Great Places to Travel and Save in the Off-Season

Woman in bungalow
Quinn Martin / Shutterstock.com

The off-season is a great time to travel. You’ll enjoy cheaper airfares and lodging and fewer if any lines at the attractions you’ve traveled so far to see.

Just what does off-season travel mean?

“In general, ‘off-season’ refers to the time when a destination sees the least visitors; usually this is due to weather patterns and/or vacation schedules,” says Bailey Freeman, destination editor to South America and Antarctica for travel guide site Lonely Planet.

“Because fewer people are traveling to the destination during this time, the booking availability is higher, which leads to lower prices. Traveling during off-season is a great way to save some cash and skip the crowds.”

Consider these off-season travel suggestions.

The Caribbean in the fall

Swimming with tropical fish
Tropical studio / Shutterstock.com

Visit islands outside the hurricane belt for a storm-free and affordable island adventure, advises Pauline Frommer, editorial director at Frommer’s, the website of the budget travel enterprise whose guidebooks have aided travelers since the 1950s.

Islands you’ll want to see in the off-season include St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

“They are in the Caribbean, but they haven’t been hit with hurricanes in decades,” Frommer says.

And prices drop by as much as 30 percent in September, October and November, she says. That’s a good off-season deal.

U.S. hotspots in December

Older woman with cup of coffee in tropical setting.
CREATISTA / Shutterstock.com

The first two weeks in December are a good time for travel without crowds to many popular U.S. destinations.

Frommer recommends New Orleans, Hilton Head Island in North Carolina, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Oh, and a certain island chain.

“It’s a great time to go to Hawaii,” Frommer says.

Autumn in Florida

Palm Beach
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Visit the Sunshine State when it’s not quite so crowded.

“Late fall is actually a terrific time to visit the Gulf Coast and Southern Florida,” says Trisha Ping, destination editor to the Eastern USA for Lonely Planet. “Hurricane season has peaked by mid-October, but temperatures are still mild enough to enjoy time on the beach, even if it’s not quite warm enough to swim. Outdoor beach town activities like bike rides and mini-golf are also pleasant in the daytime.”

New Orleans in autumn

New Orleans, Louisiana at night
f11 photography / Shutterstock.com

The peak season in New Orleans for crowds and prices is around Mardi Gras (which falls in February or early March). But travel to Louisiana’s “Big Easy” in the autumn and enjoy the deals.

“In fall, you have great hotel and great flight deals,” Butler says.

Enjoy a little elbow room as you explore Bourbon Street, Jackson Square and the Garden District, and nibble beignets at Cafe du Monde, the city’s well-known coffeehouse.

Wintry destinations in the U.S.

Lighthouse in winter
Jennifer A. Darrel / Shutterstock.com

Head north during winter and save.

“Consider checking out the Catskills, New England or Northern Michigan in winter. No crowds, and the coziness level is off the charts,” Ping says. “If you’re looking for a winter city break, places like Chicago and Minneapolis know that life goes on when the temperature drops. Indoor cultural attractions abound, while you can enjoy outdoor activities like ice skating or snow-tubing.”

If you’re traveling in the U.S., be sure to check out: “The Best Roadside Attraction in Every State.”

Costa Rica in summer

Costa Rica suspension walkway
Bertola Jean-Guillaume / Shutterstock.com

Visit Costa Rica in spring and summer and save.

“Fewer crowds during Costa Rica’s off-season (between May and July) lead to discounts on both beds and tours,” says Alicia Johnson, managing destination editor to Central America and Caribbean for Lonely Planet.

“Since the rainy season has only just kicked off, days are mostly sunny, with occasional heavy, but short-lived, downpours. If you don’t mind getting a little wet, you can get close to plenty of critters at Costa Rica’s big-hitting natural attractions, such as Manuel Antonio National Park. The tail end of rainy season in November brings with it similar bargains, plus the added bonus of tons of migratory birds.”

European cities in the fall and spring

Paris traveler
Andrey Yurlov / Shutterstock.com

Want to backpack Europe? Hold off until fall and save. There are lots of new airline carriers that will be offering cheap flights to Europe.

“A neighbor went to Ireland for $200 from New York City, including taxes,” Frommer says.

Paris, Reykjavik, Madrid and Milan are all destinations with good airfares.

Norwegian Airlines, WOW air and Icelandair are among the airlines slashing prices.

You don’t need to fly out of New York, either. Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia are other U.S. gateway cities with great deals to Europe.

If you’re not going to make it this autumn, spring is your next best bet for European capitals:

“Barcelona, Rome and other popular European capitals may not be crowd-free in the off-season between April and May, but you’ll get a little respite from the crowds and sky-high prices while still being able to sample the joys of outdoor cafe culture,” says Evan Godt, managing destination editor for Lonely Planet. “It’s significantly better than in the summertime, when the lines are longer, the streets are full, and everything is more expensive (including your ticket to get there).”

Are you dreaming of a getaway? Check out deals on flights, hotels, cruises and more on our travel deals page, powered by ShermansTravel.

Mediterranean beaches in the fall

Mediterranean coast
xbrchx / Shutterstock.com

Wait until fall to get the deals on beaches on the Mediterranean coasts.

“During the Mediterranean’s June to August peak season, higher prices come with the swarming beaches and sweltering temperatures,” warns Godt of Lonely Planet. “Wait until October — hotel rates will have dropped significantly, but there’ll still be plenty of sun in Greece, Turkey and even southern Spain and Italy before the beach resorts close for winter.”

Marrakesh, Morocco, in autumn

Marakesh market scene
Ungvari Attila / Shutterstock.com

Avoid the hot months of April and May and visit Marrakesh in the autumn. It’s a cooler and cheaper time to visit the Moroccan city.

“It’s a lot better to go in fall, you can still see all the sights and go to the markets,” says Meg Butler, staff writer at travel guide site Fodor’s.

Lonely Planet’s Godt agrees.

“Temperatures in Marrakesh are punishing in the summer, as are the crowds and the attendant high prices,” Godt says. “Try to travel in October or November instead, when you’ll find manageable temperatures, budget-friendly riads and the famous souks and market squares won’t be swarmed by fellow travelers.”

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Street scene in Buenos Aires
Alexandr Vorobev / Shutterstock.com

Buenos Aires — with its delicious blend of Latin American and European culture — is busy from December through February, when summertime in the Southern Hemisphere offers a welcome respite for travelers from the wintry north. Fodor’s Butler says an even better time to visit is springtime there, September through November.

Plaza de Mayo is lined with 19th century buildings including Casa Rosada, Argentina’s presidential palace. There’s also a 1908 opera house and MALBA, a top-flight art museum displaying Latin American art.

New Zealand

New Zealand
Ruklay Pousajja / Shutterstock.com

Another great Southern Hemisphere spot for an off-season visit is New Zealand. Travel there in mid-June through early October, when it’s summer at home but winter down under, and you can ski on the North Island.

“You can go skiing in the summer, which is kind of fun,” Butler says of Americans traveling south of the equator. “It is a great ski destination.”

There are also geothermal springs and glow-worm caves to explore and enjoy. And you’ll be there in the off-season when the prices are right.

Mexico City in the fall

Mexico City cathedral
WitR / Shutterstock.com

There’s a lot going on in Mexico City in the summer, but if you visit closer to fall you’ll enjoy some good deals, Fodor’s Butler says.

One caveat: During celebrations for Day of the Dead (Oct. 31 to Nov. 2) there will be enormous crowds, so keep that in mind when you plan your trip.

The city features a historic and busy city center, Zócalo, a prominent plaza full of activities, and Chapultepec, a big park filled with plenty of attractions.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa
Quality Master / Shutterstock.com

Summer at the southern end of Africa is the longest season, lasting from October to March. The fall and early winter months there, from April to June, are a good, off-season time to visit Capetown and see such sights as Table Mountain, Robben Island and Boulders Beach.

It’s also a fine time to do some wine tasting. There are plenty of vineyards to tour and wineries to see.

And you’ll be there without the crowds when the price is right.

Do you have travel tips for your fellow readers? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 U.S. Jobs That Are Disappearing Fastest
10 U.S. Jobs That Are Disappearing Fastest

Think twice before pursuing these shrinking occupations.

15 Purchases That Make Life Easier As You Age
15 Purchases That Make Life Easier As You Age

There are many products that can make getting older — or any time of life — a little easier.

10 Places Where Social Security Offers the Best Standard of Living
10 Places Where Social Security Offers the Best Standard of Living

These U.S. counties offer retirees a chance to stretch their benefit checks while enjoying their golden years.

7 Things You Should Do Before Claiming Social Security
7 Things You Should Do Before Claiming Social Security

To get the most out of your Social Security retirement benefits, you have to think ahead.

10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Seniors
10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Seniors

These schools let retirement-age students study, tuition-free, while earning college credit.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’
5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

Here is why some seniors’ brains work as well as those of people who are decades younger.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.