10 tips to getting cheap Christmas flights and holidays

Where to look for a bargain December holiday break.

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 a four-day weekend off from work (24–27 December 2016) you shouldn’t let the last-minute rush stand between you and your holiday. There are still ways to have a cheap Christmas getaway. Here’s how:

1. Start looking at flights NOW

Might sound obvious but the earlier you start looking at Christmas flights and setting up alerts the better the price will be. The more last-minute you leave Christmas flight shopping the higher the price. We can almost guarantee it.

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2. Fly on Christmas Day and/or New Year’s Day

Flights a 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 Day. It’s not the best thing celebration-wise but it could save you hundreds.

Just be wary of transport to your hotel when you arrive as some cities shut down public transport on Christmas Day (e.g. London).

3. 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.

4. Fly to a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas

Where there will be Christmas celebrations, tourists will flock. Opt for destinations that don’t really have Christmas celebrations such as China, Cambodia, Japan and Morocco.

5. Pick more affordable destinations

Shave costs by choosing destinations that are either closer to home or are more affordable. Closer to home, you can consider New Zealand, Fiji, Singapore, Hong Kong or Hawaii. Further afield though still affordable, you might like to look at Indonesia, Thailand or Vietnam.

6. Keep it local

Don’t rule out flying 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. At the time of writing fares are still quite desirable with Jetstar charging $65pp one-way (not including fees) from Sydney to Melbourne on Christmas Day morning (arriving at 7.50am).

7. Road trip it

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 Drive Now, hiring a Nissan Micra from Sydney CBD for 23 December 2016 to 2 January 2017 (drive out Friday night, drive back in on New Year’s Day public holiday and only take three days off work) starts at $729.03.

Hiring a family car, like a Toyota Camry, for these dates starts at $923.26.


8. Airbnb it

We don’t have to tell you twice that booking through a short term or vacation rental service like Airbnb or Roomorama 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.

9. Camp it

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

10. 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.

Note: All prices mentioned below are accurate at the time of writing (28 June 2016) and are subject to change.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is a journalist, avid traveller and all-round bargain hunter. If there's an online coupon code, deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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