Those of us lucky enough to live in Europe can hop on an afternoon flight and arrive in Sicily in time for dinner.
Yet there’s something still very exotic about flying further, so which are the best long haul destinations worth escaping to this summer? Britain’s summer isn’t always the best time to head to these far-flung destinations, so you might be surprised. Find out which are hot and which are not this season before you book your long-haul holiday at your timeshare resort…
All flight times are approximate, departing from London.
Dubai – 7 hrs
Closer than Australia or Thailand, Dubai is a great place to escape to during our UK winter, but in summer it’s a sizzler. While the British summer hovers in the high 20s (if we’re lucky) the mercury in Dubai is already well into the high 30s and 40s. Off the radar until fairly recently, it’s quickly becoming an alternative to Miami. It feels big, affluent and very modern, especially the extraordinary architecture. A drink at the stunningly beautiful Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel, is a must just to see the place and take in the views – you can always go somewhere more affordable for dinner.
Caribbean – 8 hrs
Prices in the Caribbean are much lower during their winter (except for main national or school holidays) so the British summer can be a good time to go. However, the weather is less settled and there’s a small chance of hurricanes. The islands are lush and lovely so if you’ve never visited and budget is an issue, the UK summer could be a good time to fly. Temperatures in July and August are warm but not scorching, so it’s a destination worth considering as a UK summer getaway.
Miami – 8-9 hrs
Miami’s rainy season peaks in June and continues through autumn, which is one reason many Brits head for the sunshine state during the UK’s winter. If you’re flying there this summer you can expect warm, humid weather –afternoon thunderstorms are a familiar occurrence during summer. Rainfall tends to peter out towards the end of autumn, so if you can wait until October, that’s a good time to go. (Hurricane season falls around mid August to late September).
Kenya – 8.5 hrs
Kenya is beautifully dry during the UK summer and there’s nothing more relaxing than staying in a beach-side lodge… Blackberry switched off, fresh seafood and tropical fruit cocktails for lunch and nothing but big blue skies overhead. (And nothing beats the holiday experience of a safari).
The Maldives – 10 hrs
Beautiful…but probably not at their best during July and August. Their summer falls during one of their monsoon seasons and rain and the winds arrive in July. Typically, like other tropical climate destinations, the downpours often pass quite quickly but those lingering grey skies don’t make the best holiday snaps.
Los Angeles – 11 hrs
California is an interesting choice as it all depends where exactly you’re going. If you’re heading inland it’s going to be hot, while temperatures at the coast will be pretty near perfect.
California is a grat long-haul choice during the UK summer for many reasons. Stay close to the beach in San Francisco, LA or San Diego and you’ll get those welcome Pacific breezes which keep daytime temperatures in the high 20s/low 30s (inland temperatures are likely to be dramatically higher). Summer nights are comfortable as the mercury dips as the sun sets, unlike in more humid destinations. Summer’s also when Cali beach culture comes into its own, with everyone who knows how to surf out on the waves, enjoying another endless Malibu-style summer.
If you fancy a summer trip to somewhere like Las Vegas, be prepared – the mercury escalates despite the drier climate. Those in the know who love Palm Springs (a two hour drive from LA) stay away from the desert during summer. But just before or after Christmas, Palm Springs or Las Vegas, are at the best – it’s T-shirt weather, with blue skies, sun and warm, dry air – and snow on the far-off mountains. Perfect for getting on to the golf course, taking in the breathtaking desert scenery and generally enjoying the healthy dry climate at your leisure while those back home are wearing their thermals.
Thailand – 11.5 hrs
Picture postcard perfect it is… but Phuket can be a bit rainy in June, July and August. Still, it’s usually short-lived and interspersed with sunshine, with temps in the 20Cs and 30Cs. (Probably the best time to go is December – March, making Thailand an ideal long-haul escape from Britain’s grey post-Christmas skies).
The Seychelles – 12 hrs
Like Kenya, the Seychelles are at their best during the UK summer, which means no heavy rain, dry beaches and very blue skies. Brisk south-easterly trade winds blow during May – September, making it the perfect season for sailing, surfing or windsurfing and even if you’re not a yachtie, the warm Indian Ocean waters are very inviting. (If you like it less windy, April or October would be the best time to visit as the north-westerly trade winds blow in later in October, through to March.)
Bali – 17 hrs
The UK summer is a great time to fly to Bali, as its rainy season happens during the winter and May to October are the best months to sample its seductive scenery and culture. However, July to September is Bali’s peak tourist season, so if you’d rather not see the crowds, aim for an October (or May) visit.
Australia and New Zealand – 21hrs ++
Flying time from London to Darwin is approximately 21-22 hours and New Zealand is Oz’s long-haul neighbour, so getting to Auckland is no picnic either. Once you’ve landed, you’ll be rewarded with warm welcomes and stunning scenery, but don’t expect constant summer sunshine as July and August are their mid-winter. Like the Costa del Sol, sun is virtually guaranteed – Sydney has around 340 days of sun each year, so you’ll probably get sun but it could be pretty chilly.