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A BARGAIN holiday is the ideal pick-me-up when the winter gloom is getting you down.

And there has never been a better time than now to get a cheap shot of winter sun.

Holidays for next summer are at rock-bottom prices, which means many people are waiting until then to take a break.

But we say: "Why wait?" The good deals are here and now - and you'd be mad not to make the most of them.

Kimberley Kay, from travel agent Lunn Poly, explains why this is the perfect time to pack up your things and go. "If people are looking to get amazingly cheap deals, this is the time to snap them up," she says.

"There are some great prices on long-haul destinations, and, for lots of faraway resorts, this time of year is when they have the best weather.

"This summer is going to be very different in terms of booking holidays, too. The huge discounts that operators are offering mean that people won't be able to rely on getting a last-minute deal then, so this might be their last chance to get a budget break."

Our Prime Minister is obviously a step ahead of the rest. He and Cherie have headed off to Egypt and found the Pyramids and desert the perfect antidote to the stress of recent months.

Egypt is just one exciting winter destination, but if you don't want to bump into your Prime Minister on your hols there are hundreds of other great breaks to choose from.

But if there seem to be just too many bargains for you to choose from, fret not.

The Mirror's CLAIRE DONNELLY and MEL HUNTER have done the hard work for you and come up with the best deals for a couple wanting to fly off in the next few weeks.

AROUND pounds 300


HEAD for the hills with a cheap week skiing in the Austrian mountains at less than half-price.

One week in a self-catering apartment, Pension Sylvie, in the Kaprun resort will set you back just pounds 139 each, a saving of pounds 170 per person.

Thomson are offering the bargain trip, which departs from Gatwick airport, London, on January 12.


IF you fancy warmer climes, a week self-catering in the Algarve is on offer for pounds 130 per person.

The saving of pounds 170 a head takes the total price of the Portuguese holiday down from pounds 600 to just pounds 260. You'll fly from Manchester on January 17 on the seven-night break with Thomson.

YOU and a partner can enjoy the sun, sea, sand and whatever else you fancy in Majorca for a total of pounds 298, saving you pounds 300.

Reduced from pounds 590, the holiday is at an unnamed resort.

It is self-catering, and you have to book on an "allocated on arrival" basis, but operator Thomson guarantees that it will be at least two-star.

You'll head off from London Gatwick on January 19.

AROUND pounds 600


IF you are looking for winter sun, the Canary Islands have it in spades. So head off to the Caleta Dorada Bungalows in Caleta de Fuste for just pounds 606 per couple, a saving of more than pounds 300.

A week at the modern resort, departing Luton on January 12, is the ideal chance to unwind.

Offered half-board, the room is of a three-star standard. The resort has a safe, sheltered beach, bars, restaurants and shops.


POCKET an extra pounds 154 spending money if you book for Benidorm this January. The cost of a week in a three-star hotel has been slashed by pounds 77 a head, dropping the price from pounds 698 to pounds 544.

The holiday, offered by Thomson, is full-board - saving you even more on eating out - and leaves London Gatwick on January 29.

HOLIDAYMAKERS booking through Airtours can save pounds 210 per head on a sunny week-long break. The price has been cut to pounds 299, bringing the cost for two down to pounds 598.

That includes half-board at a three-star hotel. You'd leave from London Gatwick on January 21.

AROUND pounds 1,000


AIRTOURS are offering a bargain all-inclusive, one-week break to the south of the Caribbean island departing January 15.

At a cost of pounds 1,068 per couple, you and your partner will save pounds 600.

You may be placed in any one of six hotels, but you are guaranteed three-star accommodation at least. Price includes flights, transfers, hotel and all your meals and drinks.


BRING on the tequilas and start the salsa as you pick up a four-star holiday at a no-star price. A couple can save pounds 840 on an all-inclusive holiday to Mexico. A seven-night stay at the exclusive Cancun resort will set you back pounds 639 each - reduced from pounds 1,059 - with as much food and drink as you can handle included.

It's with Airtours, and leaves London Gatwick on January 26.

IF you enjoy the great outdoors and some serious apres-ski, here's a cut-price skiing holiday.

A seven-night, room-only break in the Banff resort has been reduced by pounds 201 a head, from pounds 650 to pounds 449. Thomson is offering it on January 19, leaving from Gatwick.


PRIME: Blairs in Egypt; UPS ARE DOWN: You can spend a bargain break at Kaprun in Austria; LUCKY DIP: There's a real snip at the Mexican resort of Cancun; PLAYA POWER: The Playa del Ingles beachfront, Gran Canaria
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 31, 2001
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