20 Cheap and warm places to go over 2023 Christmas & New Years weeks

As of summer 2023, travel around the world is way up and it’s looking like the Christmas and New Years holiday seasons in 2023 are going to be the busiest in many years. If you are looking for a cheap place where you can relax in the sun or on the beach, we’ve got 20 great options for you below. The cheapest ones are all in Asia and near the bottom of the list. It could be worth the longer flight if you’ve got at least a week because you can often stay in an amazing 4-star beach resort in some Asian cities for less than the cost of a Motel 6 in Florida around Christmas.

We check hotel rates each year and some places are a bit higher this year while others are about the same and a few places on the list are actually looking a bit cheaper than they did in 2022. We checked prices for the week starting December 24 through 31 and used the nightly average including all taxes and fees for two people. Again, there are some amazing bargains down the list, and some really good bargains near the top as well.

If you want to save even more money you might consider checking our other list of cheap and warm places to go in December as it has some different options and all of them are much cheaper if you can travel earlier in the month.

New video of cheap places to go over Christmas

Here’s a new video showing most of the places on the list below. Please have a look!

Myth: Hotels are cheaper in countries that don't observe Christmas

When I first started researching travel prices around the world, I assumed that hotels around Christmas time would be cheaper in countries that don’t observe Christmas themselves. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be true at all. Here’s the thing, hotels in the tropical beach areas of the world are all priced according to demand, and local customs have nothing to do with it.

A huge majority of the people who are well off enough to fly internationally are those living in countries that have a Christmas holiday, and that’s no secret to hotel owners. In other words, hotels in Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, and India all raise prices for stays during those key holiday weeks because they know those are the most popular weeks of the year for their businesses. The good news though, is that those countries still offer great bargains compared to, say, Hawaii, which goes off the charts during Christmas week.

When to book a sunny Christmas or New Years holiday trip:

As soon as possible

There is all kinds of research showing the cheapest time to book flights and even research showing that hotel prices often drop a month or two out, but the key exception to both of those is around big holidays like Christmas. Suppliers do adjust prices as the months come and go, except for when they know they’ll have no trouble filling up even at the last minute. The best December destinations in Asia contains many great beach choices that are cheaper than most of the rest of the world.

When to book your flights:


The research shows that flights for key holiday periods start off at normal levels and then they just keep going up as seats are sold and the date approaches. There are no last-minute deals on flights just before or after Christmas, at least to and from sunshine destinations.

The 2023 December holiday period is looking like it’s going to be the busiest and strongest since at least 2019 and probably before that as well. Booking hotels early should be wise advice this year again, and remember that most hotels offer free cancellation until shortly before the stay so there isn’t much risk.

When to book your hotels:

Bargains are possible at the last minute, but it’s risky

Hotels in tropical resort areas know what the typical demand is for rooms around the holidays, and most of them will charge as much as they can so they can fill every room. If they charged too little they could be sold out many months in advance, which doesn’t really help them, so they tend to start with rates high enough that they only sell out a few weeks early at most.

The best and most popular beach resort hotels will usually only have a few rooms left by early December, and they will price those high enough that most people will look elsewhere. But some other hotels can be too optimistic in pricing so they have to cut rates in December just to fill up. In other words, you shouldn’t really count on an appealing rate at a specific hotel where you are going, but there’s a decent chance you could still get a decent rate if you are flexible enough to accept something nearby.

Once again in 2023 it could be good to look into Airbnbs and other short-term rentals. Some markets have far too many listings for the demand and you might find bargains as the holidays approach if some owners priced their listing too high and will want to at least book up at a lower rate rather than sit empty during the busiest week of the year.

Package deals:

Also buy early

Again, the airfare portion of a holiday trip is almost certain to get more expensive as the year goes on, so a hotel+flight package will generally just keep going up in price as well.

Particularly to places like the Caribbean, Mexico, and Thailand with huge numbers of package visitors, you’ll almost certainly get the best rates in addition to the widest choices the earlier you book.

Cheap and warm destinations for Christmas and New Year holidays

Obviously “cheap” is a relative term, but these are the cheapest holiday resort areas around the world that also have warm and sunny weather in late December and early January.

Hotel rates listed are current as of July, 2023.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

  • December average high: 86°F/30°C
  • December average low: 64°F/18°C

On Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta remains as one of the country’s tourism jewels. Not only has it avoided the safety problems that a few other resort areas have struggled with in recent years, but it’s also regarded as the most interesting and authentic of Mexico’s resort areas.

The weather during Christmas time is pretty much perfect for anyone wanting to escape the cold, and the large international airport also has good deals on flights from many North American cities as well. Puerto Vallarta has grown more popular lately, especially with Americans and Canadians, so it’s not as cheap as it used to be, just like everywhere else.

Hotel rates in 2023 are looking much higher than in 2022, but still good value and many great places available. Booking as soon as possible is probably wise.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$143 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$278 per night for two people

>>>Check current Puerto Vallarta resort and package deals
>>>Puerto Vallarta prices, weather, and travel tips

Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico

  • December average high: 80°F/27°C
  • December average low: 58°F/15°C

The closest winter resort area to most of the western half of the US and Canada, Los Cabos has been booming in popularity in recent years, but also booming in tourist infrastructure so prices remain very appealing. The area known as Los Cabos is actually the traditional resort town called Cabo San Lucas, which is centered around a large and gorgeous marina, and the more modern town of San José del Cabo, which is closer to the airport. There are also lovely beach resorts on the south coast between the two.

If you want to take boat tours and such, or if you like to hop around between restaurants and bars, it’s best to stay somewhere close to the marina in Cabo San Lucas. But if you prefer a quiet place where you mainly stay at a resort with its own restaurants and bars, you are better off between the two towns or in San José del Cabo itself.

Hotel rates start at bargain prices considering how nice the area is. It can get a bit chilly at night around Christmas time, although plenty of people actually prefer that to the tropical climate where it’s hot day and night. And the slightly cooler weather will fit in more with the Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and holiday spirit than some of the Caribbean islands lower on this list.

The 2023 Christmas hotel rates are similar to 2022 in the Cabo area so there are some good bargains still available to those who book early.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$87 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$282 per night for two people

>>>Check current Los Cabos resort and package deals
>>>Los Cabos prices, weather, and travel tips

Cancún/Cozumel/Riviera Maya, Mexico

  • December average high: 84°F/29°C
  • December average low: 69°F/21°C

In case you aren’t aware of all of these, Cancún is the purpose-built resort city on the Yucatán Peninsula facing the Caribbean, and the area just to its south is known as the Riviera Maya, which includes the nearby island of Cozumel. In other words, they are all basically the same travel market, with nearly 1,000 hotels in total, and all served by the huge Cancún Airport with cheap flights from all over.

The area is getting more and more all-inclusive resorts and those range in quality from disgraceful to amazing, so it’s important to do your research and be careful about any beach hotel offering a suspiciously good deal. Cancun is home to some of the Caribbeans best all-inclusive resorts in general, but don’t expect very low prices on those.

The weather in late December is predictably perfect with barely a chance of a quick thunderstorm, much less anything worse. With so many hundreds of hotels competing for business, holiday room rates for well under US$100 per night are easy to find. Package deals to Cancún are very popular, and probably the best deal for those who book early. As you can see by the room rates below, there is a huge difference between 3-star and 4-star properties in this area. A 3-star can be just a normal hotel room in the city, while the 4-stars are all wonderful resorts with pools, usually on the beach. In other words, you will generally get what you pay for, so a hotel that charges twice is much is almost always MUCH nicer.

Hotel rates in 2023 look the same or a bit lower than they did in 2022, but that could change as December gets closer. As mentioned above, Cancun is a HUGE area and location is critical or at least it helps explain why some places are double or triple the price of others even though they look the same on the Expedia listings. I wrote a guide for choosing where to stay in Cancun, which should help you figure out the right area for you.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$63 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$135 per night for two people

>>>Check current Cancun resort and package deals
>>>Cancun prices, weather, and travel tips

Punta Cana/Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

  • December average high: 83°F/28°C
  • December average low: 72°F/22°C

The Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic has a reputation for its large all-inclusive hotels at great prices, and its two most popular resort areas are Punta Cana (on the eastern tip) and Puerto Plata (on the northern shore). Each has about 200 hotels to choose from, including dozens of all-inclusive resorts designed to keep you there for your entire stay.

The weather and resort prices are similar in both places in late December, so either one would be a fine choice for someone looking for a cheap and warm place to spend a week. You’ll find that flight+hotel package prices are especially appealing to the DR, and those who book early will usually get the best deals.

The 2023 Christmas week rates are looking really good for those who book early. Room rates are similar to what we saw last year when we updated for 2022, while many other places have jumped in price this year. The best values in Puerto Plata are for 4-star all-inclusive resorts, which are often only a bit more expensive than those that only include breakfast.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$65 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$160 per night for two people

>>>Check current Puerto Plata resort and package deals
>>>Punta Cana prices, weather, and travel tips

Montego Bay/Ocho Rios/Negril, Jamaica

  • December average high: 86°F/30°C
  • December average low: 70°F/21°C

Similar to the greater Cancun area mentioned above, Jamaica has 3 busy resort towns that are all served by the same large airport so they are somewhat interchangeable. Montego Bay has the airport so it’s the easiest to reach, but it has fewer affordable 4-star hotels so Ocho Rios and Negril might be better options if you are interested in that category.

All three towns have a different vibe, so it’s really only the weather and most prices that are similar. Along with the Cancun area and the Dominican Republic, these Jamaican resorts are also known for all-inclusive resorts and appealing package deals. Even during the peak holiday months, it’s possible to lock in an appealing deal if you book early enough.

The 2023 room rates for Christmas week are similar to the 2022 rates when we researched, which is good when so many other places have gone up in price. As always, it is probably wise to book early because rates usually go up as each month goes by.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$80 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$373 per night for two people (all inclusive)

>>>Check current Montego Bay resort and package deals
>>>Montego Bay prices, weather, and travel tips

San Juan, Puerto Rico

  • December average high: 83°F/28°C
  • December average low: 72°F/22°C

While San Juan isn’t among the cheapest places on this list for Christmas, it’s still very good value and it’s a great place for a longer stay during this period. The wide and sandy beaches just next to the historic center are some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and since it’s part of the US, things like shopping and sightseeing are much easier here than in most of the cheaper islands. In fact, one of the great attractions of Puerto Rico as a getaway for Americans is that you don’t have to change currency and most things will seem familiar. Visit a spa while there instead of exchanging gifts and save yourself the shopping time.

Especially if you are going to stay for more than a week, it pays to look into an apartment rental instead of a hotel. There is an abundance of nice apartments in the tourist area that are rented out most of the year. If you are staying for a month, you can get an amazing deal compared to a hotel. San Juan was famously hit hard by storms in 2017, but as of 2022 nearly everything is open and ready for you.

Room rates for San Juan in 2023 for the holiday week are looking similar to the 2022 rates. You’ll notice that rates for 3-star places and 4-star places are very different in this market because 4-star places are almost all large resort hotels on the beach while 3-star places are often family run and can be a few blocks away.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$119 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$312 per night for two people

>>>Check current San Juan resort and package deals
>>>San Juan prices, weather, and travel tips

Ambergris Caye/Caye Caulker, Belize

  • December average high: 81°F/27°C
  • December average low: 68°F/20°C

Those looking for more of a low-key holiday with no huge chain hotels in sight might prefer the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, both just off the coast of Belize City. These are both long, thin islands where golf carts serve as taxis and there is little or no pavement in sight. The diving and snorkeling here are some of the best in the world, even if these islands are short on long sandy beaches.

Belize is (more or less) an English-speaking country, and these islands both have a bit of a Rastafarian feel in places, so it’s an interesting mix of culture and convenience. Nearly all 4-star hotels here start over US$200 per night for the holiday weeks, but there are 3-star bargains nearby in addition to holiday villas for rent for those with higher budgets.

Belize room rates in 2023 are looking similar to last year for 3 star hotels but a bit higher for 4-star hotels. If you enjoy staying in smaller family-run hotels you can save quite a bit of money and maybe make some new friends in the process.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$125 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$224 per night for two people

>>>Check current San Pedro hotel and package deals
>>>San Pedro prices, weather, and travel tips

Roatán Island, Honduras

  • December average high: 84°F/29°C
  • December average low: 75°F/24°C

Similar in most ways to the islands of Belize mentioned just above, Roatán Island is actually just to their south, so it also sits off the world’s second largest barrier reef. This means there is excellent diving and snorkeling, plus more sandy beaches than you’d get in the Belize islands.

Honduras is a Spanish-speaking country, though especially with the recent influx of cruise-ship crowds here, it’s very easy to get by in English only. There are only about 60 hotels on the island at this point, and holiday rates are still surprisingly reasonable considering what is on offer. Still, booking early is probably wise.

This is another destination where there is a huge gap between the 3-star hotels and the 4-star resorts on the beach, which means you can save a lot of money if you don’t require an actual ocean view from your bed. The 2023 room rates are up from last year so if you see a place you like it’s probably worth booking it early.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$107 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$338 per night for two people

>>>Check current Roatan Island hotel and package deals
>>>Roatan prices, weather, and travel tips

Tamarindo/Guanacaste, Costa Rica

  • December average high: 90°F/32°C
  • December average low: 70°F/21°C

Costa Rica has a wide variety of resort towns along both its Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and all of them will be warm and sunny in late December. There are also national parks and volcanoes (not always sunny) in the interior, but if your main goal is to relax and be a tourist, the best area is around Tamarindo in the Guanacaste province. There’s even a newer international airport nearby in the main city of Liberia, so finding cheap direct flights is fairly easy.

Most of this northwestern area is new and quite luxurious, so 4-star resorts and rental properties aren’t much cheaper than in Hawaii, but there are still some really good 3-star bargains. Nosara is another small town in the area that doesn’t feel quite so mass-market compared to Tamarindo.

It’s important to note that the smaller and cheaper hotels here with reasonable prices will feel like you are visiting a somewhat exotic part of the world, while the 4-star chain resorts on the beach will feel much more like home for most guests coming from the US and Canada. The 2023 room rates are showing an even larger split between cheap 3-star places and the posh and more expensive 4-star beach resorts.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$59 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$286 per night for two people

>>>Check current Tamarindo hotel and package deals
>>>Guanacaste prices, weather, and travel tips

Panama City, Panama

  • December average high: 90°F/32°C
  • December average low: 70°F/21°C

Panama has some very nice beach resort areas with reasonable prices during Christmas, but it also has this large and mostly modern city at its heart, which appeals to a different type of traveler. You might even consider spending some of your stay at a beach and another part of your stay in the city, as both are very good value this time of year and any other.

It helps if you know at least a bit of Spanish, but even those who don’t can find plenty to do here to keep them busy. The city has a few large shopping malls in the tourist area, so it could be a good place to do some Christmas shopping or just hanging around. The restaurant scene here is notoriously good as well.

The 2023 room rates for Panama City are looking similar to last year and very appealing. In fact, if you would like to stay in a very nice resort hotel with at least a pool if not a beach, Panama City is one of the cheapest places to do that. The most interesting resorts are in the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean, so that’s another place to consider.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$44 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$85 per night for two people

>>>Check current Panama City hotel and package deals
>>>Panama City prices, weather, and travel tips

Cartagena, Colombia

  • December average high: 86°F/30°C
  • December average low: 76°F/24°C

The entire country of Colombia has been rediscovered by the tourism world in recent years, but the historic beach city of Cartagena has been popular for much longer. Along the country’s Caribbean coast (about the same latitude as northern Costa Rica, by the way), Cartagena is an interesting mix of beach hotels and a gorgeous walled colonial city with plenty to see.

Not only is Cartagena popular with international tourists in the winter months, but domestic Colombian tourists taking their holidays as well. So you won’t be avoiding the crowds here, but at least it’s one of the more affordable sunshine destinations in the region. The 4-star hotels along the beach just west of the historic center are some of the best Christmas season bargains going. Speaking at least a bit of Spanish is helpful.

The 2023 rates look really appealing for those who can book early. It’s important to note that this is one of the very few places in the western hemisphere (along with San Juan, Puerto Rico) where you can stay in a gorgeous, historic city with great restaurants and entertainment, and also be on a nice tropical beach in less than a 10-minute taxi ride. The beaches aren’t white sand, so not quite as photogenic as most of the others on this list.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$62 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$114 per night for two people

>>>Check current Cartagena hotel and package deals
>>>Cartagena prices, weather, and travel tips

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • December average high: 71°F/22°C
  • December average low: 61°F/16°C

Tenerife is the most English-language-friendly of Spain’s Canary Islands, which are just west of Morocco (and about the same latitude as central Florida). As you can see above, it’s not nearly as hot as most others on this list during December, but it’s still damn nice so it’s very popular among Europeans looking for something warmer.

Partly because it’s not really a great beach season, hotels in Tenerife are still quite cheap during the Christmas holiday period. Most everything else is quite affordable as well, at least compared to where you live now. Especially if you are looking for a place with reasonable airfares from elsewhere in Europe, this could be a good choice. The area around Los Cristianos and Playa de la Americas is the easiest for English speakers, and it has the most consistent warm weather as well.

The 2023 room rates for Tenerife are actually a bit down compared to 2022, so if you are able to book in July or August you can lock in a great rate. Expect to see a lot of northern Europeans all winter here.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$76 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$122 per night for two people

>>>Check current Tenerife hotel and package deals
>>>Tenerife prices, weather, and travel tips

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

  • December average high: 74°F/23°C
  • December average low: 59°F/15°C

At the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh is more or less the Cancun or the Mallorca of the region, although not quite as warm in December. This is a purpose-built resort area that has been popular with Europeans and others for some time now. While it’s remote and has generally been safe from the turmoil nearby, most of its fans are choosing to go elsewhere at the moment.

Egypt had some security issues a few years ago and they kept almost everyone away for a while to the point that beach resorts were literally charging under US$30 per night for two people. The country has not had any such issues in several years now and the European visitors are coming back.

Sharm el-Sheikh room rates in 2023 are down a bit compared to what we saw in 2022. It’s hard to say whether they’ll stay down, but if you can book something early you can lock in an amazing deal for a beach resort with a great climate.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$43 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$92 per night for two people

>>>Check current Sharm el-Sheikh hotel and package deals
>>>Sharm el-Sheikh prices, weather, and travel tips

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  • December average high: 79°F/26°C
  • December average low: 61°F/16°C

One of the most unusual destinations anywhere, Dubai is a huge and booming city with a few nice beaches and an extremely busy airport. The period in late December is one of the nicer times of the year, so it can get pretty crowded during the holidays. The main activity here is shopping at enormous malls filled with all ranges of goods at reasonable prices.

It’s worth noting, however, that the nicer and better located hotels in Dubai will cost at least two or three times the minimums mentioned below. Those on lower budgets can get by pretty well here, but that’s not to be confused with the luxury market and beach hotels that rival top room rates anywhere on earth.

The 2023 hotel scene is very encouraging once again. Rates for this December are looking fairly cheap, but again, the fancy places and those in the prime locations will cost at least double these rates.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$76 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$141 per night for two people

>>>Check current Dubai hotel and package deals
>>>Dubai prices, weather, and travel tips

Goa, India

  • December average high: 91°F/33°C
  • December average low: 69°F/21°C

Goa has been a famous hippie hangout for Europeans and some others for decades now, but it’s also popular with families this time of the year, including many from elsewhere in India. Goa is actually a small state in southern India with more than a dozen different low-key beach towns, each catering to its own groups of fans.

In other words, it pays to do some research before choosing a beach hotel here because most of them won’t be suited to you. Room rates are quite reasonable even during this busiest time of year, although it’s important to note that the cheapest hotels in Goa (and all over India) tend to be disappointing and rarely worth the savings. Still, the 4-star hotels in Goa are mostly quite good, and excellent value at Christmas time.

The 2023 hotel situation in Goa looks kind of a mixed bag, but rates are still very cheap compared to almost anywhere else in the world. Again, choosing the right hotel in India can be a challenge because there are hundreds of cheaper places that get very few reviews on the main hotel-booking sites like Expedia or even Agoda. If you can find a nice one you can save a lot of money, and they do exist (I’ve stayed in quite a few in Goa myself), but if you want to play it safe you’ll be paying a bit more.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$73 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$157 per night for two people

>>>Check current hotel and package deals for Goa
>>>Goa prices, weather, and travel tips

George Town, Penang, Malaysia

  • December average high: 88°F/31°C
  • December average low: 74°F/23°C

Perhaps not as well known as most of the others on this list, Penang Island and its main city of George Town are certainly worth a look for some people. The area is quite popular with Asian visitors and adventurous Westerners as an alternative to Phuket and other Thai islands.

The cheaper hotels in the area are those in the historic center of Georgetown, while the beachfront resorts are going to cost quite a bit more. Avoid the cheapest hotels here and pay close attention because most of the cheapest rooms have no windows at all. Still, there is great value here, particularly in the food scene. Penang is known as the culinary capital of Malaysia, with an abundance of cheap and cheerful food courts in addition to some notable fine dining.

The 2023 hotel rates over Christmas look really cheap for those who can book early. Rates are even down a bit on 2022, which is a relief. If you can only stay a week it’s probably worth booking a nicer place with lots of great reviews, but if you are staying a few weeks you might try to experiment with a more affordable place, knowing you can switch easily if you aren’t happy.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$26 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$50 per night for two people

>>>Check current hotel and package deals in Penang

Phuket, Thailand

  • December average high: 88°F/31°C
  • December average low: 75°F/24°C

Phuket is Asia’s most popular beach destination, featuring well over 1,000 hotels and resorts. It’s actually an island with about 12 different beach areas that are quite different from one another, so this is another destination where hotel research is critical. Patong Beach is by far the biggest and most crowded of the beach areas, to the degree that many people absolutely loathe it.

Karon and Kata are nearby beach areas that are at least a little more serene, and there are several other enclaves of upmarket luxury hotels and resorts. This has been a very popular Christmas destination for northern Europeans for decades, and yet it’s still quite affordable even during its peak season. Hotels on or near the beach are going to cost quite a bit more than the prices listed below, but those who don’t mind walking a bit can get great value even at Christmas here.

The 2023 Christmas hotel rates are once again, shockingly low, at least for the simple places. There are so many independent hotels on this island that competition is fierce for guests. Room rates for international chains such as Hilton and Marriott are going to be MUCH higher, although still cheap by international standards.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$26 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$41 per night for two people

>>>Check for the best Phuket resort deals
>>>Phuket prices, weather, and travel tips

Hoi An/Da Nang, Vietnam

  • December average high: 77°F/25°C
  • December average low: 67°F/19°C

Da Nang is a bit of a wildcard on this list because it’s not really suited to mass-market visitors, at least those from the West. This beach city along Vietnam’s central coast is a short drive from the ultra-charming Hoi An, and both are quite popular for different reasons, especially for cheap hotels.

Hoi An has been a favorite among visitors to Vietnam for decades, while Da Nang is more of a newcomer after it’s built a string of large beachfront hotels meant for foreign guests. Vietnamese food has a large cult following around the world, and both of these towns have an abundance of great and affordable restaurants serving several varieties. This is one to think about if it feels like you’ve been everywhere else.

The 2023 hotel rates continue to be insanely cheap, at least for the smaller places in and near Hoi An itself. You can still book a beach hotel with an ocean view along the Da Nang beaches for cheap, but it’ll be more than for the family-run places.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$16 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$24 per night for two people

>>>Check current hotel and package deals in Hoi An
>>>Hoi An prices, weather, and travel tips

Bali, Indonesia

  • December average high: 86°F/30°C
  • December average low: 76°F/26°C

Unlike the others on this list, Bali is (slightly) in the Southern Hemisphere, and December is actually one of the rainy months so Christmas visitors can expect at least a few downpours per week. But the rain usually doesn’t last long so it’s still very popular here on the Christmas holidays, particularly with Australians. The cheapest hotels here are of low standards and often without A/C, which you’ll really need in December.

The most crowded and popular area is the famous surf beach along Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak on the west coast, but there are many lower-key beach areas in addition to Ubud a bit up in the central hills. Well-heeled visitors might also consider the tourist zone of Nusa Dua in the south, which is filled with large chain hotels that are often loaded with honeymoon couples.

The room rates for 2023 are up a bit from 2022, but still ridiculously cheap considering how nice most of these places are. Bali has so many hotels that you can probably get a good deal even close to the last minute, but it still might be worth locking in a great place if you find one you like.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$19 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$34 per night for two people

>>>Check current Bali hotel and resort deals
>>>Bali prices, weather, and travel tips

Boracay Island, Philippines

  • December average high: 82°F/28°C
  • December average low: 75°F/24°C

December marks the tail end of the rainy season in Boracay Island, but those tropical storms rarely last long so the place is very popular over the Christmas holidays anyway. This gorgeous strip of sand is lined with hotels, as well as a sand pathway along the beach, making it possible to spend days at a time in bare feet.

There are no super-cheap hotels on Boracay Island, but that’s mainly because every hotel is within 100 meters or less of the sandy beach. There are many choices of international cuisine here, including many chain restaurants. The most obvious choices are the great number of affordable all-you-can-eat buffets that set up every evening right on the beach. There’s also plenty of live music, as you’d expect in the Philippines.

The hotel rates in 2023 for Christmas season are looking pretty typical for Boracay Island, which means they are cheap, although not nearly as cheap as some others on this list. Still, this is a very special place and many people come back year after year. I wish I lived closer myself.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$41 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$80 per night for two people

>>>Check Boracay resort deals
>>>Boracay prices, weather, and travel tips

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All Comments

  1. Sierra Taylor says:

    Hi Roger!

    I’m looking into an inexpensive place for my boyfriend and I to travel to for the weekend of Christmas, preferably warm .

    We are open to the US but loveee to travel and would love to find a Caribbean place or other island.

    Thanks !

    1. Roger Wade says:


      The article above contains all of my best suggestions for this. To summarize, if you are in the US and you would like to go to an all-inclusive resort I’d recommend Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for the best value. If you want to stay in a normal hotel or an Airbnb sort of thing I’d recommend Mexico for the best value. I prefer Playa del Carmen if you are in the eastern US or Puerto Vallarta if you are in the western part. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

      1. amy says:


        Surely, with the danger of visiting Mexico now and advice to stay on a resort, and that even being risky, making it a pointless destination, an AirBNB in Mexico would surely be madness.

        1. Roger Wade says:


          It’s true that there have been some issues in Mexico lately, but it’s nothing that should keep tourists away. I only recommend the places where disturbances are extremely rare. For example, Acapulco apparently is not a safe places for foreign tourists for some time, so I don’t recommend that anyone go there.

  2. Marina Taylor says:

    I’m looking to go away with my 14yrs daughter for a warm and very cheap holiday around 27th December 2022 to 2nd January 2023 . It would be great if you could advise me on any places that would be ideal for us.
    We live in Hertfordshire England
    Thank you

    1. Roger Wade says:


      If you are looking for a ‘very cheap’ holiday over New Years week leaving from England, you don’t have too many warm-weather options. I’d say your best cheap option would be the Canary Islands. That is a busy time there, but if you book and plan well in advance, it should be very affordable. As you may know, Tenerife is the largest of the islands and is probably easiest for those who are not fluent in Spanish. Let me know if you have any other questions about it. -Roger

  3. Sri says:

    Roger, This is an awesome place I accidentally stumbled up on, thanks for helping fellow folks with your great knowledge of the travel destinations. I am recently heart broken 47 years old male from the midwest of the US that is wanting to get away solo on christmas day to a warmer climate that doesn’t take 2-3 days to travel to. Looks like San Juan may be a great place but just wondering if there are other exotic places you may suggest. Appreciate your attention and time in helping me! Thank you!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I’m happy to help and I understand the heart break thing. My favorite two places for solo travel in the Caribbean are San Juan and the Playa del Carmen area. In fact, I think Playa del Carmen would be even better because the tourist district is so much more compact and right near the beach. The town of Tulum is another one to consider, as it’s really up and coming and it’s a bit more artsy. Playa del Carmen is really fun and there are loads of little bars and restaurants and so forth that will be easy to meet other tourists (and locals) if you choose, or just hang out and watch the crowds if you choose. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  4. NB says:


    I’m thinking of going to Panama next month. Have you been? Where do you recommend people eat, hang out, etc? I’m a woman in my late 20s.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I’ve only been to Panama City so far and I was very impressed. It’s much larger and more modern than other Central American capital cities, although the historic district is disappointing compared to most others. You might stop in to Panama City for a couple days and the city center area with all of the hotels seems very safe, but I’d probably focus on the beaches. I’ve heard and read great things about the San Blas Islands and that is where I plan on going on my next Panama visit. Sorry I wasn’t of more help, but I’m happy to answer other questions if you have any. -Roger

  5. Felicia R says:

    Considering the devastation that has occurred recently to Puerto Rico, is it equipped for tourism now? I hear there are still areas where there is no power or infrastructure. Please advise.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      The hurricanes were in 2017 and things were really bad for a couple months, but the San Juan area was mostly back to normal a few months later. I was there in late 2018 and it seemed like everything was fine. In fact, I’m flying into San Juan tomorrow to start a cruise the following day. My understanding is that there are still some rural areas that are not back to normal, and definitely at least some hotels that were damaged and never reopened. But as far as I know the island is very welcoming of tourists and that helps them in many ways.

      The easiest way to check on the outer areas is to check hotel availability there. So if you search for hotels in, say, El Rincon, you’ll see how many of them are open and ready for visitors. To be even more sure it’s wise to check recent reviews to make sure that recent guests say that things are good. I hope this helps. -Roger

  6. Kim Hastings says:

    Hi Roger, Veery impressed with your knowledge and insight about travel. I wrote a book, titled “The Greatest Road Trip Ever Taken.” It’s U.S. based and is travel, but also history, geography, trivia, etc. Just wanted to send you a shout-out one writer to another. You know your stuff!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Thank you for the kind words and I’ll look into your book. It sounds like my kind of thing. -Roger

  7. Jolie says:

    Yes, were starting from Pittsburgh PA. It’s their first time on the plane and I don’t want it to be too long for them, you know.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Based on what you’ve said I’d focus on the area around Cancun. Cancun itself is mostly a long stretch of beach hotels and timeshare properties, but south of that you’ve got Playa del Carmen and Tulum, and across the water you’ve got Cozumel. All of those are interesting towns filled with activities and shopping and restaurants and bars and such. There are many resorts and hotels all around Playa del Carmen that are family oriented, and you can spend most of your time at the resort, and also take a shuttle ride into the town center for a bit more culture. That would be my top pick based on what you’ve said, and the airfares into Cancun are usually reasonable. Playa del Carmen is about an hour south of Cancun airport by road. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  8. Jolie says:

    Hi Roger

    I’m planning to travel with my 3 children age ranging from 6, 7, & 23 the week of Christmas. We all have our passports. This will be there first time traveling. I want an international travel (warm weather) that’s not going to require a long plane ride and the resort ought to be kids friendly.

    Any suggestions please?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      The list above should provide some interesting places to consider and it’s already my best recommendations for warm and cheap places to go over Christmas. But I’ll be happy to give you some customized advice if you let me know your starting point. I’m assuming you are starting in the US since you didn’t mention a country, but flight times to most places are quite different if you are starting in, say, Seattle compared to, say, Philadelphia. -Roger

  9. Yihyi says:

    Thanks for the info.

    I have been to Dubai but not Cape Verde or Sharm el-Sheikh. Willl have a look at them.

    Thanks a lot.

  10. Yihyi says:

    Dear Roger,
    Came across your article and responses and would like to pick your brain if possible. I am looking for more ideas for warm family beach holidays (with swimming pool) from London. We are mixed race couple that started less adventurous travelling now with a just turn 2.
    Just back from Phuket, Malaysia and Singapore in September and hoping to find something closer like 5-7 hours flight for under a week holiday. We have been to Tenerife earlier this year with Sicily, Majorca and other Canary Island on our lists.
    Am thinking Turkey but we have been to Marmaris before we have a plus one but feel a bit weird when we venture around by ourselves may be because we are mixed race couple.
    Any suggestion will be most helpful.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I’ll try to help. This is an interesting query because I’ve not thought much about it. I lived for over a year in a small Turkish town near Marmaris, and now that you mention it I didn’t see many non-European visitors at all. There were a few and I never heard about any outright racism, but I’d imagine with such small numbers that it could still feel uncomfortable.

      Of the places on the list, Sharm el-Sheikh and Dubai should both be closer to the flight times you mention, and I’d think that both would feel welcoming. I’ve yet to make it to Sharm and many people are still avoiding Egypt at this point, but it’s now been years since there have been any problems that have made the news. Dubai is totally filled with people from all over the world, and it does have family beaches along with swimming pools at most hotels. I’m not sure if you’ve been there before, of course. Dubai isn’t a classic beach destination because it feels much more like a big city that happens to have a few nice, sandy beaches, but it is something to consider and you can usually get apartments there for good prices. Since it’s a Muslim country, it’s a very family-friendly place.

      The challenge, as you certainly know, is that in December there are almost no good warm-weather destinations near Europe so you usually have to go all the way to at least India, or to the Caribbean. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are rare exceptions in that closer area. One more to consider is Cape Verde. I haven’t been there myself, but it’s about 6 hours flight from London and has fairly warm Decembers. It’s #17 on this list of cheapest all-inclusive destinations from Europe. There is more information there that might be interesting even if you don’t want to stay at an all inclusive. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger