There’s nothing that tastes quite as sweet as scoring a cheap holiday deal at the last minute. To find the very best deals, we advise to start looking 10 to eight weeks in advance at most. That’s when holiday operators are trying to fill rooms and, you’ll be able to snap up some fantastic prices. If you love the idea of a last minute holiday but aren’t sure where to start, here’s a nifty guide on which destinations you should keep your eye on for each month of the year.
Book ahead for March
Destination – Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura is one of those holiday spots that doesn’t really know the meaning of winter. It’s a top choice for holidaymakers dreaming of some last minute winter sun. Here, it’s warm all year-round. The closest of the Canary Islands to Africa, Fuerteventura is ringed with more than 150 beaches and a slew of nature parks that give it that rugged, beautiful edge.
What we love most about Fuerteventura is its ‘diamond in the rough’ status. Known for its wind-based watersport potential, it’s not as developed as its other Canary Island neighbours but still has plenty of resorts and hotels you’ll have no trouble calling home. January is a great time to book a Fuerteventura holiday for March, as you’re way more likely to snap up a last minute deal in low season.
Book ahead for April
Destination – Italy
There’s nothing quite like Italy in springtime, as the edge of winter starts to ebb and summer nears. By this time, you’re able to sip coffee in a cobbled square underneath the shadow of a Renaissance cathedral in old school Sorrento or wander through the vineyards of Sicily. April weather in Italy generally sits around the high-teens, so it isn’t necessarily beach weather, but definitely the right type of climate to get out and explore your surroundings.
April is one of those in-between months for Italy, where resorts are transitioning from low to high season, so crowds are generally smaller and better deals are available. If you can avoid the Easter holiday – which is, to put it lightly, kind of a big deal in Italy – you’ll be in even better shape.
Book ahead for May
Destination – Costa Blanca
April is when this slice of the Mediterranean starts to warm up – as if it ever really got cold – so by May, summer is well on its way. By this time of year, Costa Blanca’s temperatures are well into the 20s and only going higher.
The beauty of booking for May means you’ll avoid the summer rush, which arrives without fail in Costa Blanca come June. Many waterparks and restaurants will be opening for the season around this time of year, even though Costa Blanca’s best amenities – the uninterrupted stretches of beaches, mountains and waterfalls – never shut.
Book ahead for June
Destination – Croatia
Croatia is still somehow flying under the holiday radar despite hosting some of the best beaches in the world and TV-worthy old towns. If you’re looking for a top holiday destination that won’t break the bank and still isn’t as busy as its Mediterranean competitors, Croatia has your name on it.
Resorts here range from UNESCO World Heritage Site Dubrovnik to quiet Pula, laden with Roman ruins and stashed along the Istrian coast. Oh, and Croatia’s peak season doesn’t start until July, so you’re still missing the hottest months, but everything should otherwise be supremely warm and up and running as normal.
Book ahead for July
Destination – Majorca
With July as a firm favourite for holidays – it’s the height of summer, after all – you’re going to see a spike in holiday prices just about everywhere you go. That’s why May is the best time to keep your eyes peeled for last minute holidays to Majorca, one of the best Mediterranean destinations around. If you can find a cheap deal to this Balearic Island in the summer, you’re golden.
Majorca is famed for its gorgeous beaches along the coast and pine groves in the middle, speckled with little villages and big time resorts that are, shall we say, lively, as far as nightlife goes – we’re looking at you, Magaluf. And don’t even get us started on the weather. Majorca in July is all sun, all the time.
Book ahead for: August
A hefty handful of Blue Flag award-winning beaches and ancient ruins is what waits for you in beautiful Cyprus.
This year also sees Paphos named as a European Capital of Culture, which means there are a never-ending supply of concerts, galleries and outdoor performances on the menu. At the other end of the spectrum there’s the legendary nightlife of Ayia Napa, made that much more enjoyable by August’s gorgeous weather, which stays warm well into the evening. Or why not book an All Inclusive Larnaca family break?
Book ahead for September
Destination – Corfu
Corfu‘s close proximity to Italy gives it a distinctly Italian flavour while, at its roots, it’s still uniquely Greek. Being an island, it’s privy to a crazy array of gorgeous beaches – many of which fly the coveted Blue Flag – not to mention the much-talked-about Greek diet that can be sampled just about anywhere at a local taverna.
Visiting Corfu in September will get you sneaking in right at the end of the summer season and just before everything begins to close down. Summer holidaymakers will have left the building but the weather will still be gloriously warm and the beaches less crowded.
Book ahead for October
Destination – Boa Vista
While other sunny holiday destinations begin the slow slip into winter in October, this Cape Verde island stays proudly sun-drenched well into, well, forever. Part of an African archipelago, Boa Vista is known for its aquatic animal-watching potential, wind-based watersports and golden beaches as far as the eye can see, tinted with hints of Portugal.
Yes, even in October, Boa Vista is still fabulously warm. Even the sea temperatures stay well in the 20s. October is technically within Boa Vista’s wet season, but there’s still ample amounts of sunshine during the day so if it does rain, it should be shouldered by swaths of sunniness. Plus, much of Boa Vista’s hotel scene is comprised of 4 and 5* accommodations that are designed to be one-stop shops for Cape Verde holidays, so you won’t have to travel far for anything you might need.
Book ahead for November
Destination – Mexico
Mexico is a postcard-perfect destination, even in November. It’s one of those holiday spots that doesn’t drop face at any point in the year, even though November is technically between its traditional high seasons. That means visiting this time of year will see Mexico not only coated in sun, but way more affordable.
Travelling to Mexico in November will mean you’ve got more elbow room wandering through the cobbled town centre of Puerto Vallarta, exploring the jungles near Cancun or marvelling at Mayan ruins, as the crowds tend to vacate. And then there’s the beaches – with highs in the upper 20s, temperatures here ensure days along these white sand shores are always on the agenda.
Book ahead for December
Destination – Iceland
As winter nears, it’s time to start thinking about destinations that still look good even underneath a layer of snow. Enter Iceland, the definitive winter destination that, even in spite of its northerly location, isn’t as cold as you might think. If you can sneak in a last minute holiday to this Nordic stunner, you’ll be in for a treat.
December in Iceland means the Northern Lights are well overhead and ready to be chased, glittering through to April. And while it might not exactly be beach weather here, but you’ll still have the chance to soak in any number of the hot springs in and around Iceland’s capital city Reykjavik.
Book ahead for January
Destination – Dominican Republic
The Caribbean islands generally boast temperatures that stay in the high 20s during the winter, with warm days and slightly cooler nights. The Dominican Republic, one of the most popular islands, just happens to come with plenty of bargains. Here, it’s all about the golden coastline, the blindingly-blue waters and the rum.
The Caribbean sees a spike in holidaymakers around the Christmas holidays, so if you can get in after the New Year, you’re in good shape. January is also within the Caribbean’s dry season, so it’s likely you’ll see little to no rain over your stay, but you’ll see great deals. Once you’ve arrived in the Dominican Republic you can expect everything from street parties to fresh fish, palm-lined bays and history you could spend days exploring.
Book ahead for February
Destination – Goa
This little slice of India defies any preconceived notions you might have about February – whereas it’s frosty and cold around the rest of the world, Goa is warm as ever. Temperatures here generally start in the mid-20s and only rise as the month goes on, making stints at this hippy haven that much sweeter.
And for all its parties, Goa also comes with a side of culture in the form of two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Indian markets and Portuguese architecture lining city streets, ensuring your holiday here is good and varied.
We know it’s difficult to sit tight on a last minute deal, but trust us, the savings will be worth it. What last minute holiday destination have you got your eye on? Let us know in the comments below.