Planning Your Off Season Vacation

“I just got the best deal on my vacation — I’m going to Costa Rica in July!”

“Ah yes… the height of the rainy season. Be sure to pack your umbrella!”

Even though off-season vacationing may be less expensive, it’s important to figure out why the area isn’t a tourist destination all year long. As in the case of Costa Rica, you may find that some roads are downright impassable during the rainy season — a big downside if you plan to drive through the rainforest. Tourist seasons in other areas may be timed to major festivals or spring break vacationers — making them perfectly hospitable during the off-season. If you can make a compromise between off-season factors and your personal needs, you’ll be able to save tons of money while still enjoying the vacation of your dreams.

Planning Ahead

The key to getting a good deal on an off-season vacation is to plan ahead. First, choose your vacation destination and then do your research to find out when tourism is the slowest. Some areas will have clearly defined tourist seasons, while others experience a steadier flow of visitors. Areas with specific busy seasons are much more likely to give you a good deal on lodging and local activities. As soon as you’ve figured out when the best time to go is, make arrangements to get the time off of work and book your tickets as far in advance as possible.

Weather Conditions

One of the most common reasons that resort areas close down has to do with seasonal weather changes. For example, in the northeastern United States, some hotels close down completely, or are only open for limited amounts of time during the snowy winter months. That said, you may find wintertime suits your needs better than summer if you’re planning to snowshoe through the wilderness. On other hand, if you’re looking for a warmer destination during an off-peak time, you’ll want to consider a destination in the southern states.

Access to Attractions

Aside from weather considerations, some of the tourist attractions that you want to visit may not be open during off-season periods. This may be due to weather conditions or because of the cost of keeping a full-time staff when there are fewer visitors. Look at tourist brochures for the area you’re interested in visiting, or give the facility a call and ask if they will be open when you plan to visit. In some cases, even if they aren’t officially open, they may be willing to book a private tour for you.

Party Time

For many tropical locations like Mexico and the Caribbean, the timing of the tourist season is based primarily on the throngs of young college co-eds flocking south for spring break. Prices will be higher during the months of January through April, and destinations will be more crowded. However, most of these locations are just as lovely during the off-season. Visiting in the fall or early winter can be a great way to save money and have a quieter, more personalized vacation.

Many people choose to take their vacations during off-seasons periods in order to save money. However, it’s important to realize that some of the things you hoped to have on your vacation may not be available during these times. Think carefully about what’s most important to you and plan ahead — you may be able to choose a date that’s less expensive, without compromising on the quality of your vacation.