Buying a second home overseas in a bid to escape the cold winter months is a daunting prospect as spending almost half a year away from friends and family is never easy.

Indeed, while even moving to a new city within the UK poses challenges in itself as you try and make friends with neighbours and find the most sociable places to go for a drink of an evening, opting for a property abroad brings into play an array of other factors - including the language barrier and cultural considerations.

Yet despite the uncertainties involved with taking off to spend large chunks of time in a foreign country, many Brits still consider such a move as an attractive option, and to deal with the initial test one expert suggests joining an expat group to help socialise with like-minded families.

"If you are going somewhere you aren't familiar with, I always suggest finding a destination that already has an expat community in place," said Jennifer Stevens, executive editor at InternationalLiving.com.

"They can help you, they can give advice and make suggestions. You can make wonderful friends with people who are from the country and are moving too."

With plenty of opportunities to form good friendship links with expat groups - as well as integrate with the natives of the country of your choice - it appears that there is no reason why the social life of Brits who move abroad has to suffer just because they've left some friends back in the UK.

And as well as taking into account sociability, there is also security to consider, so holiday home insurance shouldn't be overlooked as people prepare themselves to take the plunge and buy property in foreign lands.

"Moving overseas might not be for everybody. But you will be surprised at how comfortable and welcoming a lot of the value destinations are," Ms Stevens added.