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5 cheap Christmas flights for last-minute travellers

HAHEI, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 5, 2009: Cathedral Cove, New Zealand. (Source: Getty)

If you haven’t Christmas getaway plans sorted yet, don’t fret: it’s not too late.

There are some destinations that are cheap to fly to over the silly season, even if you haven’t booked months in advance.

But where are they, and how much will they cost you? Yahoo Finance put in the hard work and asked the experts for the best deals so you don’t have to.

Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Flight: Sydney to Christchurch (Qantas)

  • Cost: $378 for a one-way flight

  • Travel period: Depart between 25 December to 1 January 2020

“Start in Christchurch, rent a car and drive around New Zealand’s South Island. There’s plenty to see including Queenstown, Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glacier,” Finder travel expert Angus Kidman told Yahoo Finance.

Bali, Indonesia 

  • Flight: Perth to Denpasar (Malindo Air)

  • Cost: $530 for a return flight

  • Travel period: Depart 15 Dec 2019

“You’ll be surrounded by Aussies, but you could still grab yourself a bargain from Perth to Bali. Soak up the sun and cocktails by the pool.”

Port Vila, Vanuatu

  • Flight: Sydney to Port Vila

  • Cost: $499 for a return flight

“If you enjoy the tropical, balmy weather of Bali but not the price tag this time of year then consider swapping this familiar destination for Port Vila, Vanuatu. Here, you can enjoy the crystal-clear waters without the massive crowds of Bali,” said Skyscanner Australia travel expert Paul Whiteway.

Nadi, Fiji

  • Flight: Sydney to Nadi

  • Cost: $839 for a return flight

“An Aussie favourite, Fiji has picture perfect beaches and is family-friendly with plenty of activities to keep kids occupied, especially at Christmas,” said Whiteway.

“With the kids in tow you can still travel on a budget, explore the beaches or simply relax under the tropical sun with an icy cold beverage – just don’t forget to pack sunscreen.”

Queenstown, New Zealand

  • Flight: Sydney to Queenstown

  • Cost: $873 for a return flight

“At just a few hours away, it’s an affordable destination and has been identified as a best-value destination,” Skyscanner’s travel expert said. “Renowned for its scenery and activities, Queenstown is the place to explore if you’re in for an adventure this Christmas.”

Bonus tips

If the above destinations don’t interest you, the experts have other words of advice.

  • Visit ‘business’ destinations.

According to Point Hacks spokesperson Daniel Sciberras, destinations that are typically business hotspots will see reduced demand, so look to places like Singapore or Hong Kong.

“If you’re thinking of travelling to the US, you’re more likely to score cheap flights to business centres and IT hubs like San Francisco that will see a drop-off in demand during the holiday period,” he added.

In Europe, look at cities like London or Frankfurt. If you’re eager to head somewhere warmer, try the Mediterranean and southern Europe, he said.

  • Spend public holidays on the plane to save money.

“Flying on New Year’s Day is also a good way to pay less for a flight,” said Finder’s Kidman. While it means you’ll skip the festivities, you’ll save yourself money and a hangover.”

  • If you’re travelling on the other side of Christmas, try mid-late January.

“The best deals will appear post school holidays, so if you’re happy to have your kids miss a couple of days of school, plan your holiday for after Australia Day,” Kidman said.

  • Cost or convenience: Find the right balance

What’s the trade-off to the cheap tickets? Sometimes, it might be more worth your while opting for the slightly more expensive ticket.

“Some flights are cheap, but don't include luggage or require four stopovers and countless hours in transit,” said Kidman.

Do you know of any good last-minute flight deals over Christmas or the New Year? Let us know at

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