Have you been feeling a bit sluggish as the winter weather sets in? Are you craving richer meals, sleeping in a bit more, and generally feeling a bit flat?
There could be a scientific explanation. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), otherwise known as the winter blues, is a real condition. It’s more common than you might think in this country, as it’s estimated that up to 54% of people have some of the symptoms.(i)
Even if you’re not afflicted by SAD, it’s pretty common at this time of year to feel a bit lacklustre as the days get shorter and the drizzle sets in. One thing guaranteed to put a spring in your step is the idea of escaping the cold weather and heading on a holiday somewhere for days of endless blue sky and balmy warm nights.
Escape the grey skies by heading north
The good news is that Aussies have plenty of options when it comes to getting away to somewhere warmer. It doesn’t cost much for those on the southern and eastern seaboards to head to the Northern Territory or Queensland, where it can seem like summer all year round. Darwin and the wider Northern Territory have plenty of natural and cultural wonders to explore. There’s nothing quite like swapping out the grey palettes of city streets for the rich reds and vibrant aquamarines of the Kimberley gorges. Tropical Queensland is home to plenty of luxury resorts, not to mention national treasures like the Great Barrier Reef. A few days soaking up the sunshine can be had for well under $1,000 for a couple, all inclusive, if you take some time to do your research.
If you’ve got a bit more time and you’re willing to go further afield, south east Asia has a plethora of budget-friendly destinations. According to the ABS, the most popular holiday spots during the winter months are Indonesia (including Bali), Thailand, and Malaysia.(ii)
Emerging destinations, where luxury getaways can be had for the price of a hostel stay back here in Oz, are also worth considering. For example, visitor numbers to Cambodia and Vietnam are increasing, with tourism to these countries having really opened up over the last couple of decades. Vietnam offers a world famous cuisine coupled with stunningly diverse landscapes, from the balmy south to the mountainous north. Cambodia is also a unique cultural experience, home to delightful villages where you can still get that feeling of being somewhere fresh and un-explored.
Finding the best deals
To find the best deals, look at packages being offered by bigger travel companies, which can use their buying power to your advantage. Alternatively, keep an eye out for airfare sales with lower cost airlines, and build your own holiday from there. There is a ‘sweet spot’ in terms of timeframes for nabbing the best fares. Booking between six weeks and three months in advance and avoiding peak times like school holidays will get you the cheapest deals.(iii)
Many carriers also offer bargain fares in the middle of winter, when fewer people are taking time off for holidays compared to the summer months. If you prefer hotel accommodation and steering clear of questionable street food ‘adventures’, an all-inclusive resort deal can help you keep costs under control.
Budget for a break
Putting some money aside for your upcoming travel and building up some savings can help you avoid racking up a high credit card debt that you then have to deal with on your return. And of course, if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em and embrace winter? Take a leaf out of the book of European après ski culture and make a day trip to the snow, rent a cabin in the country (complete with roaring fireplace), rug up and go for long walks. Alternatively, just bunker down at home and enjoy lounging around on the couch with a hot chocolate in your hand.
(iii) Source: Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC)