As the temperatures drop, it's tempting to start dreaming of sun, sea and white sand beaches.
The Perfect 10: Winter Sun Destinations
You needn't go to the ends of the earth for some sunshine – Tunisia is just a three hour flight away, and boasts temperatures in the 20s through to at least November. As well as the souks of Tunis to explore, there's the beautiful blue and white town of Sidi Bou Said nearby and the ruins of ancient Carthage to explore.
Stay in style at The Residence Tunis, 20 minutes from the city centre on a 20 acre estate and beach, with a Thalassotherapy spa for any unexpected rainy days. Seasons is offering seven nights for the price of six from £1,095 including flights between October 1 and December 20. Go to www.seasonsinstyle.com to book.
The island off the coast of Thailand gets tropical temperatures nearly year-round, and once the monsoon season is over in December, it's warm enough to relax without being so hot you'll fry.
The new W Retreat & Spa Koh Samui opens on November 1 on the island's northern coastline, for a chic getaway. Enjoy cocktails around the infinity pool, or dinner at one of the resort's hotels, as well as the spa with its Thai-inspired treatments. Prices start from around £1,650 for seven nights.
Head down to the southern tip of India, where December marks the driest season in Kerala but with temperatures staying in the 20s. Home to one of the country's best elephant sanctuaries at the Periyar National park, Kerala is also famous for its beautiful tranquil backwaters where you can relax on board your own houseboat, as well as the tea plantations in the cooler hill stations.
On The Go Tours has launched a new nine-day trip, Captivating Kerala, from £699. Or base yourself at The Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resort & Spa on the shores of the Vembanad Lake, and enjoy the largest spa in south India. Rooms start from around £130.
It's hard to beat the thought of sailing around the Caribbean for the ultimate sunshine holiday, with the temperatures in the high 70s. So instead of a white Christmas, why not try unwrapping your presents in a yacht, followed by New Year in a waterfront villa?
The 14-night trip from Miramar Sailing includes a week on a private 40ft yacht sailing around Antigua, looking out to Montserrat and Guadeloupe, followed by a second week in the villa on the island's west coast. The holiday costs around £1,575 per person based on four sharing.
While neighbouring Dubai might have the high profile, that just means there's more chance of having the stunning landscapes of Oman to enjoy without the crowds. With mountains, deserts and coastline to explore, and temperatures in the 20s through December, you've got guaranteed sunshine without baking heat. Don't forget that it can get very cold overnight in the desert though.
Original Travel can arrange trips staying at the luxury Chedi Muscat before heading into the desert on a quad biking camping safari, finishing the trip with an overnight private Dhow Trip, for £2,500 per person.
Pemba, to the north of Zanzibar, could be the ultimate tropical white sand and turquoise sea hideaway. Reputed to be the best diving in East Africa, there's over 320 coral species in the Pemba Channel, but the area is still all but untouched, so you'll get it almost to yourself. Back on dry land, there's endless clove plantations scenting the air with spices, and you can escape from everything at Fundu Lagoon resort, accessible only by private boat.
Dive in Style is offering seven nights at Fundu Lagoon for the price of five plus two complimentary dives for travel before 22 December 2010. This eight-night all-inclusive itinerary costs from £1,950 per person, including flights and transfers.
Powder white beaches might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Cuba, but you can easily combine sunbathing with a trip to the capital Havana. With its mix of Spanish colonialism and post-war revolution, you can follow in Hemingway's footsteps to El Floridita bar, enjoy the live music on the streets, and steep yourself in history.
Travelzest's Captivating Cuba offers seven nights' all-inclusive at the Hotel Atlantico on Playas del Este costs from £670, including flights from London and transfers.
December marks the start of summer in the islands of Samoa, in the South Pacific – although November's 'cooler' temperatures rarely drop below the mid 20s anyway. As well as miles of coral reefs to dive and snorkel, plus the lush rainforest to explore, you can catch earth's last sunset of the day on Savaii island – the most westerly land point on earth, perfect to see out every drop of 2010 on New Year's Eve, as well as the Alofaaga Blowholes offshore and Tia Seu Ancient Mound pyramid structure.
Or on Upolu island, walk the extinct Lalomanu volcanic crater, home to flying foxes and the waterfalls in the Togitogiga Scenic Reserve. Air New Zealand flies direct to Samoa from London Heathrow via LA on Tuesdays. Fares start at around £1,100 return. Stay in one of the nine beachfront bungalows at Savaii Lagoon which cost from around £85 per night.
Only a few hours away from the UK, the Sinai peninsula is a short flight into year-round sunshine. But while resorts like Sharm el Sheikh are packed with tourists, Dahab, slightly further up the Red Sea coast has a reputation for being far more laid back but is still near enough for day trips to the desert canyons and Mount Sinai. And as well as scuba diving in the coral reefs of the gulf of Aqaba, experienced divers can investigate the Blue Hole and the Canyon, while the town is renowned for its great windsurfing.
Neilson's offers 7 nights at the Coralia Beachclub in Dahab from £569 per person in December, including windsurfing tuition, try dives, and guided mountain biking around the coast.
When the snow is falling in the UK, it's the height of summer in Australia, making it one of the best winter sun destinations. But if you don't have time to explore the whole continent, you can still get off the beaten track on Kangaroo Island, just south of Adelaide. Home to wildlife including penguins and koalas, as well as kangaroos, there's also local wine to enjoy, beaches and wetlands to visit.
Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours offer six person 4WD tours to the island. Single day tours cost from around £240 or contact them for details of longer tours including accommodation.