One of the advantages to off season travel are the discounts offered by hotels and other accommodations. The selection of accommodations to choose from in your chosen price range may also be better providing the opportunity to stay in nicer digs. The truth is, all hotels are discount hotels at some point in time. The hotel industry is driven by supply and demand just like any other business. When demand is high and the inventory of rooms are low, discounts are the exception and vice versa.
The biggest factor in how deep the discounts go is seasonality. Peak travel seasons result in high demand for hotel rooms pushing up the prices. Peak periods vary considerably by location. For instance, a hotel in a ski resort will be busiest and most expensive during the ski season. Naturally, the summer months tend to be the busiest time of the year for most hotels that are located in areas with distinct seasons, however, hotels located in areas that are warm year round tend to get an influx of guests who are escaping the cold winter weather back home.
If you are able to travel to any holiday destination during it’s off season you can often land yourself a great bargain. Even missing the peak season by a week or two can result in substantial savings. Of course this is often easier to do if you don’t have kids as you are not restricted by the school calendar which has a great impact on travel demand. Many school systems have a spring break, a winter break and an extended summer break. It is during these breaks that travel and hotel bookings are often at their peak. If you have kids in school you may not be able to work around these peak times, however, if they are good students and can afford to miss a week of school, this can often be arranged. You can always explain your plans to their teachers and arrange some extra work in advance so your child can get ahead prior to the trip. That way they should have a minimum of catching up to do upon returning. We have done this on several occasions with our kids and it has always worked out well. We also firmly believe that travel can be a significant part of a child’s education.
Another factor that can affect hotel rates that we haven’t mentioned yet are special events. Naturally, when a city or holiday destination is having a special event or festival that draws people from other areas, hotel rates will be pushed higher, often much higher, by the increased demand. Unless the purpose of you trip is to attend the event you will probably be better off avoiding a destination during major events.
Another benefit to travelling in the off season is that tourist attractions, beaches, parks, restaurants and pretty much everything else are less busy which can considerably add to your enjoyment and relaxation. Also, many tourist attractions offer reduced admission during the off-season. A downside is that, in some locations, the weather may not be as nice and some tourist attractions may have shorter operating hours.
Next time you plan your vacation be sure to take all of the above factors into consideration and see if you can’t get yourself a great deal. Remember too, the above factors affect airfares, so your savings for travelling during the off-season may be even greater if you are flying.