Budget Travel- You’ve Got More Time Than Money

Living in Daegu South Korea

Both kids and trees are shrugging off the playful summer sun. But you aren’t there yet. And although it’s getting chilly outside, you want more. You ache for a long sandy beach or to slumber under a leafy palm tree.  And if you’re like me, you’re always dreaming about travel and chasing the sun. However, you are resigned to the confines of a budget. And one of the best ways to save money is off season travel. Tips for off-season travel proves there is no place on the planet you can’t see with a little planning.

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Tips for Off-Season Travel

More Time Than Money

Traveling in the offseason can be quite beneficial. First, there are the cost savings; from flights to hotels, car rentals and attractions. Everything costs less when the peak season expires.

Crowds are a lot smaller too. For example, everyone thinks you should go to Paris in the spring. However, the lines and crowds are much shorter in August. Because that’s when the locals leave the city, you’ll have more accommodation options too.

When Does Off Season Begin/ End

Off peak season is usually defined by the weather, holidays and festivals. So it’s going somewhere known for skiing in the summer. And heading to the beach when it gets a little cooler. But be cautious when planning a vacation to areas subject to extreme weather changes. Or traveling near major holidays like Christmas. For example, the high (dry) season in Thailand (Phuket) begins in late November/ early December through February. It’s perfect because it hardly rains during this period. If you wait and go March through May, you will get burned because it’s extremely hot. The rainy season is from May to October.

You gotta do a little research. But, I love to book the high season fringes and go early December (for our anniversary). It’s both dry, very warm and since it’s not technically high season, it’s much cheaper too.

Planning Your Budget Vacation

With that being said, there are a few things you should take into consideration when planning an off season vacation. Having traveled to Greece during the summer with my kids, I expected to have a very similar and less chaotic, experience a few months later with the entire family.

And while I thoroughly recommend non-peak travel to Greece or most any other warm destination. A few things are worth noting. Some of the following tips are common sense and can be applied to any destination. And all of the tips may help you avoid an extra expense, a missed opportunity or added stress on off-season travel.

Tip #1

Can you live with street construction? How about the lack of hotel amenities, lobby remodel or an obstructed view to the beach? If so, ask for a reduced rate or even a complimentary upgrade.

During the off-season, I once stayed at an absolutely gorgeous hotel in the hills above Lake Garda. It was out of my price range while they built a new swimming pool. I wasn’t inconvenienced a bit, there was an indoor pool nearby.

Tip #2

Don’t take anything for granted. Just because the hotel advertises a pool on their website, make sure it will be available during your trip. Non-peak months are perfect for renovations and routine maintenance. However, on another trip, I knew the ocean would not be warm enough to swim, so I booked a hotel with an indoor pool, Jacuzzi and sauna.

Unfortunately, I didn’t call in advance to find out that the pool would not be in service when we arrived. With a lack of public indoor pools, my kids were sad to hear they wouldn’t be swimming on this trip. The result: a drastic reduction in my own reading time and the added stress of finding replacement activities.

Tip #3

Don’t assume all travel activities will be available. Take a moment to surf the Internet or call the hotel. Off season travel comes with some inconveniences. Most large attractions have websites with seasonal hours of operation.

I researched activities and found this fantastic boat tour to the Underground River, so I booked flights and a hotel to the beautiful island of Palawan in the Philippines, only to find out the river was closed for four days this year. And, of course, those four days were in the middle of our planned trip.

Tip #4

They can only say no, so go ahead and ask. With fewer guests, you may find the staff much more obliging. You can’t take that bottle of olive oil or dish detergent with you on the plane, so don’t buy it unless you have to.

I can’t tell you how many times I was surprised with a yes. Free upgrades, free restaurant coupons, and transportation. On one occasion, we even received an additional comped room because my boys and I were the only hotel guests.

Extra Notes on Off-Season Travel

  1. Google is your friend when it comes to off-season travel. Search for hotel renovations, low season and soft openings.
  2. Most attractions are closed on Monday or close early during off-peak seasons, so plan accordingly.
  3. Be cognizant of extreme weather phenomena like hurricane and monsoons. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 in the Caribbean– low prices reflect that fact. And although the chances of your particular cruise being affected, you should be aware that your itinerary may change without notice. You may want to purchase travel insurance.

While low-season travel has its risks, you might find the benefits heavily outweigh them. It gives you an opportunity to delve deeper into the local color and enjoy an exceptionally unique travel experience. In the end, a pool would have been nice, but the kids didn’t seem to miss it.

Which is your favorite offseason tip above? Let me know in the comments below.

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    1. duffelbagspouse

      Lucky you. I’d love to do a workd tour, even revisiting some of my favorite places because my world view has changed so much as I grow older.

  1. Amelia Fletcher

    My preferred factor about off season journey is smaller crowds. whilst the monetary financial savings are a pleasant plus too, not anything beats shorter traces and less crowds within the background of my snap shots. exceptional pointers!

  2. Lindsay Joseph

    These are good tips. It’s important to remember the most important part of your trip and not focus on the extras. If staying in a great hotel is your priority…You’re probably not within the type of budget you claim you are. Get out of your room and explore!

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Yup, I have more fun, lol, with the budget when he’s not around. WHat’s also clear is he got even worse when we traveled with the kids. However, if he also wants to do something– budget is no object.

  3. Crizzy Kiss

    I travel both off and peak season. The more I traveled the more I appreciate going to a destination where I can relax than doing a lot of activities. There is also a different season for every country or city.

  4. Elizevent

    My favorite part is: They can only say no, so go ahead and ask. And this is so true!!! We got once upgraded to chalet for the price of a room during off season, just because I asked.

  5. Nessy

    I love travelling off season, but only on places where the weather is not that extreme. I like it because there are fewer people, so that means more time for me to explore. Unlike when there are so many tourists around, the line could get really long.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I feel ya. Places like SE Asia have huge changes in weatger. But if you time it right you feel like you stole something— so its totally worth it.

  6. Crystal

    My favorite thing about off season travel is smaller crowds. While the financial savings are a nice plus too, nothing beats shorter lines and less crowds in the background of my pictures. Great tips!

  7. Natalia

    I love travelling, but I certainly prefer to do it on budget. I hope I’ll find some free time to check out your tips and see beautiful places for little money! 🙂

  8. Talya

    I love off season traveling, but you bring up some really important points to consider especially when choosing you destination and activities. Wonderful post!

  9. Cris

    I love travelling, and sometimes it can get pretty expensive. I love traveling off season. It’s cheaper, and it’s also not so full of tourists!

  10. kumamonjeng

    You have quite a complete list of tips to travel cheap. Off season travel is always a bargain, away from school holidays or during low season which I prefer. For example traveling to Europe in summer is always expensive as compared to other season.

  11. Dalene Ekirapa

    As much as off-season travelling can be so good and help save much money, you’re right when you say that it can be boring at times. I mean, I’ve been to places where not all activities were available during off-seasons as they usually are.

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