what they are when planning your trip.
2) Southern Spain
April in Spain signifies the arrival of spring, when the sun is out and the beaches are opening for business, particularly in the south. And if that isn’t enough, some of the biggest parties and holidays in the world occur during this month. But the icing on the tortilla is that April falls in the shoulder season, so there are plenty of bargains to be had.
Most people think of Spain as a fly-and-flop or city break destination, but with a great rail network there are some terrific tailormade itineraries that you can do – think Malaga, Seville and Cadiz. All the pretty little towns often have their own unique culture and history, so it is well worth exploring in addition to flopping.
With hardly any breeze, the temperatures rise in the Seychelles in April, making it one of the hottest times of the year. It is also the driest time of year and, therefore, one of the best months in which to visit.
While the Seychelles is very popular with honeymooners, it can also me a great option for a special family trip, as Easter holidays often fall during this time of year. There is so much to do and, if you like diving or snorkelling, it offers perfect underwater visibility.
April is also the best time of year to see turtle hatchlings venturing from their nests into the ocean. Now that is something worth considering.
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* If you are planning a trip and want more advice on when is best to travel or when to avoid, get in touch today. I am here to help every step of the way.
* Juliet is an expert in all things travel and is supported by Travel Counsellors in the UK. Email: Juliet.twena@travelcounsellors
* Look out for news and the interview on Juliet’s recent merge with Kim Pierce in the JEP soon
* Facebook – facebook.com/JulietandKimTravel
* Instagram – instagram.com/julietandkim_travelcounsellors/
Please note: Due to Covid-19, some of the countries mentioned in this write-up currently have their borders closed. The recommendation is that readers don’t consider visiting a country until it is safe to do so. Contact Juliet for up-to-date details on the situation.