A sunny Christmas holiday

Abu Dhabi beachIf you’re not fond of the holidays and you’d like to get away from it all for a week, you’re often left paying premium prices for airfare and rooms between Christmas and New Year’s. Prices are easily 50% or more during this time versus the summer.

While top summer destinations like Spain and Greece are significantly cooler during December, you might have to go a little further and spend a little more to get that guaranteed sunshine. Other options are the Middle East, Mexico, Gambia, the Red Sea and Florida.

So, who has the best deals on Christmas sun this year? We’ve scoured the ‘net to find the best airfare plus room packages (and the best customer rated properties) from Abu Dhabi to the USA.

All prices quoted are for 2 adults sharing plus airfare from London unless otherwise stated, 22 December 2012 – 29 December 2012. Prices are accurate as of publication date on 1 November 2012.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – £1894
Abu Dhabi is blessed by fantastic winter weather (an average high of 26C in December) making this destination a top pick for those looking for lazy days on the beach with a book followed by exciting nightlife, shopping and dining. The Le Meridien is located on the beach and is within five minutes walking distance to the Abu Dhabi Mall. We found a package for two, excluding meals, for £1894 on LowCostHolidays.com.

Banjul, Gambia - £2172 leaving from Manchester
The beachside Laico Atlantic Banjul Hotel is a quiet, small hotel that, while not big on frills, offers its customers a quiet, relaxed atmosphere with a private beach. With three bars and three restaurants onsite, you shouldn’t be short on choice at mealtimes. We found an all-inclusive package for two with Thomas Cook that also covers airport transfers.

Cancun, Mexico – £2718 leaving from Manchester
The all-inclusive Temptation Resort & Spa sits on one of Cancun’s best beaches. Because of the “adult nature of the onsite entertainment”, the invitation to stay is for guests aged 21 and over only. If you’re looking for a bit of cheeky fun with vibrant nightlife, then this is the place for you. Past guests rave about the pool, the five restaurants and six bars. We found a Thomas Cook package leaving from Manchester for £1359 pp (£2718 total).

Miami Beach, FloridaMiami Beach, Florida - £2448.27
The Tradewinds Apartment Hotel in Miami Beach scores high marks for its quiet, non-touristy location and its close proximity to the beach front (about a 600 foot walk away). World-famous Ocean Drive is easily accessible on foot, bike or by taxi. The Tradewinds is also popular with travellers who rave about the smartly decorated rooms and free shuttle bus from Miami International Airport. We found an airfare plus room deal for £1224.14 per person on HolidayGenie.com.

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt - £1,179.82
The Falcon Hills Hotel receives favourable reviews from travellers on independent review sites. We found a package through OnTheBeach.co.uk that included breakfast, but you’re on your own for lunch and dinner. While this hotel isn’t on the beach, there is a shuttle bus that will take you to nearby Na’ama Bay for shopping, dining and sunbathing.

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