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Long Haul Holiday Index

Long Haul Holiday Index

Earlier in the year, we created the Family Beach Index, a hub of information showing which of our sunny destinations were best for family beach holidays. As winter approaches and we're already missing the sunshine, we thought we'd find out which long haul destinations offer the best value for money for a warm winter family escape. So, using a similar method to the Family Beach Index, we've created the Long Haul Holiday Index!

The Long Haul Holiday Index looks at some of the things that matter most to holidaymakers when choosing their destination, such as average temperature, sea temperature and flight time, so that you can take your pick on which long haul escape is right for you. We also take a look at how many water and amusement parks there are, as our original Family Beach Index showed us that even though you love the beach like we do, off the beach activities are also a really important part of a holiday. Once all of the information is collected, the results are then combined to create a score, which is used to rank the destinations in order of best value.

What we found

A group of us from On the Beach got our detective gear out and did some digging to find you the best long haul destinations. We took some of our favourite long haul holiday destinations and researched their average temperature (October to March), average sea temperature (October to March), average flight time from the UK, average holiday cost (seven nights for two adults and two children) and number of waterparks and amusement parks in the area.

Take a look at our results below:


And if you'd like to see where in the world they are...

And the winner is...Dubai!

This destination is all about being the biggest and the best, so it’s only natural that the City of Gold takes the crown. If it comes as a surprise that you get great value alongside all the glitz and glamour, then let us tell you why Dubai tops the charts when it comes to further-away breaks.

The big one is the weather; Dubai’s permanent heatwave is perfect for a beach holiday. Think average winter temperatures of 23°C - this is one of the only places in the world where we can almost guarantee sunshine. And the sea temperature is even warmer, with the water reaching 24°C on average. For families and couples alike, the number of waterparks and amusement parks at your fingertips, combined with the reasonable flight time, makes Dubai a great value choice for a long haul holiday.

Cancun comes in at second

The epitome of tropical bliss, Cancun is everything you could want and more from a long haul holiday hotspot. With pristine white-sand beaches, crystal blue waters and attractions to suit every kind of holidaymaker, it’s easy to see why Cancun ranks at number two in our Long Haul Holiday Index. Throw in the fact it’s home to tacos and tequila and you’re at the pinnacle of paradise.

If you’re looking for a heavenly hot getaway, then look no further. The average winter temperatures sit at a toasty 25°C here and the waters are a lovely average of 27°C. So – unlike the UK – you’re pretty much guaranteed that dose of sunshine you’ve been craving. A reasonable (and direct) flight time plus a high number of attractions make this sunny destination perfect for both families and couples alike. Whether you feel like visiting ancient temples, swimming in the famous cenotes or ziplining through the trees, Cancun has something for everyone.

Ras Al Khaimah boasts third place

Stealing the title of third is the United Arab Emirates' latest up and coming holiday hotspot. With a whopping 64km of coastline and a welcoming water temperature of 25°C in the winter, we know where we would rather be! Ras Al Khaimah offers all the lavishness and luxuriousness you would expect from the Emirates, whilst still ranking highly for its incredible value for money.

But it’s not all just glorious beaches and year-round sunshine, there’s also plenty to be discovered in the captivating city centre. Enjoy a boozy bottomless brunch, taste mouth-watering Middle Eastern cuisine or discover the cities fascinating culture. Scoring highly on our Index, Ras Al Khaimah might just be the perfect pick for your next long haul trip.

Which long haul destinations are the warmest?

Number one on most holidaymakers’ lists, and most definitely ours, is how hot a destination is. We love to be lying on the beach, cocktail in hand with the heat of the sun beating down around us, but we know there are some who’d rather be in comfortable temperatures of the early 20s. Whatever your weather, it’s important to know where suits you the best.

In first place for warm weather, Phuket boasts a scorching average temperature of 28°C, blowing pretty much every other candidate out of the water. So, if you’re looking for soft white sands and a heat that is certain to make you sweat, you know where to go. In close second, Saint Lucia sizzles with averages of 27°C, making it the hottest Caribbean Island on our list! It’s heating up in Ras Al Khaimah, Dominican Republic, Barbados and Antigua too, coming in as our joint third hottest long haul destinations. Averaging at 26°C each, there’s no wonder these are popular long haul beach break destinations.

Deals to the warmest long haul destinations

Which long haul destinations have the warmest waters?

The sun may be shining, but we need a nice warm sea to dip into to really complete the perfect beach experience. From the Caribbean to the Andaman, lovers of the sea will know the importance of getting the right swimming temperature, which is why we did our research to find out the average sea temperatures of our long haul destinations.

Feeling more like a warm bath than a refreshing dip in the sea, Phuket’s waters take the top title boasting a sizzling average of 29°C. Not too far behind, Saint Lucia comes in second with an average of 28°C and the warm waters of Cancun, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Cuba (Havana) and Antigua take joint third place averaging at 27°C each.

Deals to long haul destinations with the warmest waters

Which long haul destinations have the most attractions?

Whether you’re travelling with young ones or love to have an option of fun days out when you’re on your jollies, water and amusement parks can be a necessity when picking where to go on your next holiday. If you love a good aquarium, you’re a sucker for a super-soaking waterslide or you’re a white-knuckle ride seeking daredevil – we’ve got you covered with our top long haul destinations for attractions.

There’s no wonder Dubai takes the top spot on the Long Haul Holiday Index, as it was absolutely no contest when it came to number of attractions. With 20 water and amusement parks in the UAE city, you’re spoiled for choice when looking for fun-filled days out with the family. Second place sees Cancun, with 12 attractions in the sun-soaked destination, which although may be eight less than Dubai is still extremely impressive. Over on the Indian Ocean, Mauritius offers a solid six water and amusement parks, a big number for such a small island!

Deals to long haul destinations with the most attractions

Which long haul destinations are the easiest to fly to?

Some love to fly, some would rather not even think about it – but one thing's for sure, we’re all eager to get to our hot holiday destination as soon as we possibly can! Although long haul holidays are quite literally named after their lengthy travel time, it’s so worth it for the tropical heat, interesting yet tasty cuisine and the oh-so-dreamy scenery. If flight time is something that factors into your choice of getaway, then we’ve done the digging for you…

The UAE has the hot heat, warm waters and even the speedy flight! Dubai and Ras Al Kaimah both score 16 out of 20 with average flight times of 6 hours 45 minutes (Dubai) and 7 hours (Ras Al Khaimah). With a flight score of 15, the Dominican Republic comes in at third with an average flight duration of 9 hours and 10 minutes, making it the quickest Caribbean nation on our list to get to.

Deals to long haul destinations that are the easiest to fly to

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