You can travel for less this Christmas, if you know the best bargain destinations at this time of year.
Christmas at home with all the family is all well and good for a few days, but at some point you're going to notice that you've taken the second largest chunk of your annual holiday in order to watch TV and cook for your family. Traditionally there was no alternative - unless you were mega-wealthy and had a skiing holiday to look forward to. Now there are lower cost alternatives, and we have picked five of the best.
The UK cottage holiday market is set up with Christmas as a peak period, so a cottage by the sea will set you back almost as much at Christmas as it does in high summer. So for the best bargains it makes sense to head overseas.
At this time of year, ski fans will be hunting down the best deals, but given the cost of all the equipment hire and ski passes, staying off the slopes is a cheaper option.
The Canary Islands are a decent bet for a dose of winter sun, with average temperatures around 20 degrees. The proliferation of package holidays to the islands means you can get a great last-minute deal even now, and Feuteventura seems to be home to some of the cheapest. Thomas Cook is currently offering seven nights self-catering from 17 December to 24 December for £240 per person, or all-inclusive for £390.
This has the same climate advantages as Fuerteventura, but prices tend to be slightly higher here. There are, however, deals to be found on comparison sites like Icelolly. It has the BlueBay Lanzarote for seven nights all inclusive from 17 December from £235 through Lowcostholidays.
Egypt's Red Sea resorts offer decent winter sun, and the area has enough package holidays on offer to ensure there are still deals available. It's a pricier option than the Canaries, but if you travel over Christmas day itself, you can bring the price down substantially.
One deal from Thomas Cook will take you to Sharm el Sheik for seven nights all inclusive (complete with five swimming pools, a water park and a kids' club) for £662 per person. The deal would see you travel from 19 December to 26 December. If you are willing to fly on Christmas day itself, you can save a packet. Thomas Cook is also offering all inclusive in Sharm El Sheik for £376.17 - flying home on Christmas day.
This archipelago off the coast of Western Africa certainly has the climate for a winter holiday, with average daily temperatures in December of 26 degrees. The economy is now largely tourism-based, so there are plenty of package holidays available, and Thomas Cook has seven nights all inclusive in Santa Maria from 17 December to 24 December for £520 per person.
Last-minute flights to most Christmassy destinations are a bit pricy, but you can get a flight to Berlin on 23rd December, returning on 30 December for £179. All you need to do is throw in a hotel. Laterooms is currently advertising the three star Hotel Nova, which offers a room that sleeps two adults and two children for £244.88 for this period. So two of you could take a week-long break for £301 each. It's not bad for a week in the home of the Christmas markets. You just have to make sure you don't spend the same again on ginger biscuits and hot wine.
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