Vacation places when Covid-19 gives us a break!

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Trunk Bay Beach on St. John in US Virgin Islands, Caribbean.

The Caribbean makes the best possible winter break for sun seekers and post-US-election refugees but beware the Sargassum seaweed situation, sometimes this stinking weed spreads over Caribbean beaches. Check your potential destinations carefully before laying down your dollars. See our Caribbean beaches pages for best islands, best beaches, budget tips and more information.

Best Vacation Places winter 2020/21

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is generally about winter sports or moving briskly between indoor cultural activities under damp and dreary skies.
Of course in the Southern Hemisphere it’s summertime so northern sun seekers mostly need to head south. Easy, good value choices for Europeans lie in Africa – South Africa is particularly attractive, good value and easy to reach for Europeans, or pricey Dubai for guaranteed winter sun and serious bling – while North Americans just have to nip down to Latin America for incredible, colorful cultures or to Caribbean islands for magnificent beaches and sunshine.

Cheap and cheerful

We’ve trawled the web for budget destinations and a consensus is difficult to find, but here are a few interesting and recommended budget places that should be fine over the next few months: Egypt, MexicoCuba, JamaicaNepal, Cambodia

America    Latin America   Europe      Africa      Asia      Australasia

The Americas

US Vacation Places winter 2020/21

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

One of Cabo San Lucas’ town beaches, Mexico

Beaches on most of mainland USA are pretty much out of the picture in wintertime, and the best bet – Florida – has been recently battling with Sargassum seaweed and storms, tho’ it will probably go away by December.
Temperatures rarely fall below 50F (10C) and usually hover around 72F (22C) with lots of sunshine, so a Christmas dip off Miami beach is chilly but definitely doable, while up the road in Fort Lauderdale dozens of decorated boats cruise around the Intracoastal Waterways during the Winterfest Boat Parade on December 14.

The Pacific coast’s CaboAcapulco and the more bohemian beaches further south are clear of seaweed (we believe).

Canada Vacation Places winter 2020/21

Canada is an easy trip for Americans and you could get a feel for la vie Française if you head for Quebec or great English-speaking life in Vancouver and nearby Whistler ski resort.
Best cities: Vancouver (British Columbia), Toronto ( Ontario), Quebec City and Montreal (Quebec) province.

Latin America Vacation Places winter 2020/21

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Rainforest zip line ride in Costa Rica. Photo by Ken Haufle

Further south in Latin America the weather and colourful cultures of Chile, Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica should be fine in winter, along with Ecuador’s spectacular Galapagos Islands.

European Vacation Places winter 2020/21

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Playa Papagayo, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain. Photo by Lviatour.

Europe in winter frequently features dull grey skies with chilly drizzle so tourism focuses on winter sports in France, Italy, Austria and Germany or cultural visits to the classic cities of London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Barcelona and Seville where the climate is not quite as traumatising as further north.

Many European cities tend to have colourful Christmas lights dispelling the gloom, firework shows on New Year’s Eve and sales for bargain hunters. London’s stunning museums are still free in spite of political demands otherwise.

Germany’s brilliant Xmas markets are extensive, frequently family-friendly and run for most of December, sometimes starting in November.

Beach holidays? Nope, though there is always the Spanish Canary Islands, located on a North African latitude in the Atlantic and enjoying pretty good weather all year round with warm winter temperatures around 18C (64F), lows about 15C (59F) and water temp of 18C (64F) so book a place with heated pool, preferably on an easterly island on the south-east coast (such as Lanzarote, Fuerteventura (especially if you like board sailing) or Gran Canaria (Las Palmas is the capital and has the best climate in the world according to some US climatologists) for best chance of a warm, dry holiday.

Africa Vacation Places winter 2020/21

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Edfu temple walls, beside the Nile river, Egypt

Egypt’s Luxor will offer the unusual experience of strolling incredible temples and tombs under blue skies with very few sheeple grazing around you as previous hordes are usefully discouraged by the troubles in distant Cairo and north Sinai. Security levels are high so for a small risk the adventurous will see one of the world’s best group of ancient sites at low cost and low crowd levels.
Sharm el Sheikh beach resort on the other side of the Red Sea (extremely well guarded these days) will be incredible value and offer lovely weather as the local authorities try to tempt visitors back to enjoy south Sinai delights; lower down the financial totem Dahab is a fun place to hang out. The lovely Red Sea, however, will not be very warm.

Morocco will probably be pleasant and sunny though a bit chilly at this time and definitely not the place for swimming or serious beach use. In winter slightly more upmarket hotels/riads are a better bet for decent insulation and warmer rooms. Agadir is the most southerly tourist venue, culturally very limited (boo!) but offering massive beaches (hooray!) washed by freezing Atlantic seas (boo!).
As usual Marrakesh makes a terrific base for exploring the Sahara desert and the Atlas mountains but if you’re temperature-sensitive go a little upmarket to ensure your hotel has heating, many hostels don’t and it can get decidedly chilly!

Etosha National Park in Namibia offers self drive, secure rest camps beside waterholes and vast numbers of animals, making this one of the world’s top three wildlife experiences. Add in vast dunes at Sossusvlei, seals on the Skeleton Coast and Namib Desert activities and Namibia is another bucket-list def-do.
Otherwise you could head for Tanzania’s wildlife and its beach island of Zanzibar or South Africa’s varied attractions, from lively cities, particularly Cape Town, beaches to wildlife and wine districts.

Asia Vacation Places winter 2020/21

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Bagan in Burma/Myanmar,  2,500 ancient pagodas, temples and stupas over 40 sq kms of sesame fields, and not much else. Photo by Christopher Michel from a tourist hot-air balloon.

Few ancient sites have such incredible 360 degree views in one of the world’s most peaceful, Buddhist sites in Burma/Myanmar. There’s much, much more and this is totally the best time to visit this extra-ordinary country. For much of the year Myanmar is way too hot for comfort!

India is also awaiting your visit but it’s massive so focus, don’t try to see everything at once! Kerala, down south is perfect at this time though the country’s primary sights are in the Golden Triangle around Rajasthan. Do both!

Nepal is chilly in winter (so book rooms with heating!) but the key thing is the Himalayan skies (i.e. mountains) are clear, the ancient artefacts bizarre and the walks stunning. It appears to have recovered from the recent ‘quakes and be mostly intact.

Developing Laos is also good value and perfect in winter, as is Cambodia,  Vietnam (with OK beaches) and Thailand, with many great beaches.

Australasia Vacation Places winter 2020/21

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Mt. Cook Track, Aoraki, South Island, New Zealand

This is positively prime time in New Zealand for incredible walks, beaches, wine tasting, and insane adrenalin activities, but try to avoid school holidays from December 20th to the end of January due to crowds.

Southern Australia is generally in great shape in their summertime i.e. US winter, with Sydney and Melbourne buzzing with energy and things to do. However, the east coast is  suffering an unusual number of massive forest fires and it’s not going to get any better as summer kicks in.
On the Gold Coast early summer temperatures head into the 30Cs with occasional rain, albeit short and exciting tropical storms rather than north European drizzle. Surfer’s Paradise becomes very loud, pricey and overcrowded during the Christmas holidays. Far north Australia is best avoided at this time due to extreme heat, drought and forest fires.