A cut-price holiday? It’s the ultimate gift, especially if you get your hands on one of these seasonal specials
- Need a last-minute gift? A host of tour companies offer gift cards and vouchers
- Tui holiday vouchers start at £10 and go up to £5,000 if you’re feeling generous
- Get money off a stay in a cosy cottage with a gift card from Premier Cottages
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week, he recommends some last-minute travel gifts.
It may sound like a cliche but it turns out you really can give the gift of travel for Christmas. A host of tour companies offer gift cards and vouchers that can be bought online or on the high street. Here are their seasonal specials.
Hays Travel offers vouchers between £10 and £1,000, which could be used to visit Portugal’s Algarve
If you’re gift-shopping for a family who want a cheaper way to enjoy some summer sun, or a couple dreaming of a romantic city break, why not buy them a Tui holiday voucher. You can give as little as £10 or, if you’re feeling extraordinarily generous, up to £5,000.
The team behind Hays Travel – 2019’s real holiday heroes after the firm reopened most of the closed Thomas Cook stores – also have gift vouchers. You can give between £10 and £1,000 and vouchers can be redeemed in store or by phone to get money off any of the group’s holidays. Popular choices include a three-night winter-sun break at the self-catering Clube Praia Da Oura hotel on Portugal’s Algarve from £139pp, including flights.
Sheer beauty: Sample the scenery of Alaska using online vouchers from Trailfinders
Independent travellers might appreciate money off flights booked through trailfinders.com. Get vouchers online for between £10 and £1,000 and Trailfinders will credit them against any tickets, including to its ‘Off The Beaten Track’ destinations such as Alaska, the Yukon and Bhutan. Alternatively, go direct to an airline for gift cards. Norwegian’s vouchers (from £40) cut the cost of flights, whether recipients are heading to Lisbon or Los Angeles. They can also be used to pay for checked-in baggage or in-flight meal orders. Visit norwegianreward.com.
For something completely different, take a look at the last-minute Christmas gift guide focusing on holidays in rural Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and Herefordshire. A bargain pick is a £19 voucher for a G-force-inducing ride on a giant swing 250ft above a flooded quarry. Haven’t got a head for heights? Vouchers can be traded against beekeeping or wild foraging experiences instead. Visit wyedeantourism.co.uk.
A more sedate choice is afternoon tea in a classic country house. Book one in advance at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire (waddesdon.org.uk), where you can also give tickets for a wine cellar tour and talk, an evening of stargazing, a family cookery lesson, an orienteering session, or a Mother’s Day gin-tasting event.
Luxury travel club Mr & Mrs Smith does a ‘Get A Room’ gift card from £50. Redeemable hotels include Chapter Roma, pictured above
Raise a smile with a ‘Get A Room’ gift card from luxury travel club Mr & Mrs Smith (mrandmrssmith.com). Pick a stylish card from £50 or send an e-voucher – you can add personal messages to both. The company says popular messages are suggestions for specific hotels recipients may like to try, such as Chapter Roma in Rome where exposed brick walls and sleek black steel furniture give a nod to the area’s industrial heritage. Rooms cost from £141 a night.
Get money off a stay in a country mansion or a pretty, cosy cottage with a gift card from Premier Cottages (premiercottages.co.uk). You can give between £50 and £250, and recipients can choose from about 850 properties across the UK and Ireland. Popular searches are for dog-friendly cottages, coastal views, ‘just for two’ stays, or cottages with hot tubs, such as the idyllic two-bedroom Hayloft at Bucks Farm in Suffolk, available from £395 a week.