January is a great month for a cheap holiday. Prices for many destinations are at rock bottom. If you're counting the pennies, look for a deal in summer with meals included - going half-board or even full-board could prove to be a good investment.
Unless stated, all prices include flights from a London airport and are per person, based on two sharing. For regional departures and other group numbers, contact the tour operator
BOOK IN JANUARY
If you can make it to the Med in May, you're laughing - some of the deals are sensational. On the Greek island of Cephalonia, a week's B&B at the Almyra Hotel, in Fiskardo, is down from £850 to £350 with Exclusive Escapes (020 8605 3500,www.exclusiveescapes.co. uk). If you book by January 31 you can upgrade to BMI business class for £175, saving 35% on the regular price.
Even in the school summer holidays, it's possible to find deals. On Lake Garda, a family of four staying at the four-star Hotel Savoy Palace will qualify for two free child places between July 4 and August 21 with Thomson Lakes (0871 230 8181,www.thomsonlakes.co.uk). The adult price for a July 29 departure is £1,609, half-board, including drinks with evening meals.
Turkey, which is outside the euro-zone, offers solace to the skint. The price of a week's self-catering at the three-star Lunamar Apartments, in Marmaris, has been reduced from £409 to £349, based on four adults sharing in peak season, with Thomas Cook (0844 412 5959, www.thomascook.com). In early May, a week costs just £219.
Book with Eurocamp (0844 406 0402, www.eurocamp.co.uk) before January 31 and you'll get £100 off its peak-season prices. A week's self-catering for five in July, staying in a two-bedroom mobile home at Les Petits Camarguais, in the Languedoc, now costs £845.
Wake Up in France (01484 680855, www.wakeupinfrance.co.uk) is offering 25% off selected villas if you book by January 31. A week in August at Villa Amethyst, in the Vendée, which sleeps 10 and has a private pool, is down from £2,667 to £1,999. Ferry crossings are not included. And the upmarket operator Cox & Kings (020 7873 5000, www.coxandkings.co.uk) has slashed prices on short breaks toIceland. Three nights at the Hotel Fron, in Reykjavik, is down from £750 to £350, B&B, including flights with Icelandair.
Simply Travel (0871 231 4041, www.simplytravel.co.uk) is knocking £300 off some villa prices in peak season for bookings before January 17. A week at the Stone House, in Kalkan, which has a private pool, costs £445pp, based on six sharing, including flights and car hire.
Closer to home, Irish Ferries Holidays (0870 517 1717, www.irishferries.com) has 10% off packages booked by February 28. It recommends the Fota Island Courtyard Lodges, set in the grounds of a five-star hotel in Co Cork. Each lodge sleeps four and costs £934 in peak season - reduced from £1,038 - for a week's self-catering, including ferry crossings from Holyhead or Pembroke, for a family of four.
Forte Village, in Sardinia, isn't cheap - it's one of the best-equipped family resorts in the Mediterranean - but this year it's possible to get a high-season deal. A family of four will pay a total of £4,313, down from £6,628, for a week's half-board at the end of July. The specialist operator Sardatur (020 8940 8399, www.sardinia-holidays.co.uk) says the saving is made up of early-booking discounts, a free child place and the fact that it bought its euros at a favourable rate. Book by March 31.
If you plan to venture further afield this summer, you'll find deals aplenty. British Airways Holidays (0844 493 0758, www.ba.com) has a week, room-only, at the five-star Fairmont Scottsdale in Arizona, with car rental, for £677, reduced from £1,436.
Sandals (0800 742742, www.sandals.co.uk) has 25% discounts and seven nights for six throughout 2009 at its Caribbean resorts. An all-inclusive week at Sandals Grande St Lucian, for example, is down from £2,059 to £1,656. Book by February 28.
TRAVEL IN JANUARY
January is one of the best months to be in the Caribbean - and it's not usually too steep, as the high spenders prefer Christmas or New Year. This year, prices are lower than ever. Little Good Harbour, a charming small hotel on the northwest coast of Barbados, is halving its room rates for the week beginning January 7. You save £617 on seven nights in a suite with Bailey Robinson (01488 689700,www.baileyrobinson.com), paying £1,265, room-only.
On Grenada, guests at the Calabash can dine for nothing each night at the hotel's Gary Rhodes restaurant. A week starts at £2,090, B&B, between January 7 and 21 with Just Grenada (01373 814214, www.justgrenada.co.uk). Or go for an all-inclusive week at the Grenadian by Rex Resorts, flying from Gatwick on January 14; the price is down by £201 to £815 with Archers Direct (0871 423 8638,www.archersdirect.co.uk).
In Tobago, a week's B&B at the four-star Bacolet Beach Club costs £819 - a saving of £201 - flying from Gatwick on January 14, also with Archers Direct. In Bermuda, seven nights at Grotto Bay is down from £1,019 to £769 with Prestige Holidays (01425 480400, www.prestigeholidays.co.uk).
It's high season in Phuket, but, because of the recent disruption at Bangkok airport, hoteliers are being forced to slash rates. Eight nights in a pool villaat the Six Senses Yao Noi cost £1,985, room-only - a saving of £1,590 - with Carrier (0161 491 7630,www.carrier.co.uk). The price is from January 10 to March 31.
On the Gulf coast of Thailand, Kuoni (01306 747008, www.kuoni.co.uk) has eight nights, room-only, at the Evason Hua Hin for £799 - a saving of £371 - between January 11 and March 31.
In Mauritius, the five-star Oberoi has halved its room rates between January 11 and April 20. A week in a luxury pavilion starts at £1,845, B&B - a saving of £1,030 - with ITC Classics (01244 355527, www.itcclassics.co.uk). In Oman, the price of seven nights' B&B in a pool villa at the Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay has been reduced by £900 to £1,939 on selected dates with Tropical Locations (0845 277 3310, www. tropical-locations.com).
Goa is at its best in January. A fortnight at the four-star Club Mahindra, on Varca beach, is down from £1,140 to £874,B&B, with Jewel in the Crown Holidays (0870 067 2352, www.jewelholidays.com). Or try the two-star Resorte de Tio Carmino, at Calangute, where two weeks, departing on January 9, cost £409, B&B - a saving of £266. In the five-star category, a fortnight's B&B at the Taj Exotica is down from £1,747 to £1,199 with Somak (020 8423 3000, www.somak.co.uk).
Sunshine is all but guaranteed on Egypt's Red Sea, where the price of a week's half-board at the five-star Marriott Beach Resort in Taba Heights has been reduced from £649 to £389 between January 10 and 31 with Peltours (020 8371 5200,www.peltours.com).
If the beach is a bore, bag an eight-day tour of Cairo, Aswan and Luxor for £499, down from £679, with The Classic Traveller (0800 988 5822,www.theclassictraveller.co.uk). The group trip, which departs on January 12, includes a four-night Nile cruise and the services of expert guides.
A riad in Marrakesh can be had for half price in January and February with Fleewinter (020 7112 0019, www.fleewinter.com), which recommends the seven-room Dar el Souk, in the heart of the city's medina. Doubles cost £37.50 per night and the firm can book flights from about £100 return.
If you're heading to London for the sales, take a look at Threadneedles (020 7657 8080, www.theetoncollection.com/threadneedles), a five-star boutique hotel in the City. Its weekend rates for a double room are down from £410 to £125, B&B, in January. Or get in with the in crowd at the Metropolitan (020 7447 1000,www.metropolitan.como.bz), where, until March 31, the price of a double room has been slashed by £129 to £300, B&B, with two spa treatments worth £150 thrown in.
In Edinburgh, the Scotsman (0131 556 5565, www.theetoncollection.com/scotsman) is reducing its rates for a double room in January from £300 to £110, B&B. Fawsley Hall (01327 892000, www.fawsleyhall.com), a Tudor manor house in Northamptonshire, set in grounds designed by Capability Brown, is offering 50% discounts in January and February. Doubles now start at £140, including dinner and breakfast.
Hard times on both sides of the Atlantic have led to bargains in New York, where the shops will be packed with sales. Four nights in January at the hip Hudson Hotel are down from £799 to £530, room-only, including BA flights, with Funway Holidays (0844 557 0770, www.funwayholidays.co.uk). Or go for the W Times Square, where four nights with a free room upgrade and BA flights cost £699 - a saving of £270 - until the end of February with Trailfinders (0845 050 5871, www.trailfinders.com).
If you'd rather shop in the sunshine, head to Miami, where a four-night break at the Claridge Hotel, on South Beach, flying from Heathrow on January 22, costs £449, room-only - a saving of £155 - with Jetsave (0871 664 0293, www.jetsave.com).
Now's actually the perfect time to book that trip of a lifetime. Hebridean International Cruises (01756 704704, www.hebridean.co.uk) is knocking 40% off a voyage along the Sinai coast of Egypt to Jordan and Petra. Eight nights, departing on April 12, start at £3,795 - reduced from £6,325 - including flights, tours and tips.