Summer escapes to beat the winter chill 0 With winter well and truly making its mark it’s only natural to slip into a daydream of white sandy beaches and warm water. Thankfully there are destinations around the world that can turn the daydream into a reality and help thaw out those icy bones. A personal travel manager can help make the warm weather fantasies feasible. Mexico While Australia faces a cold winter, Mexico and the United States enjoy their summer months – this means Mexico can be even cheaper than usual, as Americans tend to enjoy their summer months on home soil. Summers in Mexico are marked by unique festivals and lower than usual crowds. Traditional festivals such as the unique Day of the Dead celebration, the Radish Festival and the annual Monarch Butterfly migration are all worth investigating during a trip to Mexico. It’s worth planning ahead for these events as the passionate locals truly get into the celebratory attitude. While the summer weather can be quite hot there are picturesque beaches along the entire coastline and secret beaches in certain areas to escape the crowds. Mexico also has some of the world’s best surfing breaks. These spots offer a warm water alternative to the water temperatures at home. Fiji Fiji is an inviting option for Aussies trying to escape the chill of winter. Thankfully for Australian tourists there are a number of unique events held during the winter months that make the beach side escape a more cultural experience. The Bula Festival, held annually in July is a Fijian tradition and well worth investigating. The festival includes food stalls, entertainment, competitions and themed party nights with all proceeds going to charity organisations located in the town of Nadi. For a true cultural experience that will certainly warm travellers up, the Meke and Fire Walking ceremonies are well worth investigating. The ceremonies are held all year round, demonstrating the Beqa Island warriors traditional chants as they walk across hot coals. Fijian culture is incredibly heart warming, yet modest. If given the opportunity to be invited to a local village, there are certain protocols expected to guarantee you get the most out of your experience. Removing your shoes at the door is essential, and it is also considered customary to bring along Kava and some general groceries for your hosts. There are many beautiful waterfalls and forest walks across the islands of Fiji, however if relaxation is what you are looking for, the beaches of Fiji will never disappoint, offering hammocks, sea breeze and breathtaking sunsets. Bali One of Australia’s favourite and cheaper winter destinations. Bali offers some of the most affordable cultural experiences anywhere in the world. June – September is the dry season, so outdoor activities such as bike riding around the rice paddies and volcano of Ubud, learning to surf the infamous breaks in Kuta or watching the sunset at Tanah Lot are perfect ways to discover hidden talents and new experiences. If looking to get in touch with inner relaxation, make the drive to Lake Bratan in the north. The lake is home to one of the most exquisite Balinese temples, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, where the mist hangs low, the temperature drops a few degrees and you feel calm. In the south, a must see is the Monkey Temple in Uluwatu. The temple is home to hundreds of wild monkeys and makes for an incredible experience. Beware though, as things not directly attached to your body will be grabbed quickly by furry hands and raced up a tree.