Go on, admit it. At some point during all the furore over sky-high energy prices that has cast a long shadow over the approach of winter, you’ve wondered to yourself - wouldn’t it be cheaper just to switch everything off and disappear to somewhere warmer until spring?

It’s a seductive daydream. But, unless you happen to be retired or in a position where you can pick and choose where you work from (and without the binds created by school-age children), a daydream it must stay.

And assuming it is feasible for you to pack your bags and relocate for most of the winter, boring old reality will still come knocking. Even with average energy prices going up by 27% this winter, it still won’t be cheaper to migrate south to sunnier climes. Not with the cost of flights, accommodation, travel insurance and all the other extras you wouldn’t be paying for if you stayed at home.

That said, what we do know is that heating our homes for the next few months, as well as having lights on a lot more as the evenings draw in, and having to run the tumble dryer a lot more to dry washing etc, is going to lead to some hefty energy bills. If you did decide to head abroad for an extended period of time, you could put the money you save towards the cost of your trip…

Big savings to put towards a holiday

So how much are we talking? Is it enough to convince you to start looking up flights right away? 

The problem with talking about energy costs is you have to be very general about it. All the talk of an annual price cap on energy bills is actually pretty misleading. What has been capped is the maximum unit rate energy companies can charge for gas and electricity. There’s no cap on what you have to pay. Your bill will depend on the size of your home, how energy efficient it is (for heating costs especially), where you live, what tariff you are on and, crucially, and how much gas and electricity you use. 

But let’s for the sake of argument say the £2500 average figure bandied about in the press represents the most you can expect to pay in the next 12 months if you have a three or four bedroom house. To hit that figure, you’d have to be running a gas boiler a lot of the time to keep the house warm, on top of using a moderate to high amount of electricity. Just the kind of energy consumption you’d expect in the coldest, darkest winter months.

So breaking that down, from the three months December to February, you could expect to be paying somewhere in the region of £625. If you live in a draughty, poorly insulated old house out in the country somewhere with a low energy efficiency rating, this might push your bill up to around £650. 

In addition, electricity unit prices vary from region to region a lot more than gas prices. According to Moneysavingexpert.com, in the most expensive area - North Wales and Merseyside - electricity is 2p more per unit than the national average, which works out as about 5.5% more. Electricity accounts for around two thirds of a dual fuel energy bill. So on that basis, if your big, draughty old house happens to be in North Wales or around Merseyside, the extra electricity costs would push your bill up to around £675 for the three month period.

So what would you save by switching your heating and electricity off and disappearing somewhere sunnier for the winter? You’d still have to pay standing charges, which now stand at an average of 28.49p per day for gas and 46.36p per day for electricity. There are 90 days in December, January and February, so you’d end up paying £68.36.

That works out as a saving of £557.64 for an average household, and more than £600 for the draughty old country pile! That’s certainly not a bad sum to put towards a winter in the sun. It would pay for your flights to not-so-far destinations like Cyprus, Malta, Morocco, UAE and Egypt for sure.

As for the rest of the costs, well there is more to wintering in the sunshine than saving money on your heating bills. If you feel like renting a villa somewhere warm for a few months to dodge the cold and keep the Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay is well worth the money, you wouldn’t be alone.