Christmas is just 16 weeks away, so if you’re planning to escape to warmer climes or want to explore some spectacular Christmas markets, you’ll need to book soon. Here’s where to go and when to book to get the best deal.
New data from Skyscanner has revealed that the best time to book a Christmas getaway in 2018 is 13 weeks before you depart, which could see you saving up to 29% on the cost of flights.
If you’re hoping for a holiday bargain this Christmas, don’t fly on Christmas Day, says Skyscanner. While December 25th has often been considered the cheapest day to fly, their data reveals that this year it’s actually the most expensive, with the average flight price from the UK costing around £660.
Instead, take to the skies on December 24th and you could save 19% compared to Christmas Day, and if you’re not fussed about seeing in 2019 on the ground, fly on New Year’s Eve for even cheaper flight prices.
3 holiday hacks for your Christmas adventure
1. Beat the rush
The research also showed that the Saturday before Christmas, which falls on the 22nd in 2018, is the busiest day to travel. If you want to beat the rush, you should book flights for the quietest day, December 17th.
2. Mix and match airlines
To get the best price, Skyscanner recommends exploring multi-airline options. Don’t just look at return flights from a single airline when browsing for your break – you could knock a hefty chunk off your airfare if you travel out with one airline and return with a different one.
3. Check for other airports
If you’re using Skyscanner’s search tool, use the “nearby airports” option to check for alternative airports around your destination. Flying into a smaller, lesser-known airport and travelling by public transport to your final destination could save you hundreds.
Where to go this Christmas
While the pound might not be at its strongest, there are still a number of destinations that make for great-value breaks over the Christmas period. Flight prices to the Middle East, the USA and across east Asia have seen significant dips for Christmas 2018 compared to last year, so here five of are the best-value destinations to visit this Christmas:
1. Frankfurt, Germany
Home to Germany’s biggest and most famous Christmas market, flights to Frankfurt are 13% cheaper this year compared to 2017, averaging £107. Centred around St Paul’s Square, the enormous market encompasses hundreds of stalls selling Christmas decorations, traditional crafts and – of course – glühwein (mulled wine). It doesn’t get much more Christmassy than this.
2. Las Vegas, USA
If you’re going to overindulge at Christmas, where better than on the Las Vegas Strip? This city of hedonism, with its all-night casinos and all-you-can-eat buffets is a bona fide adult playground, and this year it’s 13% cheaper to get to, with flights from £338 return.
3. Reykjavik, Iceland
Go northern lights spotting and hot spring soaking in Iceland this Christmas for almost 20% less than last year. Flights to the Icelandic capital are averaging £139 for the 2018 Christmas period, and this time of year is excellent for aurora searching, as there are only a few hours of daylight each day. There also may be nothing more invigorating than stripping off in sub-zero temperatures and launching into a 30°C geothermal pool.
4. Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates
This Middle Eastern metropolis is a brilliant place for a winter sun escape. With plenty of luxury hotels featuring rooftop pools and exceptional spas, it’s the ideal destination to escape the Christmas hype. Get cultural at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which features the world’s biggest carpet, and get out into the desert to learn about the life of the Berbers indigenous to the region. Plus, this year you’ll find flights for 27% cheaper than they were in 2017.
5. Penang, Malaysia
With flight prices at 19% cheaper than last year, the island of Penang off the coast of Malaysia is a spectacular winter destination. Think beautiful, soft-sand beaches, fabulous street food (noodles, anyone?) and pretty colonial architecture built during the British occupation.