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Cheapflights declares a ‘war on gloom’

16th January 2012 Print

Leading airfares publisher unveils the top 25 cheap and cheerful destinations for 2012, based on price, safety, weather and ground costs.

Rising APD, a dire economy and the post-Christmas blues all combine to make January an even duller month this year than usual. is therefore waging a ‘War on Gloom’ (#DefyTheGloom) by declaring travel to be the perfect antidote for beating the January blues with its list of Top 25 Cheap and Cheerful destinations.

Despite talk of another recession,, the online leader in deals publishing, found in a recent survey that travel is still a priority for 83 per cent of the 15,000 Brits who participated. In fact, they’re cutting back in other areas of expenditure to protect their travel budget.

“Are you fed up of reading gloomy headlines? So are we. We know that UK consumers are cutting back elsewhere to save up for a holiday. At Cheapflights we decided we could help and declared our ‘War on Gloom.’ Together we can beat it! We have some great Cheap and Cheerful destinations and above all the widest range of cheap flight deals to help you escape. Click your mouse and grab your bucket and spade to take a stand for holiday cheer,” says Hugo Burge, CEO for Cheapflights Media.

To compile the Top 25 list, took its 100 most popular destinations from December and calculated their affordability and appeal based on a combination of factors: return flights, weather in January and February, recent currency performance, ground costs and third party rankings on safety for visitors.

The list is a combination of mainly exotic, long-haul destinations where the sun shines most of the year and ground costs are incredibly low. There are a few European destinations in the mix such as Prague, Amsterdam and Dublin, but our top five are all a bit of a trek – however, they are great places to get away for a fun, affordable and off-the-beaten path experience. Following these five was a list of great spots within India all scoring the same since the weather, costs, airfare deals and other factors were so in synch. As a result, we ended up counting the country of India as a single Cheap and Cheerful destination.

The top five destinations are:

1) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
2) Havana, Cuba
3) Marrakech, Morocco
4) Hanoi, Vietnam
5) Douala, Cameroon

With year-round warm weather, a stable safety record, and incredibly low ground costs, it’s no surprise that Vietnam features twice within the first five destinations. Its two featured cities are both quite different. Ho Chi Minh City is relatively young compared with Hanoi. This bustling city is more of a cultural break than a beach getaway, but it won’t disappoint as an experience. Visitors should be sure to check out attractions like the War Remnants Museum and dinner cruises on the Saigon River.

The older city of Hanoi offers quite a different experience to Ho Chi Minh. Spirituality and history set the tone here with a fascinating mix of architecture that combines French-colonial villas alongside temples that date back to the 11th century. There are more than 600 temples to explore in total and, despite the bustle, the way of life here is calm and appealing to visitors. Hanoi is also a great base from which to explore other parts of the country, such as Ha Long Bay, touring the south or nearby hikes. This is the perfect place for intrepid travellers and those who enjoy the outdoors.

The attractions of Havana, Cuba, need little introduction. Year-round sunshine, white sand beaches, great cocktails, sumptuous food and world-famous music combine to offer all the things many would seek on holiday. The country in general is still relatively unspoilt, so visitors can have an authentic Cuban experience, while low ground costs mean it’s incredibly cheap.

Marrakech is favourite destination among Brits and is still climbing in popularity. Despite recent tensions in countries within the surrounding region, Marrakech hasn’t been affected and is still very safe. The fact that budget airlines now fly there means air fares can come in at £100 or less and prices are spectacularly low once you get there. Its warm weather and landscape of mountains, nearby beaches and unique architecture offer something for all travel tastes. Culture vultures should start in the Old Town, then head to the famous souks within the city centre and spend the evenings in the many rooftop cafes.

Fifth on the list is Cameroon. While this might be one of the more unexpected destinations, it actually has a lot to offer the intrepid traveller. Having passed a law to limit the number of terms a president is allowed to serve, its PM Paul Biya was removed just last year when the law came into effect. Presumably, this sign of political change means the country is opening up to tourism and business. It’s still not a major tourist destination so it gives travellers a glimpse of the real Africa. Cameroon offers rainforests, deserts, wildlife parks and great beaches. Its warm weather, safe environment and incredible cheap ground costs combine to make it another ideal Cheap and Cheerful destination.

For the full Top 25 Cheap and Cheerful Destinations along with ranking analysis and information, visit:

The Great Escape – Win your dream trip!
Our Cheap and Cheerful list is designed to inspire people to shake off the gloom of the season and make true on their travel aspirations. To go one step further, Cheapflights has also launched The Great Escape giveaway on Facebook. The winner of this sweepstakes competition will receive £2,000 in travel money to plan an escape to a cheap and cheerful destination on their own choosing. Cheapflights is also giving away travel must-have Kindles every week in the run-up to the grand prize draw.