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Cheap Christmas holiday travel deals for 2018

Best bargains for a December holiday break plus tips on how to get the best deal.

It’s no secret that Christmas is the hottest time of year for people to travel. It’s also no secret that it’s one of the most expensive times to travel. The cheapest tickets often get snapped up early and sales tend not to include Christmas holiday periods – but don’t be discouraged!

With the kids on holidays and just one day of annual leave giving you a five-day long weekend (22-26 December - taking Christmas Eve off) you shouldn’t let the last-minute rush stand between you and your holiday. There are still ways to have a cheap Christmas getaway. Scroll down to find out how:

Fred. Olsen Fred. Olsen

Up to 30% off Christmas and New Year's cruises

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My Fiji My Fiji

Up to $4,000 free in extras with Fiji packages

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Hertz Hertz

10% off USA car hire

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RedBalloon RedBalloon
Exclusive

10% off site-wide

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Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

6-day Disney World ticket for the price of 4

Valid from 20 August - 31 December 2018, including over Christmas at Disney World Resort Florida. T&Cs apply.

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Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

4-day Disneyland ticket for the price of 2

Valid until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas at Disneyland Resort California. T&Cs apply.

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Berlin Pass Berlin Pass

Free entry to the Pergamon Museum

Valid until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. T&Cs apply.

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Looking4Parking Looking4Parking

10% off cruise port and airport parking

Valid until 31 December 2018 on airport and port parking across Australia, including Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast and Adelaide.

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Dusit Hotels Dusit Hotels

Up to 15% off Dusit Thani Hua Hin + Free WiFi

Valid until 31 December 2018 at Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Thailand. Booking must be made in advance. T&C's apply.

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Swiss BelHotel Swiss BelHotel

Up to 35% off Manila stay

Valid for stays until 31 December 2018 at Valero Grand Suites by Swiss Belhotel Makati, Philippines. T&C's apply.

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Compass Hospitality Compass Hospitality

10% off best buy rates

Valid for use on select dates until 31 December 2018 at The Citrus Hotel Cardiff and Eastbourne, United Kingdom. Booking must be made 7 days prior stay. Includes complimentary WiFi, early check-in and late check-out. T&C's apply.

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Caesars Palace Caesars Palace

Free buffet package for two

Valid for stays until 31 December 2018. Includes accommodations and two buffet passes. T&C"s apply.

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Adina Adina

Up to 20% off stays 2+ nights

Valid for stays on select dates from 13 September 2017 - 31 December 2018. Minimum of a 2-night stay to redeem offer. T&C's apply.

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Groupon Groupon

40% off Phuket day tour

Valid for travel until 31 December 2018. Includes full day tour of James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay, buffet lunch, fruit and soft drink, English-speaking tour guide and more. T&Cs apply.

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Groupon Groupon

20% off airport transfers

Valid for travel until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. Destination includes Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Sunshine Coast. T&Cs apply.

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Enterprise Rent a Car Enterprise Rent a Car

Up to 10% off Australia car hire

Valid until 31 December 2018. Minimum of 3 days rental. T&Cs apply.

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Groupon Groupon

Phuket day tour from just $55

Valid for travel until 31 December 2018. Enjoy the scenery of Phi Phi, Maya Bay and Khai Island. Inclusive of return transfers to hotel, speedboat tours, English-speaking guide and more. T&Cs apply.

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Hertz Hertz

10% off USA car hire

Valid until 31 December 2018 at select USA locations. Minimum of 5 days rental.

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Vibe Vibe

Up to 20% off stays + 2-for-1 breakfasts

Valid for stays until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. Includes late check-out perks and complimentary use of WiFi. T&Cs apply.

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Hertz Hertz

15% off USA premium car hire

Valid until 31 December 2018 at select USA locations. Minimum of 5 days rental.

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Compass Hospitality Compass Hospitality

Up to 30% off hotels

Valid for stays until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. Destinations include Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Oxford and more. T&Cs apply.

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Dusit Hotels Dusit Hotels

Up to 20% off luxury hotels worldwide

Valid for stays until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. Includes free WiFi and welcome drinks upon arrival. Destinations include China, Kenya, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, UAE, USA and more. T&Cs apply.

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Wendy Wu Tours Wendy Wu Tours

$50 off tours

Valid until 31 December 2018 on select tours, including over Christmas. Destinations include China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and more. T&Cs apply.

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Enterprise Rent a Car Enterprise Rent a Car

Up to 10% off New Zealand car hire

Valid until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. Minimum of 3 days rental. T&Cs apply.

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Swiss BelHotel Swiss BelHotel

Up to 30% off Bali stay

Valid for stays until 31 December 2018 at Swiss Belhotel Tuban, Bali, Indonesia. Must book 60 days in advance to get the discount. T&C's apply.

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Contiki Contiki

Up to 30% off last-minute Asia tours

Valid on select tours departing until 26 December, including Asian Adventure and Eternal India.

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Groupon Groupon

20% off airport transfers

Valid for travel until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. Destination includes Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Sunshine Coast. T&Cs apply.

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Otel.com Otel.com

Extra 8% off hotel bookings

Valid on hotel stays worldwide on all dates, including over holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

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My Fiji My Fiji

Up to $4,000 free in extras with Fiji packages

Valid for travel from November - December 2018 and January - June 2019, including over Christmas. Resorts include Fiji Hideaway, Sheraton Fiji, Royal Davui Island and more. T&Cs apply.

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Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Up to 60% off 5-night luxe Langkawi packages

Valid for travel from 22 October 2018 -  31 October 2019, including over Christmas. Includes accommodation, daily breakfast, 24/7 butler service, 60-minute massage, VIP transfers and more. T&Cs apply.

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Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Up to 75% off all-inclusive Bali packages

Valid for travel from 16 October 2018 - 20 December 2019, including over Christmas with surcharge. Includes daily meals, unlimited alcoholic drinks, daily snacks, airport transfers, 25% off spa treatments and more. T&Cs apply.

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Travel Talk Travel Talk

2-for-1 Christmas and New Year tours

Valid for 2018 tours. Destinations include Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Russia and Jordan. T&Cs apply.

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Wendy Wu Tours Wendy Wu Tours

$50 off tours

Valid until 31 December 2018 on select tours, including over Christmas. Destinations include China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and more. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Finder Flight Finder

Up to 50% off AirAsia flights

Valid for travel until 30 June 2019, including over Christmas. Destinations include Auckland, Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Phuket, Maldives and more. T&Cs apply.

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Budget Air Budget Air

$25 off flights

Valid on all dates, including over Christmas. Destinations include India, Canada and Sri Lanka. T&Cs apply.

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STA Travel STA Travel

International flights from $363 return with Air New Zealand

Valid for travel until December 2018, including over Christmas. Sample fare is Melbourne-Auckland. Destinations include Los Angeles, San Francisco and more.

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Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific

Asia flights from $704 return

Valid for travel from 17 September 2018 - 15 August 2019, including over Christmas. Destinations include Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei, Beijing, Manila and more. Sample fare is Perth-Shanghai.

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Etihad Airways Australia Etihad Airways Australia

Europe Christmas flights from $1,878 return

Valid for travel until 31 December 2018. Destinations include Rome, Paris, Dublin, London and more. Sample fare is Perth-Amsterdam.

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Otel.com Otel.com

Extra 8% off hotel bookings

Valid on hotel stays worldwide on all dates, including over holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

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Compass Hospitality Compass Hospitality

25% off hotel stays

Valid for stays until 31 January 2019, including over Christmas. Promo includes unlimited WiFi, 15% discount on food and beverage plus 25% discount on laundry services.

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Compass Hospitality Compass Hospitality

Up to 30% off hotels

Valid for stays until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. Destinations include Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Oxford and more. T&Cs apply.

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Vibe Vibe

Up to 20% off stays + 2-for-1 breakfasts

Valid for stays until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. Includes late check-out perks and complimentary use of WiFi. T&Cs apply.

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Dusit Hotels Dusit Hotels

Up to 20% off luxury hotels worldwide

Valid for stays until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. Includes free WiFi and welcome drinks upon arrival. Destinations include China, Kenya, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, UAE, USA and more. T&Cs apply.

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Fred. Olsen Fred. Olsen

Up to 30% off Christmas and New Year's cruises

Valid for travel from November - December 2018. Destinations include South Pacific, Caribbean and Australia. T&Cs apply.

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Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

6-day Disney World ticket for the price of 4

Valid from 20 August - 31 December 2018, including over Christmas at Disney World Resort Florida. T&Cs apply.

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Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

4-day Disneyland ticket for the price of 2

Valid until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas at Disneyland Resort California. T&Cs apply.

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Berlin Pass Berlin Pass

Free entry to the Pergamon Museum

Valid until 31 December 2018, including over Christmas. T&Cs apply.

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Looking for more travel deals over Christmas? Check out all of our promo codes and discounts.


10 tips to get the cheapest Christmas flights and holidays

1. Fly on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and/or New Year’s Day

Flights during the week before Christmas Day tend to be the most expensive for the month as everyone who’s searching for a Christmas getaway will want to be at their destination on the 25th. If you’re not that picky, fly ON Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

If you're travelling somewhere that's only an hour or two away, you may still be able to get to your celebrations before lunch.

It may not be the best thing celebration-wise but it could save you hundreds.

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Just be wary of transport to your hotel when you arrive as some cities shut down or limit public transport on Christmas Day (eg, London) or charge a public holiday surcharge.

2. Fly back mid-January

Those people flying out before Christmas Day will most likely be flying back just after New Year’s.

So try to avoid flights in the week following New Year’s Day to cash in on the cheaper fares that follow.

3. Holiday in a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas

Where there will be Christmas celebrations, tourists will flock, so choose places that don’t really celebrate such as China, Cambodia, Japan and Morocco and you might find less of a fluctuation in airfares compared to other destinations.

4. Pick destinations that are generally more affordable

Shave costs by choosing destinations that are either closer to home or are more affordable.

While places like Southeast Asia are cheap anytime and will be a bit more expensive during the holidays, prices won't bloat as much as big cities or pricier destinations.

5. Keep it local

Don't rule out short flights within your own country for a Christmas break. It's still a break after all and you won’t have to worry about passports, visas and currency exchanges to boot.

We took a look to see how much a return flight over the holiday period using Skyscanner's fly everywhere tool. We chose flights departing Saturday 22 December and returning 1 January 2018 and here are some sample fares we found:

  • Melbourne to Sydney for $166 return (Jetstar)
  • Sydney to Ballina Byron for $264 return (Jetstar)
  • Brisbane to Townsville for $271 return (Jetstar)

Check out what other flights are available here

6. Ditch the flight altogether and take a road trip

If you're keeping it local, why not make it a road trip instead? Big families can benefit from this most as you’ll only have to pay a set price for the car hire instead of purchasing separate seats for each member of the brood on the plane.

According to our car hire tool, hiring a car from Sydney CBD for 22 December 2018 to 1 January 2018 (drive out Saturday morning and drive back in on New Year's Day public holiday and only take three days off work) starts at $505.59.

great_ocean_road_shutterstock_273439982

7. Once you arrive, don't stay in hotels

We don’t have to tell you twice that booking through a short term or vacation rental service like Airbnb or VRBO can save you heaps. Christmas is no exception. Prices are set by the renters and accommodation can vary from anything from a room in an apartment to a whole house. If in doubt, you can compare it against current hotel prices via Hotels Finder.

8. Camp it

Bring down the holiday splurge a little more by opting to go camp instead of booking accommodation. Family tents can be found for less than $300 and can be reused on your next trip.

Sites are much cheaper than hotels or Airbnb-style accommodation, and are sometimes even free if you're willing to forfeit facilities.

9. Opt for a package

Bundled packages which include flights, accommodation and sometimes activities can be a godsend during the peak period. To be fair, prices per package do go up according to the season but with everything sorted for you it’s a time-saver – especially for the budget savvy of us who have to research and compare every different option.

Check out the packages sections of sites like Flight Centre of My Queensland to see just how much you can save on your holiday.

10. Fly without extras

If you're not having any luck with the price of your actual flight, consider forgoing extras like checked baggage (or share luggage to cut costs in half), in-flight meals and drinks.

We find these perks on budget airlines significantly increase the price of your flight - sometimes even doubling it. It may not seem like much, but if you're travelling with a family of four, these extras can easily add up to an extra night's hotel stay. Think of it as bonus vacation.

Note: All prices mentioned below are accurate at the time of writing (September 2018) and are subject to change.

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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