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Cathy Hawker

Travelling is in my blood. My parents worked abroad and I grew up moving between New York, Central Africa and Indonesia. For the past fifteen years I have written about overseas holiday homes, getting to know firm favourites - Southern Spain for example – but also checking out more "off-radar" locations that might appeal to a new generation of buyers.

As well as regular reports for A Place in the Sun I write weekly in The London Evening Standard and contribute to several papers and magazines including Country Life International, International Prime Property, the Financial Times and The Times.

That means that most weeks I throw a notebook into my trusty backpack to spy out not only properties abroad but also the lifestyle on offer. The lure of a second home in the sun or in the snow-covered mountains is one that’s easy to understand.

My own top picks would include the Costa Brava for the beautiful coastline, the Caribbean for the laid-back beach life and almost anywhere in Italy for the outstanding food and culture. But then there is also the Alps, the Algarve, the Balearics, Barcelona, Croatia, Florida…