Best long-haul holidays to book last minute

Best long-haul holidays to book last minute

Excited to explore somewhere a little further from home? And want to do it pronto? We don’t blame you. To save you from doing the sifting and sorting, we’ve put together a list of the top long-haul destinations. They’re split by month of the year, too so you can set your sights on a seasonal fave and forgo the planning time. Find what suits your schedule and book those flights… 

 Once you’ve taken a look, check out our best long-haul holidays. 

January – Mexico 

Who doesn’t want to start the New Year with some Caribbean sun? Mexico’s dry season runs from November to April, so January is slap bang in the middle of peak travel time here. But – and it’s a big but – you’ll beat the Spring Break rush of March and April, so you can party it up in Cancun clear of the student crowds. Travel towards the end of this month and the crowds will already start to thin. Head down the coast to peaceful Playa del Carmen or explore the Mayan ruins of the Rivera Maya and Tulum. 

Meet us in Mexico? 

February – Sri Lanka 

Independence Day is celebrated in February in Sri Lanka, so pick this month to join in with the country’s festivals, parades and fireworks. The dry season is the same as Mexico – running from November to April – and is the best time to visit for wildlife-watching. Dry weather calls for catch-ups around the watering hole and Yala National Park lines up some rare sightings of leopards, as well as elephants and buffalo. Now, that more than makes the long-haul flight worth it.  

See Sri Lanka 

March – The Maldives  

March finds some middle ground weather-wise in the Maldives. Nearing the end of the dry season, this month also crosses over into the start of the country’s surf season. Temperatures hit an average of 30˚C, perfect for swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling – and the visibility is top quality, too. As the surf rolls into this archipelago, now could be the perfect time to practice your pop-up. You won’t witness any big waves until July or August, so beginners can bet there’s a break that’s more down to size at this time. 

 Make for the Maldives 

April Thailand 

We’re reaching the end of the peak tourist season around April in Thailand, but if you can handle the heat, it’s worth a getaway now. Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year and public holiday is celebrated in April. Think lots of water throwing – it’s meant to wash away bad luck and provide a clean start. To get involved, Chiang Mai is the place to be. The city becomes one big party with hoses, water cannons and painted faces – one great way to cool off. 

Take off for Thailand 


May – The Dominican Republic 

May might be the start of the wet season, but the temperatures still tip into the 30s. As room rates and prices fall for a great-value option, so does the occasional rain shower, but we do mean occasional. Clear skies and cool winds keep things comfortable and, with the kids back in school, smaller crowds are just what an early summer calls for. You’ll be first in line for activities like scuba diving around Sosua and snorkelling at the reef of Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana. Don’t tell too many of your friends… 

Dive into the Dominican Republic 

June The Gambia 

This is the start of the wet season in The Gambia, but the weather is still hot and sunny, so any short showers come as a cool welcome. High temperatures in the 30s certainly don’t sound like winter in West Africa, so why not book your room – hotels are less likely to be fully booked now and prices aren’t as competitive. Uncrowded beaches from Bijilo and Kotu to Cape Point will leave you spoilt for choice when it comes to sunbathing spots. The Gambia also draws people in for its wildlife, with over 600 species of bird, plus crocodiles and monkeys. Fewer people at this time means a greater chance to spot them. 

Get away to The Gambia 

July – Florida  

Florida flaunts hot temps in July, and with schools out for summer, it’s an ideal time to whisk the family to Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando Resort. The Space Coast’s sandy beaches and Orlando’s famous resorts earn parents top-tier kudos. Beach days are sweet on Cocoa Beach, or you can live the boat life in the yachting capital, Fort Lauderdale. As you can guess, there’s no shortage of fireworks on the 4th of July so holidays here on this date will get you a night of extra entertainment, too. 

Fly off to Florida 

August Cuba 

August might be the hottest time to travel here, but it’s pretty hot on the cultural calendar, too. Santiago de Cuba hosts the famous carnival, Havana has its own celebrations and Varadero combines jazz and son cubano for a big music festival, so expect street parades and lots of salsa dancing. The tropical storm season starts to roll in from September and October, so it’s best to get in here quickly. 

Catch some rays in Cuba 

September – Aruba  

This happy Caribbean Island sits outside the hurricane belt as a belter of a hot destination all year round. Technically, though, September is still classed as low season, so it’s an ideal time for budget travellers to bag a last-minute deal. The winds calm down which can make it feel warmer here, but this also steadies the water’s surface, making it the ideal season for snorkelling. Visit the 11 kilometres of sand that link Eagle Beach and Palm Beach for watersports and the perfect Caribbean sunset. 

All aboard for Aruba 

October Mauritius 

October is the month for warmer and drier weather on this tropical island. Any rain comes in short bursts and silver linings, clearing the clouds for blue skies. Spring is also in full bloom. You can see it at its best in the Royal Botanical Gardens of Pamplemousses, where lotus flowers and water lilies set the scene for deer and giant Aldabra tortoises. If it’s marine life you’re after, the west coast is where you’ll find the best diving sites to see turtles and dolphins. Black River Gorges National Park is the place to be for waterfalls. 

Make way for Mauritius 

November – India  

Monsoon season passes in September and it’s still settling over October, leaving the weather hot and humid in the south of India. In November, the air feels cooler as the country heads into winter. But it’s still India after all, where the temps at least hit the mid-20s. The watersports shacks are open in Palolem and the yoga retreats welcome students back to their shalas, so it’s all go in Goa. Diwali also falls in this month – spot the street parades to celebrate Krishna’s defeat of the demon Narkasur. 

Inspired by India? 

December – Costa Rica 

Christmas in Costa Rica? Yes, please. Escape European winters for sunnier skies in Central America. The rainy season is over in December, but it hasn’t quite hit the peak of the dry months yet, so the tropical flora and fauna are looking their best. Trade your partridge in a pear tree for toucans, turtles and tree frogs and swap Santa’s sleigh for a surfboard on Playa Matapalo Beach. If you pop by San Jose, you can check out the Festival de la Luz. We’re talking light shows, concerts and parades after dark. 

Cop a trip to Costa Rica 


Like one of these long-haul holiday destinations? Book your last-minute trip now. 

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Author: Lily Owen 

Last updated: 05/07/2023