If the bitter winter weather in the UK simply isn’t for you, or if you’d just like to experience Christmas in another city, we’ve got some top tips to get you a deal this holiday season.
Whether you’re looking for fabulous flight hacks, cheap but satisfying packages, or tips to make the most of your cultural crossover – we’ve got you covered, with a little help from the experts over at lastminute.com.
Flights Hacks: Here’s how to wing it ahead of Christmas
01 Early bird catches the worm – Flight systems are loaded first thing every morning so flights which were on hold overnight (usually from business customers) will be released. This happens at around 1am, so you can often get better prices the earlier you book – a hack four in five Brits have never heard of.
02 Take off early – Morning flights are often cheaper, especially those at quite unsociable hours. Also, earlier flights are less likely to encounter delays (although this is never a guarantee!) because you won’t have a back log of flights. Departing earlier means landing earlier, so you can make the most of every minute of your trip.
03 Avoid the suits – The best days to fly are Tuesday to Thursday so you avoid the Monday morning rush of business travellers and also the weekend escapers. These dates often have better availability too and the best availability means low fares.
04 Black Friday and airline sales – The major airlines all have seat sales over the Christmas period, so this is the perfect time to book your next break at a great price. During Black Friday (at the end of November) and over Christmas lastminute.com offers access to these big sales of the airlines with amazing flight deals!
Hotel Hacks: Check out these suite tips
01 Book a weekend in the business district – Many cities which are popular for business travellers such as London, Brussels and Zurich, have fantastic room rates at the weekend once the ‘suits’ have left. You can sometimes find 5 star hotels for under £100 per night.
02 Sunday savers – Sunday nights are usually the cheapest night of the week to stay in a city hotel. This is the end of the week when weekend travellers have left and before corporate guests arrive so a great day to surprise your other half with a night away. You’re also more likely to bag an upgrade to a suite when the hotel is quieter on a Sunday.
03 Cheapest hotel months – Hotel costs are often lowest in December and January. And if the hotel is a corporate hotel then the last two weeks in December (excluding New Year’s Eve) and first two weeks in January are usually the quietest.
City Break Hacks: Don’t let the city break the bank
01 Flight + Hotel Combo – Book your flight and hotel together as a package, rather than individually, to save money and to get the best discounts. With lastminute.com’s Flight+Hotel you can often save more than 15%.
02 Premium Economy – You’d be shocked to know that when you purchase a flight and hotel in a package, sometimes going premium economy can be as cheap as economy or just a few pounds more! Make sure you check both options before making your booking, but remember this is only when you book the flight and hotel together.
03 Beat the January blues – The cheapest time of year for a city break is January, with deals for flight + hotel for two nights for under £100 to places like Berlin, Dublin, Prague and Copenhagen.
04 Keep currency exchange local – Change your pounds in a bank in the country you are visiting, as you could get a better exchange rate. Also consider using your debit card to pay for things abroad because you’ll get the exact currency rates of the day (not a rate that has fees and commission on top). Just check any fees your bank might charge for this though to check it’s cost effective.
05 Eat and drink like locals – The best places in cities to eat and drink are usually where the locals go, and around this time of year some of Europe’s most beautiful and famous Christmas Markets will be buzzing with life. The chances are that prices will be better and you will also get a real sense of the country you are visiting.