If you're the sort of person for whom every calendar is an advent calendar, you won't need to be told that there are only 90 days until Christmas.

It's "the most wonderful time of the year" and for those planning a holiday that goes double.

With four public holidays and the long summer shutdown it's not surprising that almost 60% of New Zealanders took a break between Christmas and January last year.

However, that doesn't mean everyone has all their presents wrapped and leave booked in the diary.

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According to Expedia one in five Kiwis leave their Christmas plans to the very last minute.

The travel comparison site says the most expensive time to book a festive break is November, with prices peaking between 31 and 60 days to go.

But for those with iron nerve and carefree disposition – holidaymakers can find a very last minute bargain.

Average prices drop about a week out from Christmas.

It appears fortune favours the disorganised.

As accommodation providers look to fill their remaining rooms, savvy travellers can find a real bargain.

This does rely on rooms still being available and any last minute deals can be scarce and limited on choice.

According to Expediaone in five Kiwis leave their Christmas plans to the very last minute. Photo / Getty Images
According to Expediaone in five Kiwis leave their Christmas plans to the very last minute. Photo / Getty Images

"The reality is travelling during Christmas / New Year is not cheap as chips, and at this time of year, every cent counts," says Hayley Purdon, Director of Market Management for Expedia.co.nz.

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"With so many people travelling, the peak in demand does mean higher prices and scarce availability in popular holiday spots."

Her advice is to book sooner rather than later for travellers with specific holiday needs, however there savings to be made for those who are less fussy about their holiday plans.

"If travellers are flexible with where they go and when, there's definitely opportunity to book at the last minute and find some savings, however, it's risky!"

How to catch a last minute Christmas bargain

For who can keep a cool head during yuletide, or are just disorganised, here's our advice on finding that night before Christmas deal:

  • Book local: While hotels might drop prices, flights and transport can have a Christmas hike. Stay locally to maximise on savings.
  • Be flexible: If you can put off an Xmas break until the end of January, you can find more options outside of the peak Christmas and New Year's dates.
  • Christmas party: Make your holiday plans around the bookings available rather than booking around your holiday plans, you've left it too late to be picky. If you have a lot of disorganised friends you can often find the best economy from booking a larger property
Book local: While hotels might drop prices, flights and transport can have a Christmas hike. Photo / Getty Images
Book local: While hotels might drop prices, flights and transport can have a Christmas hike. Photo / Getty Images

Where to look

According to search results on Expedia.co.nz here are your best hopes for a late Chistmas mini-break, between 26 December and January 1.

Domestic

Wanaka and Queenstown

5% availability

You'll be lucky to find anything at these popular summer destinations.

Taupo

15% availability

Slim pickings, but there are some deals to be found.

Over seas

Pacific Islands

60% availability

Nadi and Apia are a good bet for slow movers

60% availability

The popular Cook Islands are almost full.

Australia

only 10% of listings available

Summer bolt-holes on the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Sydney are scarce.

Asia

50% availability

Travellers might find a last minute bargain in Bali