By Marjorie Kean
If you want to travel at a time when you dollar goes a lot further on your vacation think of visiting discounted destinations in the off-season. Yes,most popular destinations — including major cities in Europe – are less expensive in the off-season. And yes, the weather isn’t going to be as good as many people like, the days will be a bit shorter and you may not find as many things open as you do during the high season.
On the other hand though, these are also the things that keep some tourists away and force hoteliers and others to discount their prices. So if you really want to save some hard-earned dough, fall and winter — the discounted off-season – are the time to find discounts.
Where to Go in the Discounted Off-Season
I remember a while back, a publication that recommended five off-season getaways that provided real savings for travelers. They included Las Vegas and San Francisco, in the U.S.; Paris and Florence in Europe; and Goa on the west coast of India, all good discounted destinations in the off-season. I’d also add Vancouver, British Columbia.
Prices normally drop in Las Vegas during November and December because the weather (rain and cooler temperatures) keep the crowds at bay. Still though, remember that in Vegas you’ll be spending most of your time indoors anyway. February and March, on the other hand, can be prime time for the budget-minded traveler to focus on San Francisco. There’s always plenty to do in the City by the Bay, both inside and out, so even though the weather will be cool, you’ll normally avoid the winter rains. If you don’t mind the rain, Vancouver, BC during the winter can also offer some substantial savings when traveling in the discounted off-season.
If you’re focused on Europe be aware that low season in Paris extends from November through March when rainy, shorter days keep many American’s away from the “City of Lights.” For you, on the other hand, it can be prime time to visit all those museums you weren’t able to get to during the warm summer months because of the crowds.
It’s the same for Florence when the winter months can be a boon for anyone wanting to get their fix of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Donatello and other masters in Florence’s almost-200 museums. And, like Paris, there’s nothing like shopping without the crowds during the less-crowded discounted off-season.
If you’re interested in traveling to India and can move quickly you can save some money by traveling to Goa in October. The reason is that the peak season will not begin for another month and the weather is still quite enjoyable with the monsoons a thing of the past, or at least the past few months, making it a perfect discounted destination in the off-season.