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If Christmas break seems like a distant dream and the mind demands something a little more substantial than a ‘staycation’, why not jet off to a weekend rest and relaxation for an off-season long break?

Universe How To? lists some budget-friendly destinations that will tide you
over until the December festivities:

Road trip Ras Al Jinz
The weather is finally pleasant, so why not avoid the hassle of flights and airport runs for a simple road trip to neighbouring Oman?
Serene sands, towering mountain ranges and clear blue seas, is exactly what the scenic vista serves up – and this is just the highway, mind you.
Book a beachside resort for a weekend getaway, or better yet, hop into your car and drive across the border to explore some rugged terrain along Ibri and Nizwa, while driving down south, below Muscat, to the Ras AI Jinz fishing village which is home to the Ras AI Hadd Turtle Reserve on the eastern shores of the Arabian Peninsula.
World renown for the nesting endangered green turtles, you can spend the night in a private resort or camp nearby in Sur before you head in the morning hours to see the turtles lay their eggs.
Expenses: Budget in Dh2,000 for visas, fuel, food and a two-night stay at a resort for a family of four.
Smile in Bentota
If sun and surf is what you desire (and wish to do it outside the UAE), then hop on a flight to the tropical island of Sri Lanka and zip down to the beach town of Bentota.
Located on the southwest tip of the island Vivanta by Taj is the ideal luxury getaway on the cheap.
Spend the day sunning yourself by the pool, or hop into as tuk tuk to explore the neighbouring villages of Galle and Hikkaduwa.
An insider tip: Head over to the restaurant Diya Sisila, an out of the way seafood lover’s paradise tucked away on the lawns of villa owner, Mr Nandana. A former Dubai and Bahrain resident, the culinary genius will even hop into his tuk tuk to give you a lift should you need a ride back to your hotel.
Expenses: Dh3,500 for a two-night stay, with Dh1,015 approximate returns flights on Air Arabia; plus, the additional for stay, airport transfers and meals.
Bowled by Baku
A little of the beaten track perhaps, but this capital of Azerbaijan will shuttle you between the tattered influences of the old Soviet era, complete with rusty Ladas chugging along in a haze of smoke, and transport you to the exclusive boutiques on the bulvar that scream luxury, like the kind residents of the UAE are probably accustomed to.
The Caucus influence of the neighbouring Georgian heritage is still ripe, with the Caspian Sea glittering in the midday sun, even as the rugged peaks pay homage to the culturally rich past with towering stone castles and monasteries that are waiting to be explored.
 
Do make time to visit the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Carpet Museum, both seeped in the Islamic culture that largely influences the country today.
Expenses: Dh3,500 for a two-night stay, inclusive of a direct flydubai flight that costs approximately Dh1,140.
Mumbai magic
Love it or hate it, but you certainly can’t ignore the hypnotising lure of India’s Maximum City. And if you prefer to cite the urban definition, then the country’s home to the glitzy Bollywood industry.
Mumbai offers something for even the most disconcerting traveller, be it exploring the treasures of the city’s infamous, and notorious Chor Bazaar or thieves market, to savouring the delicate taste of Bade Miyan’s kebabs right after you pay homage to the shrine of Haji Ali that stands as stoic and majestic in the middle of the churning waters of the Arabian Sea.
Three days are not enough to unravel the mysteries that lie hidden in this city’s underbelly, but one can hit it with their best shot.
Expenses: Dh3,000 for two nights, including airfare that costs between Dh980 and Dh1,000 on SpiceJet and Jet Airways, respectively.
Soak up in the Dead Sea
Float away in moments of bliss as the medicinal waters of the Dead Sea work its magic on your everyday stresses; packing on some mud for that additional skin exfoliation wouldn’t be amiss either.
The Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth, is a salt-water haven where tourists flock to year round for a treat and a tuck.
Most seaside resorts there give residents access to the Dead Sea mud, with comfortable benches erected at a few places to soak up the sun before taking a dip in the saltiest sea on the planet.
Do the fun, touristy thing if you dare and pop yourself in for an easy float while reading the newspaper. Everyone loves to picture this for memories back home.
Expenses: Dh3,000, inclusive of Air Arabia’s direct flight to Amman for Dh1,050; a 2.5 hour taxi ride will shuttle you to the Dead Sea

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