There is a reason that the Canaries attracts more holiday makers than Ireland each year and Greece and Turkey combined. We don't have many winter sun options that do not involve a second flight. Roll on that direct flight to Thailand or Malaysia. There is a prospect of this in the winter of 2014-5. Oslo, which is a similar market to us, already has direct daily flights to Thailand. In the meantime, Phuket via Abu Dhabi is your best prospect.
It is 20 years since our love affair with Morocco began, and Agadir has cleaned up its act. The hassle has been downscaled and the standards have crept up. The corniche area along the coast has replaced a somewhat squalid predecessor.
The usual range of day trips, camel rides, dune bashing and longer Marrakesh and mountain excursions will keep people happy for the week.
Sunway Holidays offers seven nights in Agadir during November and selected dates in December staying in the 3* Intouriste Aparthotel from €367 per person sharing. The price includes flights, transfers and accommodation. www.sunway.ie or phone Sunway 01-2886828.
Yes, Egypt. It is back on the departure board from December 26 and, because flights were suspended for a while, the lead-in prices are terrific: €799pp for seven nights all inclusive in the three-star Saint George Hotel; holidays departing December 26; €889pp for seven nights all inclusive at the four-star Coral Sea Waterworld; and €919pp for seven nights all inclusive at the Holiday Village, which is the perfect choice for families with young children. All prices are based on two sharing and correct when we went to press.
Sharm is an enclave with its own security posts around the city and passed safe by the authorities in all of the European countries.
Your local travel agent is the place to go although there is a 5pc discount for booking online with the operators, Falcon Holidays and Thomas Cook.
The second most popular of the Canary Islands as far as the Irish are concerned is a fascinating place. The resort areas, Playa del Ingles, Puerto Rico, etc, can get a bit swamped when you stick around the south coast resorts, but you can escape the hordes relatively quickly in picture-postcard villages such as Fataga and San Bartolme.
The upside? Flights are frequent and inexpensive from Ryanair and Aer Lingus, three times weekly each from Dublin, with Ryanair's prices coming in about €30 cheaper from mid-November, although you will notice hotel prices are creeping upwards if you have not been for a few years; tourists had to shift somewhere from all that turmoil in Africa.
The Greenfield Apartments are available from €705pp including flights from Falcon Holidays. If you are going independently, check hotel prices from Trivago.ie: they take their prices from the main consumer websites but the travel agent can sometimes beat that price with a package.
There are thousands of two-flight options for those who can bear an 11 or 12-hour trip to the winter sun.
The all-inclusive Occidental Grand Punta Cana, seven nights, €1,099pp. Hilary Murphy Travel on 051 421629.
A tiny treasure 43km from Madeira, accessible by ferry with a range of good hotels.
While Madeira has no beaches and a reputation as a spot for the newly wed and nearly dead, Porto Santo has lots of sand and an air of a Portuguese version of the Canaries about it.
SATA has direct flights from Dublin to Madeira and after that you go by ferry. You have to put this together yourself, but budget around €900 including flights.