Travel dollars are often thought of as strictly entertainment expenses, which means that they are inessentials that are sadly pushed aside with relative ease. This is unfortunate, because many studies have shown that vacations are essential for overall health and happiness. Those who take regular vacations lower their risk of heart disease by 32 percent. They are also more productive and less stressed than their non-vacation seeking counterparts.
Vacations also stimulate the economy. The travel industry generates approximately $1.5 trillion per year and creates over seven million jobs. A recent Oxford Economics study shows that, if US workers took all of the vacation time they were allotted, an additional 1.2 million jobs would be created and an additional $52 billion would be added to the industry.
Of course, all of this information does little for those who believe they cannot afford to travel. Nearly half of all US workers with paid time off avoid spending vacation dollars, largely because they believe they cannot afford to travel. Luckily, there is a way to get away without over-spending.
Travel During the Off-Season
The off-season, also referred to as low season, is the time when a location experiences its fewest number of visitors. Fewer tourists can be due to simple timing or expectations of poor weather. During this off-season, many expenses can be quite inexpensive. Hotels lower prices in order to fill their empty rooms. Airlines may drop prices in order to avoid flying without a full cabin. Cruise ships offer rates that make nearly any land-lubber excited to sail. Entertainment and even meals can be less pricey when businesses simply need to get more bodies through the door. Indeed, traveling during the off-season can allow tourists to experience the trip of their dreams for a fraction of the price.
Interestingly, the low season is not the same in every location. Most spots experience their highest tourism numbers in the summers and around holidays. Likewise, the holidays that cause prices to increase vary from country to country. For instance, domestic travel in the U.S. is at some of its highest prices during the fourth week of November in recognition of Thanksgiving. This is not so in other places that do not observe this American holiday.
Another factor that affects the price of off-season travel is local festivals. These events can draw massive number of visitors from all over the world, allowing hoteliers and restaurateurs to lift their prices with ease. Though most take place in the summer months, festivals can take over a region during various points of the year. A well-known example of this is Rio’s Carnaval, held in February. Holi, celebrated throughout India, is in March. Munich’s Oktoberfest is celebrated in September and October. All of these months are generally considered to be off-season or shoulder-season, but the special events change their status.
Stateside Travel In The Off-Season
Those who wish to stay domestic can find great off-season rates if they travel from mid-January through mid-March. Once Spring Break arrives, prices increase around the country. They tend to stay high through Easter, and then drop again until May. The month of May is often part of the shoulder-season, where prices are lower than the high season, but not as low as off-season travel.
The summer months of June, July, and August are the pricey in the United States, but those costs start to drop in the shoulder season of September and early-October. Mid-October through mid-November is another off-season time. Prices go back up for Thanksgiving and tend to stay elevated until after the New Year.
Off-Season In The Summer
Some families simply cannot get away during the off-season. Many employers count on their workers only taking summer breaks. Most schools are built on the premise of long breaks only occurring from June through August. Luckily, there are places where families can travel for less in the summer months.
The Caribbean is a tourist hotspot all year, but summer, particularly early summer, is hurricane season. Tourists who are willing to brave possible rain and high winds can get a fairly decent discount. Belize and Mexico are both inexpensive and beautiful, with plenty to see and do for couples, singles, or families.
Indo-china is a beautiful and exotic location. The off-season, known in this spot as the green season, presents the possibility of typhoons, instant flooding, and extreme heat. On the other hand, the rains typically only come in the early evening, crowds stay small, and prices are much lower.
Anyone who has ever wanted to visit the land down under can do so in the summer. Australia’s off-season is May through August, which is that region’s winter. July in Australia offers lower temperatures and about six hours of sunshine. Travelers will need a jacket for their trip abroad, but they will be rewarded with a low cost vacation of which others can only dream.