Travel challenge: A last-minute long-haul Christmas

Every week we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a late-notice escape to the sun for Christmas. Prices are per person based on two travelling together for seven nights.


£1,799: Mayan Riviera, Mexico

Includes American Airlines flights on 22 December from Heathrow to Cancun via New York, transfers and seven nights' all-inclusive accommodation in a deluxe room at the four-star Occidental Grand Cozumel. "Set on the tranquil island of Cozumel, this resort is a haven for divers and spa lovers alike. The excellent all-inclusive option offers a choice of five restaurants, four bars or room service – even drinks from the mini-bar are included in the price," says Lucy Balding at Trailfinders (0845 050 5871;

Directline holidays

£1,174: San Juan, Dominican Republic

Includes Thomson flights on 21 December from Manchester, transfers and all-inclusive accommodation at the four-star Bahia Principle San Juan. "This luxury beach-front escape represents exceptional value, particularly in light of the recent APD rise, which has made flying to the Caribbean more expensive. The hotel has a fantastic watersports centre while windsurfing, canoe hire, mini golf, snorkel equipment and tennis are all included in the holiday cost. It's only a couple of hundred pounds more than some of our more popular shorter haul destinations – a real bargain!" says Charlotte Cumming at directline holidays (020-8239 3399;


£1,364: "Lawrence's Arabia" tour of Jordan

Includes Royal Jordanian flights from Heathrow on 21 December, transfers, guides, B&B accommodation and one night's camping. "Stays in Bedouin camps under star-filled skies, camel rides across the Wadi Rum and time in Petra will make for a balmy, beautiful Christmas," says Carl Burrows at Explore (0844 499 0901;