Q. I want a winter-sun holiday early in November. I've heard Saint Lucia has lots of rain, but is still warm? Any other ideas would be welcome. Martin Bratton, Gravesend, Kent
A. Your timing is excellent. For trips from the UK, the time between early November and mid-December is the lowest season of the year for most destinations. As a result, you can expect the keenest prices to warm destinations.
For Saint Lucia, for example, British Airways Holidays has a deal of £731 per person for a week, based on two people sharing at the Bay Gardens Hotel (room only). This is less than half what you would pay for travel over Christmas/ New Year. Similarly appealing prices are available for the appealing islands of Antigua and Barbados. All these include flights from Gatwick.
Cuba and the Dominican Republic are also worth considering, particularly if you want to explore a larger island. Rates for package holidays are excellent in November.
But uninterrupted sunshine during daylight hours is unlikely in the Caribbean and the storm season can continue until the end of November. Expect the odd downpour at the very least. For more certainty about sunshine, you can stay closer to home. Dubai and Egypt are two prime candidates in early November for blue skies and sunny days, cooling off refreshingly at night; the latter is cheaper, easier to reach and offers many more cultural options. The Nile city of Luxor is the best gateway to the ancient world and a week there with Thomson, staying at the five-star Steigenberger Nile Palace will cost £550 including flights from Gatwick and breakfast.
Early November in the northern hemisphere corresponds with early summer south of the Equator – making it the perfect time to visit South Africa's Garden Route, extending east from the fine city of Cape Town. November is the driest month of the year. A flight-only deal on Virgin Atlantic is around £750 for the non-stop trip from Heathrow to Cape Town, but through agents such as Dial A Flight or Trailfinders you can add a week's car rental for only £100 or so more.
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