If You’re on a Budget, This is When You Should Travel

Deal Expert, Chicago
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Here at Travelzoo, we’re always looking for the best time to visit destinations around the globe. But by visiting during an off-peak travel period, you can snag a sweet deal. And in some cases, it can make a typically expensive trip downright affordable.

Air-inclusive vacation packages to Central Europe tend to hover in $1199-$1399 range, but can book the same deal for $899 if you visit in February or March. So, pack for the appropriate off-peak weather, dress in layers and visit museums without the long lines.

Thailand: July-October

Sure July-October is the rainy season, but the downpours rarely last all day.

China: November-February

Expect blue skies but cold winds November-February, especially on The Great Wall. As a reward, you’ll have entire sections of the wall to yourself.


Europe: November-February

November-February is the calm before spring and summer crowds descend on European cities. You can see so much more when you’re not wasting precious time in line at sites like The Vatican. Plus, isn’t there something romantic about a thin layer of frost on The Eiffel Tower?

South Africa: December-March

December-March isn’t the best for spotting animals, but you can still see plenty of wildlife in between trips to Cape Town’s spectacular beaches.

Costa Rica: May-November

This is during the wet or rainy season, but much like Florida, the rain doesn’t last. May-November is also the best time to see baby sea turtles hatch and an ideal time for advanced white-water rafting trips. Strap in.

Hawaii: Spring & Fall

I love this travel period because you’re dodging spring break and summer crowds. Oh, and you get to go to HAWAII. Spring & fall is where it’s at.

Peru: November-April

This is during Peru’s rainy season, when roads can be muddy. Sounds like November-April is a perfect time to book an escorted package (let someone else worry about navigating the roads).

Israel: January-February

I know people that specifically visit Israel in winter. After all, you’re still in the Middle East so January-February usually means more rain, some chilly days but rarely snow. Bring an umbrella, layer up and stockpile your days with plenty of indoor sites.

Turkey: February

This is the coldest time of year to visit Turkey, but an ideal time to visit Istanbul. You’ll practically have the city to yourself as you linger at the Blue Mosque and beyond. Avoid the coastal cities as they virtually shut down in February and don’t expect to fly a hot air balloon over Cappadocia during this travel window.

Australia: October-March

We’re hitting the hot, humid, wet summer from October-March so be prepared. I like the idea of hitting the shoulder of this window, maybe September or October, and hoping to get lucky with some more pleasant days.

Orlando: Fall & Winter

In winter and when kids go back to school in fall, the crowds die down at Disney World and you can see so much more at the parks. Just check the parks’ sites in advance: Disney tends to use the January-February window to tweak and maintain some of their rides.

Vegas: Summer

What are you doing outside in Vegas anyway? Between Cirque shows, the tables and resort hopping, most of your trip will be inside, especially during summer. Don’t forget, it’s always 65 in a casino. In addition to summer, the 3-4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are another prime time for deals.

Arizona: Summer

It’s going to be hot, hot, hot. But you can snag a sweet deal at a 4- or 5-star resort. And let’s be real, you’re not swinging that in prime winter.

Alaska: October, November & April

October, November and April are long, dark days in Alaska and some areas just shut down altogether. Plot our your itinerary accordingly and stick to major cities like Juneau and Anchorage to make sure you’re not charting a course for ghost towns. Tip for cruisers: early May and late summer/early fall is when you should look to set sail.

Watch as our vacation expert is put to the test in a game we call “Low Season, Hot Deal.”

Want to know more of when to go?

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Show 8 Comments
  • Alley

    I’m sorry to say but Orlando is way off….. Fall is crazy busy because they have the food and wine festive plus tons of things going on for the holidays. The best time is January(after the New Year), February, Late April & early May.

  • Jeff Smith

    I’m going to the Philippines in February. Is that cool?

  • Johns.Opinion

    wow Anita. Clearly you missed the point of this. It’s about traveling on a BUDGET. Your very bitter. Maybe , you should travel

  • Catherine__M

    Re: “WRONG season”.That’s literally the entire point. To travel during the “off season” to save money. And having been to Costa Rica nearly a dozen times now (live a 4 hour flight away, married to a Costa Rican, that’ll do it!), I can confidently say that the “rainy season” is a wonderful time to go.

    It doesn’t rain all day, every day. Nowhere close. MAYBE you get unlucky and it’ll happen to you (happened to some friends of mine in Hawaii on their honeymoon, during peak season) but not likely. Everything is green and lush and bursting with life in a way it’s simply not during the dry season. Go for the rainforest, stay for the dust and dead leaves is more like it during the peak season. The air is pleasantly warm, not opressively hot. You can get discounts on basically everything– flights (I got a round trip for under $250 one October), hotels, tours etc, because Americans are terrified of the idea of “rainy season” and stay home. Which is NONsense but there you have it.

  • Stephanie Landsem

    For those of you wondering why would you go to these places when the weather is less than ideal: this is TRAVEL not vacation. We travel to experience the people, culture, places, history. All that can be done in the rain, snow, wind, etc. In fact, you can better experience what it’s really like to live there. If you want to vacation–which is legit, I like vacation, too– then you go during peak season, pay top dollar, and sit on the beach. (with the exception of theme parks, which I don’t understand anyone even children wanting to visit).

    • Mr Awesome

      Honestly, we’re in the slow season here in Orlando (kind of just out of it because Disney set up their Christmas stuff) and I drove to work with my windows down today. I could go straight to the beach and never know it was winter. So technically, here you could still sit on the beach as well as go to the parks right now. 🙂

  • Just Observing

    You know nothing about everything. Three to four million tourists visit Israel every single year, a significant number of them are not Jewish, especially for all the Christian sites in Israel. There is absolutely no apartheid in Israel — it is a very weird and absurd allegation — one that you will find to be completely false if you ever visited Israel… or did any cursory research.

  • Susan Roberts

    “Hawaii. Spring and fall is where’s its at.” Sorry to be a a grammar Nazi, but my pet peeve is “where’s it at” etc. Professional writers should know better. Just because its present in a lot of today’s speech still doesn’t make it correct.