It's the time of year when we start yearning for sunnier climes. The cash-haemorrhage that is Christmas is almost behind us, half-term is coming to an end and now is a perfect moment to take french leave and quietly escape overseas for a long weekend. But time is precious and so a careful balance has to be drawn between hours spent traveling and hours actually spent at your destination. It's a Catch-22 situation - the further you travel the more chance you have of catching some sun, but then again you're sacrificing valuable holiday time and is it really worth it? There are much better things you could be doing with your time than sitting on a plane. So without further ado, here are three short-haul destinations where you can be sure to find some warmer weather conditions:
Morocco - It's much quieter here at this time of year, so you can explore the city's labyrinth of derbs (alleyways) and the souks in relative peace. Although the nights can be quite cool you can expect temperatures up to 20 degrees during February. Flight time 3-4 hours.
Cyprus - Despite this being the coldest month, it's still a vast improvement on our own dark, dank weather. Hit the beaches during the day, check out the amazing caves and old ruins, then in the evenings indulge in some traditional cypriot wines and meze. Flight time 4.5 hours
Canary Islands - Blessed with clement weather conditions all year round, it's the ideal destination if you're in need of some Vitamin D. The balmy temperatures are no secret either, so expect it still to be teeming with tourists looking to grab some winter sunshine. Flight time around 4 hours.
It's not just the amount of time we have to spend on holiday which is limited, it's also the amount of time we have to plan our getaways. The travel industry has therefore adapted to suit our hectic lifestyles - you can book everything last minute on your way to the airport with two taps of your phone. There's just no excuse for a lack of spontaneity - not when information is instant and holiday plans can be conjured up in a matter of seconds. You can read reviews on Tripadvisor, book online with sites such as Expedia and Holiday Hypermarket, then check in for your flight using an app. Brochures and trips to the travel agent are almost redundant - it's all digital. Nowadays, we don't need Judith Chalmers telling us in honeyed tones how nice the Bahamas are this time of year - we just read it in a facebook post from Secret Escapes. Travel programmes are out of fashion as we're obsessing over food shows instead. The only problem is, once you've got reached your holiday destination, remembering to put the phone or iPodic device away so that you can relax and actually enjoy the vacation. Spending a few days without internet access may seem like a daunting task, but it is in fact achievable and highly liberating.