Once the excesses of Christmas and New Year with all their parties and family gatherings are behind you, we know you’ll be dying for some time away to relax and recharge your batteries. But when all your finances have been drained by the festive period, the chance to enjoy a holiday with your loved ones seems hardly within your reach. But thanks to a competitive market and some great online deals, even those on the tightest budget should be able to find a holiday to suit their pocket. Here is our guide to some of the best:
Enjoy a British break
Can’t afford an escape to the sun? Only got a few days of holiday left after Christmas? With so many fantastic destinations to visit, staying within the UK can still offer plenty of opportunities for a fantastic break away. We’re really lucky to have such a diverse landscape in the UK, and you can enjoy anything from a rural retreat to a cosmopolitan city break. For dramatic wintery landscapes and plenty of warming whisky, why not head to Edinburgh? The city will still be in party mood after its famous Hogmanay celebrations, and you’ll find a boggling array of restaurants, attractions and beautiful places to stay. Want something away from the city? Why not hire a cottage through the National Trust? Based in stunning locations around the country, the National Trust’s properties cover everything from castles to romantic boltholes for two.
Fancy heading a little further afield? With many of Europe’s cities wrapped in romantic snow at this time of year and accommodation prices at their lowest, winter is a great time to get out and explore some of the continent’s most famous cities. Planning an escape with your significant other? Pack plenty of warm clothing and head for Prague or Budapest, where stunning architecture, vibrant culture and intimate restaurants are sure to get you in the mood for love. Holidaying with a group of friends? The lively city of Berlin is a great choice for night-owls, with its round-the-clock partying and world famous nightclubs offering fun and debauchery throughout the winter months. For great deals on accommodation, activities and more in top destinations throughout Europe, check out lastminute.com.
Escape to the sun
Just can’t cope with the cold? The new year is a great time to fly off in search of some winter sun. And there’s even good news for those starting to feel the strain on their bank balances – you don’t need to jet off to the Caribbean or Australia to catch some rays. The Canary Islands are a popular destination for their year-round sun, cheap and cheerful accommodation options and busy ex-pat communities. Those who like to let their hair down a little will find plenty of resorts in Tenerife and Lanzarote dedicated to the pursuit of hedonism, and while many get a little quiet around winter time you can still find plenty of parties if you know where to look. Or, if you’re in search of a quieter holiday, head to the beautiful island of Fuerteventura where you’ll find some gorgeous nature reserves and wildlife parks – often deserted at this time of year. Away from the Canary Islands, sun-seekers can find similarly mild climates in the resorts around Egypt’s Red Sea as well as Northern African destinations such as Morocco and Tunisia.
Plan the adventure of a lifetime
Always wanted to travel the world? There’s no time like the present. Why not make it your New Year’s resolution to stop dreaming and get going on the adventure of a lifetime? January to April is a great time to visit many exotic countries in places like South East Asia and Central and South America, as this time of year often offers the coolest temperatures, the lowest rainfall and the least humidity. Don’t think you can afford it? Think again. If you’re prepared to break up your flights with long layovers you can get some fantastically affordable deals, while sites like workaway and schemes such as WWOOFing (Worldwide Working on Organic Farms) offer plenty of opportunities to work in exchange for food and board. For beautiful beaches and a vibrant backpacker scene head to the popular resorts of Thailand or Cambodia, its less developed neighbour. Or for sunshine and adventure in a less exotic destination, why not join the thousands of Brits that head to Australia in search of the laid-back surfer lifestyle every year? With global travel, a little planning goes a long way, so use a website like TripAdvisor to search for the best accommodation and activities before you go.