Dubai is the most popular destination among GCC travellers during the festive season. Image Credit: GN Archives

Dubai: If you haven’t yet decided where you are headed for New Year’s, a look at some early bird trends may just give you some grand ideas.

No surprises here, but a good lot of people from around the region are coming to Dubai for the New Year, fireworks or no fireworks. According to HotelsCombined.com, a leading hotel price comparison website, Dubai is the most popular destination among GCC travellers during the festive season, followed by Abu Dhabi and Al Medina in Saudi Arabia. As for international destinations, London is the top pick followed by Istanbul and Paris, according to the number of bookings between December 22 and January 2, 2018.


Amer Alhalabi, regional manager MENA, HotelsCombined said, “Destinations like Dubai and London are very popular among travellers during the festive season as it is easy to get visas to these countries. Dubai itself is a popular attraction for youngsters, families and couples; and is also a hub for travellers heading to other destinations outside the Middle East.”

Geet Bhalla, cofounder and CEO of Holidayme said, “If you are still unable to finalise the destination for your year-end vacation, then try hot selling destinations like Georgia, Armenia and Thailand whose packages range from Dh1,900 – Dh3,500. Plan well, pick the right destination, pack your bags and ring in the New Year at an amazing new place.”

Bhalla said many consider December the best time of the year to venture overseas, experience new cultures and bask in the New Year celebrations.

All of Europe is a winter wonderland with abundant snow. Those who want to soak up some sun opt for a quick trip to South Asian countries, while a lucky adventurous few go father and fly Down Under.

Bhalla said, “Taipei, Taiwan is culturally rich, many visit this place for its traditional-laden, wonderful sites. It is a haven for shopaholics, has some great eating and dining options, and the weather is just right to enjoy the beautiful city.


Similarly, Prague, Czech Republic has emerged as one of the best places to celebrate Christmas.

Prague is nothing short of a dreamland during the winter season. Gothic and Baroque architecture, decorated cathedrals and marketplaces – every nook and corner is drenched in festivities.”

Topping year-end bucket lists is also Melbourne in Australia where outdoor enthusiasts want to make the most of the sun-kissed beaches and streets brimming with activity.

Looking at hotel prices, London has the highest room rates with a hotel costing an average of $200 (Dh 734) per night.

Dubai is slightly more affordable with an average price of $176 (Dh646) per night.

Rates drop even lower for those travelling to Paris, where a room costs $142 (Dh521) per night, while the most affordable destinations are Abu Dhabi, $104 (Dh382), Medina $62 (Dh228) and Istanbul $57 (Dh209).

Tips for travel

-Try to travel at night. The traffic is low, the airports are less crowded, which means shorter lines at the counter.

-Make sure to travel with the right people and set some ground rules. Track expenditures for a hassle free and enjoyable trip.

-Travel in a group, take your extended family and friends to share the costs.

-Hotels in the heart of the city are expensive, opt for ones away from the city centre.

-Don’t run across the length and breadth of the country you’re visiting, try to spend more time in fewer places; get a better insight of the place.

-Talk to the locals, they know the place better than anyone else.

-Know the basic words – apps or phrase books will come in handy

-The best things in life are free. Visit places that are free or of lesser cost.

-Travel insurance is a must; don’t overlook this important factor.