Travel, they say, is broadening. Unfortunately, the recent rise in gas prices may force some travelers to put plans on hold. Happily, it’s possible to get away this spring without blowing your budget, if you know the best places to go. The Go Frugal Blog on FreeShipping.org compiled the high and low seasons for 70 of the most popular travel destinations worldwide to help you discover the best deals.
Before you plan your next journey, check out The Best Time To Go Guide For 70 Destinations. Here’s a glimpse of three exciting travel destinations to consider.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Costly: June to August
Less Expensive: April and May
Summer means hot weather and humid, rainy conditions. The weather is more comfortable in April and May than during the height of summer. The humidity isn’t as prevalent, and the summer rains have dissipated. Best of all, as the crowds have not yet arrived, you’ll enjoy uncrowded resorts, low season rates and an excellent chance of upgrades.
Costly: July and August
Less Expensive: April to June and September to October
The Emerald Isle is known for its rain, so you can expect a certain amount of damp at any time of the year. The weather is likely to be at least as good in May, June, and September as in the summer months and hotels are less busy. Spring flowers are at their best in April and May, and October offers a frugal fan’s choice of free arts festivals.
Costly: Mid-May to October
Less Expensive: January to March
The Pacific Northwest sees its fair share of rain, but the most popular time to visit is during the summer when brainiacs take a break and outdoor festivals are everywhere. Winter is the least expensive time, with fewer crowds and more availability. Second cheapest is the spring and fall shoulder seasons when the weather is cooler and schools are in session.
Costly: December to March
Less Expensive: June to September
The islands just north of Cuba become a hustling, bustling myriad of vacationers in winter, all reveling in the beautiful weather and the Caribbean experience. Fortunately, the off-season is more true to the real Caribbean lifestyle. The throngs have departed and Caribbeans have settled into a less-hurried lifestyle. Mid-day temperatures from June to September may rise to an uncomfortable 85 to 90 degrees, but the Atlantic trade winds will blow the sweat off your body.
On the downside, hotels and resorts reduce their services and staff in the offseason and some activities may be entirely closed. Still, it’s a small price to pay for 20 to 60 percent discounts. You can barter your way to better deals in local shops and there’s plenty of elbow room on the many golf courses. You can still enjoy tennis, water sports, and other activities, with the added bonus of strolling into a restaurant without a reservation.
You’ll also find a more cosmopolitan atmosphere in the Bahamas in July and August, as the islands open their arms to European tourists.
Costly: January to March
Less Expensive: April to early December
The high-gloss charm of Cancun features swashbuckling pirates, Maya dancers and beer-soaked spring breakers from the U.S. This party city is blessed with white-sand beaches and turquoise waters that rival Acapulco.
Cancun’s year-long sunny weather makes it a sun bather’s paradise. Naturally, winter draws teeming hordes of northern tourists, seeking to escape from the cold, which means high prices. Summers can be hot and wet, with hurricane season starting in June and lasting until November. The beginning of December and the month of April experience comfortable weather, making it a pleasant and less expensive time to visit. Avoid spring break in March, however, as vacationing students take over from families and couples.
Disneyland, Anaheim, California
Costly: Late June to Labor Day, spring break and two weeks prior to Christmas
Less Expensive: Everything else
Home to the world’s most bountiful mouse, Disneyland won the hearts and minds of America’s children from its opening in 1955. But Disneyland isn’t “The Happiest Place on Earth” when you’re stuck in mile-long lines during the high seasons.
If you don’t have the patience for endlessly shifting your weight while standing in one place, avoid the period beginning in late June and ending Labor Day; Spring break; and Christmas (a two week period beginning the week before Christmas, ending New Years Day). The off-season is every other time of year.
The official Disneyland website is your one-stop shop for this resort.
Costly: July and December
Less Expensive: April to June and September to November
Perpetually romantic France ranks among the most visited countries in the world, and with good reason. The food, wine, scenery, and culture all combine to make France an addictive passion.
The best frugal times to visit are in the spring and fall when the weather is still temperate and attractions are open to the public. August is also cheaper because the French take their holidays this month, however, many shops and restaurants close their doors during this period. (The exception is Parisians, who take their vacations in July.) Southern France swelters in the summer months, except on the priciest Mediterranean coast, so you might want to stay north of Toulouse.
Hotels used to charge off-season rates during the cold, rainy period, from November to February. Lately, however, they’re often packed with business travelers, trade fairs, and winter tour groups. On the other hand, airfares are still cheaper during these months and more promotions are available.
FranceGuide is the official website of the French Government Tourist Office and will provide you with many more details.