When looking for a cheap deal on your summer holiday, you might not think to check out long-haul destinations. However, a more expensive flight doesn’t necessarily mean a more expensive holiday – and that could be the key to success when it comes to affordable long haul holidays. Head to further flung corners of the world and you’ll not only find postcard perfect beaches and vibrant new cultures, but your pounds stretch a lot further. What’s more, high summer in Europe is usually low season further afield, meaning fewer tourist hordes to hustle with and more bargains to be had.
We’ve had a look at the best on offer and picked our top 5 long haul summer holiday options:
You might not think it, but it is possible to find a bargain in the Caribbean. Opt for one of Cuba’s well-equipped resorts on stunning, postcard worthy beaches for a fuss-free tropical sun escape that won’t break the bank. If you want a little more activity than simply sun-worshipping and swimming, many resorts offer diving excursions to the stunning reefs off Cuba’s shores as well as adrenaline-pumping pursuits like windsurfing. If you’re looking to head out of the resorts, Cuba’s fascinating culture and stunning architecture offer plenty to keep you entertained.
What’s the weather like? September is the hottest month in Cuba – and one of the rainiest – however rainfall is still low by tropical wet season standards and there’s plenty of sun worshipping to be had. Average temperature is around 27ºC.
Summer bargain: Thanks to Thompson’s flight route you can get excellent deals on air fares. We found 2 weeks in September at four-star all-inclusive resort Sol Cayo Coco for under £1000 a head.
Originally a hippie backpacker’s haven, the stretch of golden sand along India’s Arabian coast has shaken off its trance party past, but the indisputable hospitality and chilled beach vibes still on offer keep the visitors coming back. Goa is a former Portuguese colony and the Mediterranean influences are still present in its Catholic heritage and baroque architecture. Expect to feast on freshly caught seafood in richly spiced curry sauces after a beach-side cocktail at sundown.
What’s the weather like? June-September is considered the rainy season, but most of this falls in June and July, on average. Temperatures are still a balmy 29ºC during this period. Expect rain in short bursts, giving way to perfectly sunbath-able conditions.
Summer bargain: We found two weeks in August, for two people, coming in at under £900 a head.
For pristine white beaches and crystal azure waters, Thai islands are rich pickings. Phuket – the largest island in Thailand – is a great base with its own wealth of stunning coastline, artsy Phuket Town, and only a boat ride away sit the immaculate islets that pop up in the Andaman Sea. There’s something for everyone on Phuket, whether you want to spend your days strolling between boutique galleries and trendy coffee houses, enjoying some pampering at a super luxe spa, exploring the ocean’s underwater treasures, or simply soaking up rays on a sun lounger.
What’s the weather like? Although European summer is rainy season for Thailand, Phuket temperatures in August still sit around 30ºC and there’s an average eight hours of sunshine every day.
Summer bargain: Two weeks on beautiful Karon Beach in the Andaman Sea View Hotel for two will set you back less than £1,100 each.
Cambodia is usually overlooked for long-haul holidays in favour of its more famous neighbours with arguably better beaches. However there’s plenty of charm to be found in this warm, welcoming country, not to mention its own stretches of tropical coastline. Khmer people are among the friendliest in the region and the low cost of living means you can enjoy a top class holiday for less. Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s main beach resort, with several coves and beaches to explore, plus untouched islands a short boat ride away.
What’s the weather like? Rain tends to come in bursts and clear out quickly in Cambodian August. Expect humid heat of around 29ºC during a visit at this time of year.
Summer bargain: You can fly to Phnom Penh (a couple of hours from Sihanoukville) for £881 return for two weeks in August. 12 nights at beautiful hill top Pagoda Rocks Boutique Resort will set you back £550, bringing the holiday in at under £1,256 per person.
High summer is usually a questionable time to visit the UAE, when the mercury sits easily above the 40ºC mark. Wait until September though, when temperatures fall to a more manageable 35ºC, and you’ll find bargains a-plenty on flights and hotels. For chilled, no-fuss sun worshipping with super luxury surroundings, it’s hard to beat Dubai. Mammoth megastructures, designer boutiques and elegant dining await – and wherever you stay, you’ll never be far from a stunning swimming pool to cool off in. Don’t forget to take a day trip out into the rolling desert sand dunes to experience that picture perfect moment!
What’s the weather like? Hot and dry, so load up on the fluids and take shelter in the air conditioned shopping malls during midday. Around 35ºC in September.
Summer bargain: We found a week in stylish Amwaj Rotana Resort in the Jumeirah Beach area of Dubai for under £700 per person.
Which of the above take your fancy? Get planning early to find those affordable long haul flight and hotel options. Sunshine, here we come!
*Flights and hotel prices correct at the time of publishing. Please check carefully before booking as prices change at regular intervals.