Where Is Cheap To Go On Holiday In December

by CiCi
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December is a magical month for holidays, offering a unique blend of winter wonderlands and sun-soaked escapes. For UK travellers, the challenge often lies in finding affordable yet enchanting destinations that cater to varied tastes and budgets. This article explores some of the best value-for-money holiday spots for December, balancing the allure of festive charm with the practicalities of cost.

Eastern Europe: A Winter Wonderland on a Budget

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague transforms into a fairy-tale city in December, with its medieval architecture dusted with snow and the aroma of mulled wine wafting through the air. The city’s Christmas markets, especially those in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, are among the most picturesque in Europe.


Accommodation in Prague remains relatively affordable even during the festive season. Budget hotels and hostels offer great deals, and you can enjoy a hearty Czech meal for a fraction of what you might pay in Western Europe. Public transport is efficient and inexpensive, making it easy to explore the city’s sights, from Prague Castle to the Charles Bridge.


Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is another Eastern European gem that offers excellent value in December. The city’s thermal baths, like the famous Széchenyi and Gellért Baths, provide a warm retreat from the cold winter days. The Christmas market on Vörösmarty Square is renowned for its handcrafted goods and delicious Hungarian treats like chimney cake and goulash.

Accommodation in Budapest is generally affordable, with a wide range of options from budget hostels to mid-range hotels. The city’s extensive public transport network ensures you can travel around cheaply, and many attractions, such as Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion, are free to enter.

Southern Europe: Sun-Kissed Escapes

Lisbon, Portugal

For those seeking milder weather in December, Lisbon is an excellent choice. The city experiences mild winters, and while you won’t find beach weather, the temperatures are comfortable for exploring. Lisbon’s vibrant neighbourhoods, like Alfama and Bairro Alto, offer a mix of history, culture, and nightlife.

Accommodation in Lisbon can be very budget-friendly, especially if you book in advance. The city’s public transport system, including trams and buses, is both cheap and convenient. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample Portuguese cuisine, with inexpensive dishes like bacalhau (salted cod) and pastéis de nata (custard tarts) available at local eateries.

Athens, Greece

Athens offers a fascinating mix of ancient history and modern culture, with the added benefit of relatively mild winter weather. December is off-peak season, so you can explore iconic sites like the Acropolis and the Parthenon without the summer crowds. The city’s Christmas markets and festive lights add to the seasonal charm.

Accommodation in Athens is generally cheaper in December, with many hotels offering off-season discounts. The city’s extensive metro system makes it easy to get around, and you can enjoy affordable Greek cuisine at numerous tavernas.

Asia: Exotic and Affordable

Bangkok, Thailand

For those willing to venture further afield, Bangkok offers an exotic and budget-friendly holiday experience. December is one of the best months to visit Thailand, with dry and relatively cool weather. The city’s bustling markets, vibrant street life, and stunning temples provide a rich cultural experience.

Accommodation in Bangkok ranges from budget hostels to mid-range hotels, many of which offer excellent value for money. Street food is both delicious and incredibly cheap, with dishes like pad thai and mango sticky rice available for just a few pounds. Public transport, including the BTS Skytrain and tuk-tuks, is affordable and efficient.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is another excellent destination for budget-conscious travellers. December weather in Hanoi is cool and dry, perfect for exploring the city’s rich history and vibrant street culture. The Old Quarter is a maze of narrow streets filled with shops, markets, and street food vendors.

Accommodation in Hanoi is very affordable, with a wide range of budget hotels and hostels. Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for its flavour and affordability, with dishes like pho and banh mi available at street stalls for a fraction of the cost of a meal in the UK.

Latin America: Vibrant and Cost-Effective

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City is a vibrant metropolis with a rich cultural heritage and a surprisingly affordable cost of living. December is an ideal time to visit, with mild weather and numerous festive events, including traditional posadas and the Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe celebrations.

Accommodation in Mexico City is diverse and budget-friendly, with many mid-range hotels offering excellent value. Public transport, including the metro and buses, is cheap and efficient. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in Mexican cuisine, with tacos, tamales, and churros available at low prices.

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, with its colourful colonial architecture and Caribbean beaches, offers an affordable tropical getaway. December is part of the dry season, making it a perfect time to explore the city’s historic walled centre and relax on nearby beaches.

Accommodation in Cartagena ranges from budget hostels to charming mid-range hotels. Street food is both delicious and inexpensive, with options like arepas and empanadas readily available. The city’s compact size makes it easy to explore on foot, reducing the need for transport costs.

Africa: Warm and Wallet-Friendly

Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech offers an exotic escape with a relatively short flight from the UK. December weather is mild and pleasant, ideal for exploring the city’s bustling souks, historic palaces, and vibrant squares like Jemaa el-Fnaa. The city’s festive decorations and markets add a unique charm to the holiday season.

Accommodation in Marrakech is generally very affordable, with a range of riads (traditional Moroccan houses) offering a unique and budget-friendly stay. Moroccan cuisine, with dishes like tagine and couscous, is both delicious and inexpensive. The city’s compact medina means you can explore much of it on foot, keeping transport costs low.

Cape Town, South Africa

For those seeking sun and adventure, Cape Town offers an affordable December escape. The city’s summer weather is perfect for exploring its stunning beaches, hiking Table Mountain, or visiting the Cape Winelands. December is also festive, with plenty of holiday events and markets.

Accommodation in Cape Town can be very reasonable, especially if you book in advance. The city’s public transport system, including MyCiTi buses, is affordable and convenient. South African cuisine, with dishes like braai (barbecue) and bobotie, offers great value for money.

Planning Tips for Budget Travel

Book in Advance

One of the best ways to secure affordable travel is to book flights and accommodation well in advance. This not only ensures you get the best prices but also gives you a wider selection of options. Look out for sales and deals from airlines and travel websites.

Travel Off-Peak

Travelling during off-peak times, such as mid-week or after major holidays, can result in significant savings. Many destinations offer lower prices for flights and accommodation outside of the peak holiday season.

Use Budget Airlines

Consider flying with budget airlines, which often offer significantly lower fares compared to traditional carriers. While you may have to sacrifice some comfort and amenities, the savings can be substantial.

Consider Alternative Accommodation

Instead of staying in hotels, look for alternative accommodation options like hostels, guesthouses, or holiday rentals. These can often provide more affordable and unique lodging experiences. Websites like Airbnb and offer a wide range of budget-friendly options.

Eat Like a Local

One of the best ways to save money while travelling is to eat like a local. Seek out street food, local markets, and family-run restaurants where you can enjoy authentic cuisine at a fraction of the price of touristy establishments. Not only will this save you money, but it will also give you a more authentic travel experience.

Utilize Public Transport

Using public transport is usually much cheaper than taxis or car rentals. Many cities offer affordable daily or weekly travel passes that can save you money. Additionally, walking or cycling can be a great way to explore a destination while keeping costs down.

Travel Light

Avoid extra baggage fees by travelling light. Most budget airlines charge for checked luggage, so try to pack everything you need into a carry-on bag. This not only saves you money but also makes travelling easier and more efficient.

See also:The Timing of Summer Holidays in American Schools


Travelling in December doesn’t have to break the bank. With careful planning and a bit of flexibility, UK travellers can find numerous affordable destinations that offer both festive charm and budget-friendly experiences. Whether you’re dreaming of a snowy European city, a sun-drenched beach, or an exotic adventure, there’s a destination out there that fits your budget and travel style.

From the fairy-tale streets of Prague to the sun-soaked shores of Cape Town, the world is full of affordable holiday options that can provide a memorable and enchanting December getaway. By following the tips and exploring the destinations outlined in this article, you can enjoy a festive and fulfilling holiday season without overspending.


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