How to shake off the late winter blues


With Christmas firmly in the rear view mirror, springtime still seems quite far in the distance. Many of us will be hunkered over our ultraviolet S.A.D lamps and scrolling through travel websites, craving a little respite. January and February are among the peak times for seasonal affective disorder, the low mood that affects many of us to a degree – and there is only one bona fide cure. 

Serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone that regulates mood is stimulated by exposure to sunlight. Studies also suggest that spending time near water alleviates stress.1

The recent news that Spain has completely relaxed its COVID guidelines2 comes as a boon, with no arduous processes to prove your COVID status before travelling, and masks are only now required in public transport or medical settings. This return to normality adds a little more certainty to planning a trip, both in terms of the logistics and being able to relax properly once you arrive.

Most of Spain can get chilly in winter. For example, February in Barcelona averages 14°C – you would likely still need a jacket. 3

Winter sun options

For guaranteed shorts-and-t-shirt weather, fly further south.

A four-hour-and-half-hour flight from Dublin, the Canary Islands lie on the same latitude as the Sahara Desert, which makes for warm and dry conditions for most of the year.

In February, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura enjoy averages around of 21.5°C, with the most southerly points of Tenerife and Gran Canaria reportedly enjoying the best weather.

Water temperatures can feel a little cold to swim in the sea, but as the Canaries are a year-round destination, many of the hotels have heated outdoor pools.

It is worth noting that staying on the westerly sides of the respective islands is the way to avoid the occasional Saharan sandstorms.

February is also carnival season. With up to 400,000 attendees and an ebullient Brazilian-style float parade, as a spectacle, Tenerife’s Santa Cruz Carnival is considered to be the closest thing in Europe to the Rio de Janeiro carnival5, and for this reason Santa Cruz and Rio are twinned cities.

The further South you go, the more winter sun options there are. 

Miami, Florida is a comfortable 25°C6 in February and the water is warm, making it a perfect location for water sports. You might even see some manatees on their own annual migration south; manatees are a common sight in Florida between November and March.7 Direct flights from Miami to Dublin are nine and half hours, across five time zones, so jet leg is a distinct possibility.

To avoid jet lag, Cape Verde is a good option. This collection of islands just off the coast of West Africa is only one hour behind GMT. It is a balmy 25°C in February8, making it ideal for diving and water sports. There are no direct flights available from Ireland to Cape Verde, but a connecting flight from London Gatwick will take just six hours.

A winter holiday could also be a great time to visit somewhere that would otherwise be oppressively hot in peak season. Egypt is a history buff’s dream; you can explore the Valley of the Kings, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Nile River. With temperatures around 20°C in February9, you can take in the sights at your own pace without the risk of sunstroke.

Pure peace of mind

The reinvigorating power of a change of scene cannot be underestimated. When everywhere is grey and miserable, escaping to sunnier climes can shake off the winter blues and put you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the year.

Wherever you choose to go for your winter holiday, enhance your peace of mind with quality home and contents insurance.

With DUAL, your clients won’t be sitting in Dublin airport worrying about whether they remembered to put the burglar alarm on – our broad wordings don’t have the same onerous terms that many standard market policies do, so forgetting to put the burglar alarm on need not ruin the holiday.

DUAL home and contents coverage has high single article limits for valuables at home and away from the property, so jewellery and devices will be covered well beyond the limits offered by standard travel insurance.

DUAL also covers you for up to 30% of the value of your policy limit for any new items. If you’re considering proposing to that special someone over a Saint Valentine’s Day romantic break, you can relax .The ring could be covered, without the need to inform the insurer. We cannot guarantee that they will say yes, but we can the cover the cost of the engagement ring if it is lost, damaged or stolen.

If you are looking to provide your clients with quality home insurance that gives them true peace of mind, wherever their travels take them, speak to DUAL.


1 New Scientist, Why spending time near water gives us a powerful mental health boost

2 Spain travel restrictions lifted

3Barcelona weather

4Warmest Canary Islands in winter

5 Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

6 Miami weather

7 Florida wildlife

8 Cape Verde weather

9 Egypt weather