When you suddenly realise all your Christmas plans have fallen through and you’ve plenty of time on your hands, you begin to wish you could all get away for a well-deserved festive break. If you think you can’t afford the tickets, think again. There are budget options for last-minute Christmas holidays…
Bag a late holiday bargain
If you fancy escaping the cold and drizzle, you don’t have to travel to the other side of the world, or pay a fortune, to find some winter rays.
Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote are only a few hours away and often have very affordable late package deals. Costa del Sol, Spain’s “sunshine coast”, is another popular option. These resorts are all family-friendly and easy to reach. Check Teletext holidays or other online travel sites for deals, or go into your local travel agency to see whether they have any late spaces available.
If you’re prepared to travel at unsociable times – late on Christmas Eve for example – you’ll find cheap flights too.
Try a house swap
House swapping holidays involve you exchanging your home with somebody who lives in a different part of the country – or world – for an agreed length of time. It may sound a little daunting, but many UK families swear by it and it’s becoming increasingly popular. It cuts out the cost of hotels and tour operators, and you only have to pay for your travel, food and toiletries.
Many parents travelling with children prefer the idea of staying in a “home” rather than a hotel. With a home swapping holiday, you’ll be able to relax in comfort, without worrying about what time breakfast is served – and the toys and equipment you need will be on hand. Take a look at HomeExchange.com and HomeLink.org.uk for ideas.
Be a tourist in your own home
Winter is the perfect time to get out and explore Britain while there are fewer tourists. Wrap up warm in winter hats, scarves and walking boots, pack plenty of activities and games for rainy days, and you could have a wonderful holiday without the dreaded dent in your bank balance.
The National Trust has a great list of castles and other famous landmarks to visit, or you could head to one of the country’s beaches – they’re just as good for winter walks as they are for summer swims! Be sure to check local weather reports and opening days before you head off.
Use your imagination
If your budget is extremely tight, you could still plan a special getaway by being a bit inventive.
Ask your friends and work colleagues if anybody has a holiday caravan you could borrow. If it’s sitting empty over Christmas, they might rent it out on the cheap.
Ask around among your friends too – many will be leaving their homes empty over the holidays to visit relatives and may be happy to let you stay there for a change of scene.