June is going to looking for some peace and quiet for Christmas this year – at a reasonable price. Kay O’Sullivan has some suggestions.
I’ve decided that I can’t face Christmas at home so I’m hoping to getaway for a break of three or four nights, maybe even a week. I know this is prime holiday season and, given that I am also travelling alone, it won’t be easy to find a deal, but do you have any suggestions?
A. I bring you good, but not necessarily great, tidings about Christmas getaways. At the risk of stating the obvious, it is the most expensive time of the year, especially if you want to hit the beach. We’re talking rental prices that that are double, triple, quadruple what they go for the rest of the year. And no ordinary mortal’s Christmas Club account can cope with that. So count that out. Airfares are equally prohibitive, though almost affordable if you fly at ungodly hours. The issue this close to the festive season is getting hold of a seat.
So, here’s my solution why not holiday in your home city? The big city hotels, even the most glamourous ones with resort-like facilities, drop their prices to attract customers just like you. Most of the year they are packed with business people but not over the Christmas and New Year period, hence good rates and fabulous value-adds, such as upgrades, free breakfasts, parking, late checkouts, all of which add to the experience and keep costs down. And you wouldn’t have to get up early to be first in line for the Boxing Day sales….
A hint: If you decide to stay at a big brand hotel, join its loyalty program. The rewards will be immediate and they translate into luxury upgrades or perhaps even admission to the executive clubs, where you will not only get free breakfasts but drinks and snacks in the afternoon as well.
Have a look at the website for Accor Hotels, which has 20 brands including Ibis, Novotel, Sofitel and Pullman hotels in big cities, little towns and even beach resorts across the nation. Its new Sweet Summer deal is one to consider, as you get either a free breakfast or 20 per cent discount on a two-night stay at hotel. This applies to some terrific properties in cities, such as the five-star Pullman Brisbane King George Square and resorts such as the Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast. Both of which have stunning facilities.
If you do want to travel further afield, many tour companies offer substantial last-minute discounts even at this time.
I did a bit of surfing and found that Peregrine Adventures has a seven-day trip to Myanmar for $1316, a saving of $329. It starts on the 23 December and takes in all the sites plus there are a couple of beach days as well. Companies such as Peregrine and Intrepid Travel, another that has attractive last-minute deals, can access decent airfares fares even in peak periods as they are dealing with the airlines year round. They are also great way for solo women to travel safely.
Whatever option you choose, Christmas 2015 is one you won’t forget.
Do you have a travel question for Kay? If so, email your Travel SOS to [email protected]
Kay O’Sullivan is no accidental tourist. More than a decade ago, she decided to combine two of her favourite things – journalism and travel – and become a travel writer. Since then, she has worked for numerous papers, magazines and on the internet, both here and internationally.