Winter Sun, National Trust, Writing Competion – Updates

As the nights get longer and frosts become sharper, it’s time for us senior travellers to think about finding some sunshine. We have the time to travel during these wintry months and also the inclination, for health and hedonistic reasons, to find warm, sunny places for winter breaks. But which resorts offer the best value this year?

Winter Sun - Orlando Florida
Orlando, Florida – An inexpensive winter sun destination

Of course you may decide to stay nearer home and take advantage of fair weather days to visit a few heritage properties. In which case, you are in luck; the National Trust has just announced a new membership offer.

Or you could even stay in the warmth of your own home and pen a few words for our new Writing Competition. What will we be looking for?

Best Value Winter Sunshine Resorts

A research report by Post Office Travel Money shows that seeking winter sunshine in Europe gives the best value for money this year, mainly as a result of the strength of the pound against the Euro.

The research looked at 18 destinations, 4 in Europe, the rest further afield, and checked the prices of a basket of tourist staples including drinks, a meal and insect repellent!

Dubai - The most expensive winter sun resort
Dubai – The most expensive winter sun resort

The cheapest destination was the Costa del Sol with the basket price of £44, with the Algarve at £47, Tenerife at £58 and Ayia Napa in Cyprus at £60. All are about 10% less than last year.

Of the long haul destinations, Bali was cheapest at £47 followed by Sri Lanka at £55, Phuket in Thailand at £63 and Tobago at £68. All these showed a drop in costs since last year.

Orlando, Florida rose by 17% since last year, but the basket was still only £71, followed by Vietnam at £85 and Mexico £93.

National Trust, Fountains Abbey - Open throughout the year
National Trust, Fountains Abbey  – Open throughout the year

The most expensive destination was Dubai at £159, a rise of 8% on last year. All the other long haul destinations were between £104 and £124 (Mauritius, St Lucia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Egypt and Malaysia), with a massive 55% rise for Penang in Malaysia.

Of course lots of other factors come in to deciding where to seek winter sun, including how long you want to sit cooped up on an aircraft and the costs of both travel and accommodation.

I’ve taken many enjoyable, winter sunshine holidays over the years. These are my Top Ten Winter Breaks – all tried and tested and good value for money.

National Trust

The National Trust has just announced that from the beginning of November, if you pay for annual membership by direct debit, you will get a 25% discount plus a free pair of binoculars. This reduces membership for an individual to £45 and for a couple to £74.25. For an extra £5 you can include children under 18 (children under 5 are free anyway).

The same reduction applies if you give membership as a gift. This could be a good idea for a year-long present. You could keep the binoculars for yourself of course!

Is this a good time to join the National Trust? Although some of the National Trust’s grand houses are closed over the winter period, many of the gardens and grounds are open almost every day of the year. See: English Heritage and the National Trust – Winter openings?

Writing Competition

Our new Writing Competition will commence on Thursday November 20th and will have the theme of: City, Town or Village.

Liverpool Pier Head from the Albert Dock
Liverpool – Why visit?

Entrants will be asked to submit up to 750 words, non-fiction or  fiction, which persuade the readers of this site to go and visit the city, town or village that they have chosen.

This free to enter competition will have a cash prize for the winner of £100.

Entrants will also be asked to recommend a hotel or other accommodation within, or near, the city, town or village they have chosen. This is as a service for anyone who may wish to visit; it will not be a factor in the judging process.

We look forward to some very interesting and exciting entries. So get thinking and writing!

Travelling for the Over Sixties

Coming up soon on this site, a review of Timothy Blewitt’s new book, Travelling for the Over Sixties. I’m still reading this 339 page book, but my first impressions are that it will prove to be an interesting and invaluable aid to senior travellers, whether travelling near or far, and whether travelling independently or in an organised group.

I think it will prove to be another great idea for a Christmas gift.