For many people, December is the best time of the year to go on holiday. With dark, cold nights settling in, a bit of respite can be just the ticket to eradicate the winter blues. If you're on a tight budget, you'll be happy to hear that cheap holidays in December are plentiful. Here's our guide on where to go and how to find the best bargains.
Travelling in the first two weeks of December is a sensible idea. This way, you will beat the school holiday crowds and can take advantage of cheaper flights and package deals. You will also benefit from quieter resorts. School holidays generally begin around the 18th of December, so after this time you will find that prices rise for a few days.
Naturally, though, it is also cheap to travel on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. The lack of demand sees flight prices dropping, and, if you are prepared to sacrifice your Christmas Day to travel, you can bag a bargain. If you are escaping on a romantic city break, why not travel in the early hours of Christmas Day and be in Prague or Bruges for lunch?
A European city break in December can be extremely romantic. Some of the most iconic architecture on the continent looks most beautiful when draped in snow, and the Baltic states are lovely at this time of year. Snuggling up in wine bars and coffee shops with a backdrop of historic buildings and snow can provide an unforgettable December holiday experience.
Alternatively, why not head to the famous Christmas markets in Germany? Low cost airlines run bargain flights to German cities, and there is nowhere better to get into the festive mood. Markets sell traditional crafts, winter-warmer foods and handmade clothing, so you can do your Christmas shopping and have a unique holiday at the same time.
If you are looking to book a family weekend away with the kids but are on a strict budget, why not head to Brighton's winter festival, taking place on the 21st December? The Burning of the Clocks is a fun family event that celebrates winter solstice with parades, fire shows and an outstanding firework display on the beach. Alternatively, why not head to the historic city of Bath for the weekend, where there are Christmas markets and performances of seasonal shows and ballets such as the Nutcracker.
If you are in need of some sun, there are alternatives to expensive long-haul holidays. The best place to head is the Canary Islands, where you can take advantage of bargain package deals in the first half of the month. If you can afford to wait for last minute deals, there is also the opportunity to enjoy cut price holidays.
For ski holidays, there are some fantastic budget options in France and Slovakia. Take a look at lesser known resorts and all inclusive deals. Again, the early in the month you head to ski resorts, the better.