Annual pre-Christmas deals to help you save

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – While hotel and flight prices are always high around the holidays, you’ll find deep discounts in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Several European cities are still sunny and mild in December. You’ll find much smaller crowds of tourists, and enjoy discounted rates in hotels. While it’s difficult (or impossible) for parents with children in school, a lot of people have to work the holiday and can take time off earlier in the month of December, when flight prices drop.

Dec. 1 through Dec. 18 is usually the sweet spot for December travel deals to Europe. Flights from Phoenix to cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, and Lisbon usually dip into the $600 range for a base fare. While coastal cities aren’t as active and vibrant in the winter, you’ll find all of the museums open, and beautiful Christmas light displays in their streets and plazas.

Plus, most European cities feature their famous Christmas markets through the month of December. Hundreds of vendors setup booths to sell crafts, toys, decor as well as serve-up local food favorites.

September and October are the best times to book the lower prices. I have an extensive post, specifically on the Barcelona and Catalonia region of Spain, and all the activities and day trips which are perfect for a December visit. Hotel rates will also dip in the first couple weeks of December, stretching your dollar even further, until they start rising for Christmas-week tourists.

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