Cheap Christmas holiday travel deals for 2021
You can still bag a last-minute Christmas bargain with these travel deals.
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With the kids on holidays and two public holidays to take advantage of 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:
11 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.
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. Stay in destinations that have price drops over the silly season
We know what you're thinking: nowhere has price drops over Christmas!
Contrary to popular belief there are some destinations where you can score a bargain over Christmas. According to Expedia, last year Belfast in Ireland was almost 30% cheaper to stay in over the peak season (20 December 2018 - 8 January 2019), based on the average daily room rate, compared to the average for the year. This was followed by Toronto and Seattle, which were both 25% cheaper.
For somewhere more local, Expedia found Broome in Western Australia 20% cheaper over Christmas, Wellington and El Nido, Philippines 10% cheaper and Adelaide 5% cheaper.
Bear in mind that weather conditions may be playing a part in these drops with Belfast, Toronto and Seattle experiencing cold winters and Broome a hot summer. However, December in El Nido is the start of the dry season and Adelaide is typically quite pleasant running temperatures in the mid-20s.
6. 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 Tuesday 24 December and returning 2 January 2020 and here are some sample fares we found:
- Sydney t0 Melbourne for $170 return (Jetstar)
- Gold Coast to Newcastle for $209 return (Jetstar)
- Gold Coast to Sydney for $250 return (Jetstar and Virgin Australia)
- Townsville to Brisbane return for $270 return (Jetstar)
These prices are accurate as at 18 November 2019.
7. 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 24 December 2019 to 2 January 2020 (9-day trip) starts at $878.74, which is less than $88 a day.
You can cheapen this by picking up your vehicle from a less central local. For example car hire from Croydon for the same dates starts at $356.04.
Key in your dates below for a quote.
8. 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 below.
9. 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.
For an idea of where to go, check out our top picks of campervan sites in Australia.
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.
Check out the packages sections of sites like Flight Centre or My Queensland to see just how much you can save on your holiday.
11. 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.
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