It's that time of year again, where winter feels like it's been dragging on forever, with a distinct lack of decent sunshine — and there's always a friend posting pictures from an overseas jaunt to trigger a bit of envy. Here are a few places we've been day dreaming of, throughout it all.

1. The islands

You can't deny how lucky we are to have the Pacific islands right on our doorstep. Snorkelling in Samoa, relaxing on the beach in Fiji, shopping in Hawaii or enjoying some resort time in Tahiti all sound equally appealing — which would you choose? Whatever the option, there's always an opportunity to hit the beach.

2. Vancouver, Canada

This coastal Canadian city has got it all — snow capped mountains, lush evergreen forests and of course, the Pacific Ocean. Summers here are crisp and warm, but not too humid and the city boasts a variety of interesting eco-hotels and great restaurants to frequent. We'd definitely rather be exploring the parks, hiking the mountains or kayaking around the beautiful shores, then finishing up with a bison burger and a caesar cocktail.

3. Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

The dry August weather signals the start of the great migration — a must-see for all nature lovers — where herds of wildebeest and zebra travel from the Serengeti to the Mara region. And what better way to see this natural spectacular — considered as a potential eighth wonder of the world — than on a hot air balloon safari, gently floating over the rolling hills and meandering rivers, while the animals do their thing below.

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4. Croatia

Our own Deputy Travel Editor Stephanie Holmes is cruising around Croatia currently and we couldn't be more jealous — even if the beaches do look a little crowded. But sometimes that peak summer feeling just adds to the good vibes and Croatia is still relatively quiet compared to similar destinations like Spain, Italy and Greece. The old buildings on a backdrop of turquoise sea look incredible at this time of year — it's definitely one to add to the list.