December has come around quickly, and for some people that means suddenly scrambling to use up the last of your annual leave.
Whether you haven’t taken many holidays this year or you saved up for Christmas but have found yourself with spare days, it can be the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a getaway.
To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a guide to some of the best destinations that need to be on your radar whether you have one day left or even over 10 days (in which case it sounds like you definitely deserve a break!).
We’ve included a mix of destinations from budget-friendly city breaks to glamorous winter sun destinations – as well as sharing some tips on where to find deals.
Check out our guide below…
One day left
It won’t come as a surprise that if you have one day left and you want to go abroad, your best bet is to aim for a Friday or Monday to make a long weekend of it.
If you live near London, you may want to consider Eurostar destinations such as Paris or Brussels which can be reached in approximately two hours (fares in December start from around £109.50).
Amsterdam is also an option – the service takes just under four hours. (You can check out our guide to the best things to see in Amsterdam for a dose of inspiration).
If you don’t have a free weekend or can’t take a Friday/Monday, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself. Why not indulge with cheap UK spa breaks or get in the festive spirit with a day trip to one of the UK’s top Christmas markets?
Two to three days left
Two to three days of annual leave can be just the right amount of time to go on a European city break – and if you’re heading in December, it leaves you enough time on the itinerary to explore Europe’s best Christmas markets.
If you’ve got two days of annual leave, there are plenty of destinations with short flights for less than two hours – Munich and Berlin are ideal and they also happen to play host to Germany’s best festive markets.
Prague can also be a handy destination, and it’s got so many beautiful things to see and do it’s sure to make for a memorable way to end the year.
If you’ve got three days of annual leave and don’t mind a slightly longer flight, destinations like Budapest, Stockholm and Krakow all have flight times under three hours and offer everything from festive markets to historic landmarks.
It’s also worth looking for midweek flights as the rates can often work out significantly cheaper than weekends – and three days will still offer you plenty of time to explore the city.
Four to six days left
Whether you tag these days off to a weekend for a long break, or want to make use of the lower prices that come with travelling during the week, there’s ample opportunity to have a pretty memorable trip.
Intrepid explorers might want to head to some of the best countries for seeing the Northern Lights – December and January are ideal times – and enjoy the lack of crowds thanks to travelling out of peak season.
If you’re after wintry break, four to six days is also ideal for going on a ski holiday as it allows enough time to reach the resorts, hit the slopes and of course make the most of the apres-ski.
Resorts in France and Switzerland are a short flight away (Geneva is particularly handy thanks to its easy transport links to a wide array of resorts).
Looking for sunshine instead? Dubai can make for a brilliant city break – and as it boasts heaps of beaches, theme parks, landmarks and restaurants, it usually requires a few extra days compared to other city breaks.
(Oh, and you can find some great luxury hotels with budget prices too!).
Seven days or more left
Lucky you! Of course you’ve got the option to book in a break or two if you want to split up the days – or you could go all out and jet-set off to sun-soaked destinations and make use of the last-minute deals to be found especially in the pre-Christmas season.
Winter can be one of the best times to visit Thailand as it offers balmy temperatures and heaps of sunshine – perfect for exploring the country’s best landmarks as well as those picture-perfect beaches.
If it is sunshine, beautiful beaches and a laidback atmosphere that you’re after, then the Caribbean needs to be on your radar.
After all, its iconic beaches, beautiful scenery and incredible islands are what make it such a bucket-list worthy destination, not to mention there are ways to find cheap Caribbean holidays.
If Thailand and the Caribbean don’t particularly appeal, then you may want to check out our round-up of more winter sun destinations that need to be on your radar – including where to find the deals.