You could say ‘bah humbug’ this Christmas and save cash if you book a holiday leaving on the big day.
The cost of trips during the festive period falls by about a quarter, with almost 50 per cent off deals available — perfect, if you are not feeling in the swing of things this year. It’s even possible to exchange presents in the morning and have Christmas lunch before heading to the airport.
The reason, of course, is that demand drops and airlines need to fill seats.
Here, we select a few ‘humbug holidays’, with savings based on comparisons with departures during the week before Christmas.
CHEAP SUN IN THAILAND
Relax on a palm-lined beach or sip a cocktail by your infinity pool on a getaway to Phuket
Relax on a palm-lined beach or sip a cocktail by your infinity pool on a getaway to Phuket and enjoy a white-sand Boxing Day (with zero chance of snow). The average daily high in Phuket is 31c (88f) in late December and early January. Stay at the Crowne Plaza Phuket Panwa Beach, which has a sumptuous spa, a top-class Thai restaurant and beach campfires.
Saving: 25 per cent.
Festive treat: Kayaking trip to a secluded island and beach.
Details: 13 nights’ B&B, including flights from Gatwick (lastminute.com, 0871 2771070).
SINGAPORE FOR A SONG
Buy your own Christmas presents at one of the best places to shop in Asia with fashion boutiques, electronics and jewellery shops galore. Or simply feast on fantastic food: enjoy noodles and curries from street stalls or dine at Michelin-starred restaurants. Explore the many temples, art galleries and museums while basing yourself at the Ramada By Wyndham.
Saving: 37 per cent.
Festive treat: A Singapore Sling cocktail at Raffles Hotel.
Details: 14 nights’ B&B with Heathrow flights (traveltrolley.co.uk, 0844 8558150).
NEW ZEALAND BARGAIN
Celebrate Christmas in the morning, then catch an evening flight to Auckland for a fly-drive around beautiful North Island. It’s the summer down under, so temperatures will be good, with daily highs of about 20-25c (68-77f).
Head off from the airport and book hotels and B&Bs as you go. Make sure you explore the rugged west coast as well as the Waikato countryside, where The Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy was filmed.
Saving: 36 per cent.
Festive treat: A dip in a hot spring pool at Rotorua.
Details: 14 nights’ fly-drive with Gatwick flights and car hire (expedia.co.uk).
The Maldives is the ultimate tropical island, fly ’n’ flop destination, far in the Indian Ocean
The average daily high is 29c (84f) in the Maldives in early January, so there’s one guarantee: heat. This is the ultimate tropical island, fly ’n’ flop destination, far in the Indian Ocean.
But there is plenty for active guests to do at Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives resort on Chaaya island, including surfing, snorkelling, fishing and sunset dolphin-watching cruises.
Saving: 27 per cent.
Festive treat: Go on a turtle-spotting snorkelling tour.
Details: 14 nights’ B&B with Heathrow flights (travelocity.com).
Dazzling: Marrakesh at night
Fly out to Marrakesh on Christmas Day and enjoy the souks, mosques, palaces and the labyrinthine old town during the quieter days of early January. Visit a hammam for a long, hot soak, drink mint tea and nab a good deal on a carpet (when the crowds have gone, it’s easier to haggle). Stay at the Hotel Marrakech Le Semiramis, which has exotic gardens, tennis courts, a spa and a pool.
Saving: 32 per cent.
Festive treat: Book a massage at a hammam.
Details: 14 nights’ room-only with Gatwick flights (loveholidays.com, 01903 258288).
Go skiing in the desert on Boxing Day (on indoor artificial slopes) after catching an evening flight on Christmas Day.
The average daily high is a pleasant 20c (68f) and there are plenty of theme parks, waterslides, souks and shopping malls to explore. Base yourself at the swanky Hilton Dubai Creek, which has a cool rooftop pool and is close to the Gold Souk.
Saving: 27 per cent.
Festive treat: Hit the desert ski slopes.
Details: 14 nights’ B&B with Heathrow flights (travelbag.co.uk, 0203 930 5235).
LOVE LAKE LOUISE
Head for the hills: The majestic Lake Louise in Canada
Huge savings are to be had if you fly out on Christmas Day for a ski break in Canada.
Lake Louise has great skiing with extensive pistes — and, if you hire a car, it’s easy to explore the nearby resorts of Sunshine Village, Banff and Norquay. The scenery is beautiful around the lake by the resort village. Stay at Lake Louise Inn for the best prices, indoor pool and hot tubs.
Saving: 48 per cent.
Festive treat: Go for a dip in the outdoor hot springs at Banff.
Details: Seven nights’ room-only with Heathrow flights and transfers (crystalski.co.uk, 0808 503 5724).
- Prices were correct at time of going to press, but may change.