If the dark days of winter are getting you down, it might be time to transport yourself to a warmer, sunnier, more exotic locale. And thanks to the great minds at HGTV you can satisfy that wanderlust right from the comfort of your very own couch.

A sunny beach vacation or stroll through the vineyards of Italy is just a click away when you know which shows to tune in to. To help you make that great escape, we’ve identified three great HGTV shows that will help you get away from it all, without breaking the bank or risking a sunburn. Beat those winter blahs with this list of binge-worthy, instant vacation shows.

1. “Hawaii Life”

It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic place to call home than the sunny shores of the Hawaiian Islands. And if you’ve ever dreamed about having your own little slice of paradise, then this is the show that might just tip you over the edge of casual daydreaming and into full-on obsession.

Profiling a variety of island dwellers who were just like you and me before they packed their bags and bought a one-way ticket to the land of Aloha, “Hawaii Life” dares to make the impossible dream seem possible.
Whether it’s a beach bungalow on Kauai, a patch of land near the lava flows on the Big Island, or a high-rise condo in Waikiki, “Hawaii Life” shows you how easy it is to call this island paradise home. Shots of crashing waves, blowing palm trees, and lush rain forests are mixed in with the house and apartment tours.

When the potential home buyers aren’t worrying about square footage or going over budget, they’re paddle boarding, hiking, or attending the freshest farmer’s market you’ve ever seen. Who cares if the kitchen is a little cramped when your backyard is the beach?

It’s rare that I can make it through an episode of “Hawaii Life” without catching myself crunching the numbers and searching for flight deals. Seeing the people they profile find their tropical happy ending makes me green with envy and ready to hit the Road to Hanna myself. Settling in for an afternoon of back-to-back episodes is the next best thing to stepping off a plane and onto the beach.

2. “Beachfront Bargain Hunt”

Hawaii’s beaches aren’t the only ones that call to the masses, and this show profiles both well-known and undiscovered beachfront communities. The lucky people featured are looking for their own bit of Heaven to call home – at least part-time.

Most families and couples on “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” have been vacationing at their favorite North Carolina, Texas, or Oregon beach for years and have finally decided to take the plunge and buy a vacation home.

Other than the pleasure of touring these quaint, oceanfront areas, the best part of this show is seeing how much beachfront you can get for as little as $150,000. On a frigid winter day, the idea that a place on the beach could be yours at such a reasonable cost can be just enough to keep you holding on until those crocuses decide to start poking their little heads through the soil again.

3. “House Hunters International”

Sometimes it’s more than a beach that tugs on your frozen, wintry heart. The streets of Barcelona, a village in the Irish countryside, or the culture and croissants of Paris are just click of the remote away when you add “House Hunters International” to your DVR schedule.

Whether your passport is up-to-date or not, you can travel the world right from your own living room thanks to this showcase of people looking to broaden their horizons by going international. And the contrast between our American way of life and the rest of the world can be eye-opening.

Seeing a sorority girl from the Pacific Northwest give up hot, running water to help bring her dream of teaching South American children to fruition is inspiring. But, even with the best of intentions, I think I’d find a way to afford the $450 a month place where I could get a hot shower over the $300 place without. And I can’t help but wonder how sanitary that can be. Do you have to boil water every time you need to wash your hands?

It’s wonderful, first-world problems like a lack of hot water that add to the sense of escape you get watching this show. Even though the centuries-old farmhouse outside Dublin looks like the embodiment of charm, the lack of an outhouse at my boring, suburban dwelling makes being where I am seem a little more awesome.

So, the next time you’re feeling that cabin fever and longing for someplace new, glamorous, and warm, just set your dial to HGTV – their lineup of travel-friendly shows will do the rest. And a Pina Colada to help set the mood doesn’t hurt either.

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