Every travel destination has an ideal time of year, but if you go during the off-season—when the weather isn’t quite as good—you can get some great deals, and still have lots of fun. Here’s how.
For most places you’ll visit, the off season will occur for one, or more, of these reasons:
After peak travel times of the year, like summer and winter break. Around the holidays is also not the best time to travel if you want deals.
If your destination has weather extremes like severe rainy seasons or harsh winters.
Before you start planning anything, double-check that the place you want to go even has an off season.
Know the Potential Benefits and Costs
If you choose to travel in the off season, you find that most related expenses will be cheaper—including large purchases like plane tickets or activity packages. You’re likely to find great deals on accommodations, too. You can even find lower prices on services like Airbnb and other hotel alternatives where the hosts set the rates. Of course, other costs will not be lower—like food. You can still use other tactics to cut down on these expenses, though.
You’ll also probably have fewer other travelers to deal with, too, which means you might get better service from guides, activity organizers, and other service people. Off season travel also allows you to avoid certain kinds of travelers. Families, for example, tend to travel in sync with the school calendar. Of course, this means that if you have kids, off season vacations mean they’ll miss classes and may have to do extra projects to make up for it. If you work, you may encounter the same issue with your workload when you return.
Make Sure You Can Get There
If your destination is somewhere with harsher weather in the off season, you should check to make sure you’ll even be able to get there. For example, southeast Asia usually has a strong rainy season where monsoons may prevent you from getting there safely. Even if you can’t get there during the peak of the low season, see if you can get in on either side of the bad weather to try and save some money.
You’ll also want to make sure your preferred method of transportation is available and the conditions will be favorable. For example, if you’re traveling to the countryside via bus during a rainy or snowy season, the roads might be less than ideal.
Decide Where You Want to Stay
When you travel in the low season, some hotels or hostels may be closed. The best way to find out which ones will be open is to contact them directly or visit their site. Many places may use the low season as a time to do repairs on their property. If the accommodations you’re interested in do end up being closed, ask them to recommend another similar option nearby—chances are they’ll know of one or two places you can stay.
You should also consider an alternative like Vacasol. You may be able to find better deals or more options since people who are renting out their vacation homes are unlikely to be there during the off season.
Find Out What Events and Activities Will Be Available
You’ll find that some activities will be closed or have limited hours in the off season, either because the weather doesn’t permit or because the vendors won’t be around. Keep this in mind as you search for events and activities for your trip. Again, the best way for you to check this is to contact the vendor directly or visit their site if they have one.
If you are struggling to find open events and activities, look beyond the well known spots for things that are open anytime—like outdoormonuments or parks. Some attractions are even breath-taking to view from the outside alone. You can even enjoy the architecture and locals by planning walks through your location.
Research most of these areas before you start to book anything. If you find one to be lacking, you’ll probably want to reconsider your chosen destination. After all, you can have a place to stay, but if there’s little for you to do then you won’t have as good a time as if you spent a little extra and visited at a more popular time.
Use the Savings to Splurge Elsewhere on Your Trip
You can save a lot of money by traveling in the off season, so use some of those savings to treat yourself during your trip. You don’t have to splurge on something every day, but taking yourself out to a nice dinner or shelling out for an activity you really want to do can make for a more enjoyable and memorable trip without feeling expensive.
You have a multitude of options when it comes to ideal off season travel locations, just do your research and be willing to make the best of whatever situation you encounter.