A tropical vacation to sizzling hot sun, white sand beaches and lush green forests is calling your name. Think you can’t afford it? The problem isn’t your finances; the problem is your planning.
Instead of paying high rates to travel during the summer high season (meaning May, June, July, August and September), why not take advantage of low prices and fly to high temperatures in off-season travel destinations? Getting confused?
If you can get a few days off work and find some time to travel during the spring, fall or winter months you can save money and your peace of mind away from the crowds. No need to book your trip for the peak season. Just follow me…
An off season travel is great for two key reasons
1. It’s a great way to save money thanks to lower prices
Book your room at lower prices
Flying to different destinations is cheaper when you don’t book for the peak season, sometimes by more than 50%. Traditional lodging often offers cheaper rates in the low season, sometimes by half the price. Other lodgings may also offer slightly reduced prices (like on AirBnB for instance).
Cheaper transport and sightseeing
You can also get cheaper rates on a rental car. You could save money since some entrance fees to different attractions go down depending on whether it’s high season/summer or winter time. In general, the savings add up if you travel in the off season.
2. Fewer crowds and attractions are quieter
It’s called the off season or low season for a reason. There are fewer, and sometimes far fewer, people at the destination. Sometimes I and my partner had places almost entirely to ourselves. We saw some people when we went to Yellowstone, but it was far from congested or crowded. A common complaint from people visiting Yellowstone National Park during the busy season in the summer.
Let’s dive into some of the top off-season travel destinations
When the fall or winter comes in, travel wise and visit sun-kissed beaches. Not only will you find warmer weather and less crowded coast lodging, but your highly discounted airfare will grant you increased funds for uninhibited vacation fun. Just choose the right time of year!
Sun Palace Resort
Is your biggest vacation pet peeve being surrounded by screaming kids during a romantic moment with your special someone? Or what about the obnoxious flock of aggressive single guys who won’t leave you alone when your hubby is in the bathroom? No tourists in town!
Sun Palace is an innovative couples-only escape destination in Cancun that offers a vacation vision as breathtaking as its stunning waterfront surroundings. For a truly romantic Cancun getaway, I recommend Sun Palace. This picturesque Mexican oasis provides 252 rooms, including 20 presidential suites. Most accommodations come complete with a double Jacuzzi, balcony and ocean view.
The essence of Sun Palace is agua – the resort resides on the ocean and boasts three infinity-edge pools, a swim-up bar, and two indoor pools with two Jacuzzis. So take a swim in the sea and spend the rest of the day making your waves in the Jacuzzi. Nothing says romantic vacation like a swimsuit dress code and poolside cocktails under the hot sun.
Sun Palace features a luxury day spa, an all-inclusive fitness centre and a schedule of daily activities to keep you on the move. The first-class Spa specialises in a blend of Mayan, Oriental and European techniques. Pamper yourself to perfection in one of three specials and private couples’ suites.
To top off your romantic indulgence, Sun Palace is home to three dim and delicious restaurants: El Alamo for Mexican, La Tratto for Italian and The Steak for fine cuts and seafood. And don’t you worry, there are five more bars and lounges to keep you satisfied throughout your stay. Sun Palace offers the ultimate luxury trip for two in Cancun, Mexico.
Bora Bora, Tahiti
Four Seasons Resort
The Four Seasons Bora Bora is arguably one of the most magical places to visit in the world. When you plan your visit to Tahiti, you don’t settle for an ocean view; you shack up in a private, over-water bungalow where the mesmerising turquoise ocean is all you see and all that matters. The Four Seasons Resort offers 121 idyllic hideaways nestling around the Bora Bora lagoon and its outer beaches. The famous over-water bungalows perch on stilts above the lagoon, and there are 100 spacious bungalow suites on the property.
The resort resembles an authentic Polynesian paradise, with traditional teak wood furnishings, high ceilings and roofs thatched with pandanus leaves, and doors that slide open to reveal panoramic fresh-air views of the lagoon.
The pristine setting is the perfect backdrop for relaxing spa indulgence. The Spa is located at the lagoon’s edge, surrounded by tropical groves and the vibrant ocean. The natural resources of Bora Bora have inspired treatments and rituals using natural ingredients of French Polynesia, such as monoi, tamanu, kahaia and vanilla.
Arrive early to the Spa’s outdoor vitality pool and aroma hammam. Or, if you prefer to stay in your bungalow, in-room massage and spa services are available.
And then, there’s the pool. The main infinity pool is surrounded by tropical foliage, soaring palms and plush cabana lounges, located just off the beach. Swim up to the bar and cheer your family and friends on the beautiful scenery. There is also a fun children’s splash pad entertainment area for the little ones.
More activities include Catamaran cruises, open-air fitness centres and personalised studio classes, tennis, wave runners, kayaking, shark and bat ray feeding, etc. And, of course, you’ll forever stay satisfied with four on-site restaurants and bars, each serving unique South Pacific delicacies with gorgeous lagoon and ocean views.
Costa Rica, Central America
The Westin Reserva Conchal Resort
From the pure blue ocean to the lush green landscape where you choose to stay in Costa Rica, you should honour and celebrate the surroundings. Book your stay during the low season, perhaps in the winter months to get lower hotel rates.
Enter The Westin Reserva Conchal – an eco-friendly all-inclusive resort nestled between the pristine beaches and lush forests that sprawls 2,400 acres along North Pacific Riviera.
All 406 spacious resort suites and private villas are centred around the expansive lagoon-style pool surrounded by thatch-roof cabanas, rich gardens, and unparalleled ocean and forest views. More resort-wide suite amenities include a private terrace or balcony, marble floors, deluxe bathrooms, plasma TVs, daily stocked minibar and 24-hour room service.
But trust me, no matter how tempting, you don’t wait to waste your trip stuck inside the suite! Instead, get outside and explore Costa Rica’s incredible beaches and the resort’s vast entertainment options.
Practice your swing in the golf course at Reserva Conchal. Or pamper yourself in paradise at the world-class Ahuia Spa. A few spa perks include poolside massages and all-natural therapies adapted from the local culture, such as the signature volcanic stone treatment. That’s a destination that’s definitely worth a visit.
Hungry travellers will be pleased to learn there are eight contemporary international dining options and five premium bars and lounges on-site. Get active with location-inspired entertainment, including cooking classes, sushi-making, wine tasting, flower arranging, bird watching, massage, painting, tango dancing, Catamaran cruises, water bikes, kayaks and snorkelling, canopy tours, bicycle.
Grand Wailea Resort
When you’re craving a tropical Hawaii getaway, I recommend the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui. This vast, plush property is practically an island all its own. From the moment you receive your flower Lei greeting, you are invited into a new world punctuated by decadent spa services, abundant shopping, fine dining and ongoing pool adventures. The Grand Wailea offers a variety of accommodations, ranging from Napua Rooms to Suites and Villas at Ho’olei.
Enter a Wailea Suite
A richly furnished 1,950-square-foot suite with stunning views of lush tropical gardens, landscapes and ocean views. But you won’t stay inside long with all the exotic entertainment awaiting outdoors. Walkthrough the resort to your private beach, and let your concierge know if you’d like to take paddleboards, boogie boards, sandcastle kits, umbrellas or snorkel sets. More activities include private VIP cabana rentals, kayak tours and scuba programs.
The word “pool” simply doesn’t cut it for the Grand Wailea’s full-blown water park. The 4,850-square-foot Hibiscus pool, strictly for adults only, contains over 2.2 million individual tiles composing a Hibiscus flower design and features two Jacuzzis.
Wailea Canyon includes four jungle pools, a sand beach, waterfalls, caves, jacuzzis, an infant pool, and a swim-up bar. Think that’s going to work for you? I thought so.
If you ever make it out of the water, the Grand Wailea also offers six on-site dining and entertainment destinations, a fantastic row of boutique shopping, a premier 18-hole golf course, a full-functioning fitness centre with daily class schedules, and of course, a ridiculously indulgent day spa and salon. Finally, if you’re planning a destination wedding, remember that the Grand Wailea has one of Hawaii’s most incredible beachfront wedding chapels.
Palm Springs, California
Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel
Although they had me at the largest pool in Palm Springs, the remodelled Renaissance boasts a variety of other buzz-worthy amenities, including a re-imagined modern lobby and spacious two-bedroom suites with scenic mountain views, poolside cabanas and a tranquil outdoor fireplace lounge.
The Renaissance offers five floors and 410 guest rooms with 155 one- or two-bedroom suites for your comfort. In-room amenities include flat-screen TVs, iPod stations, and wireless internet.
The Renaissance proudly features a vast pool surrounded by a tranquil desert oasis pool area with a 24,000 square foot courtyard with a 5,000-square-foot pool, one whirlpool, a separate children’s sand and pool area, and private cabanas.
Restaurant and bar
In addition, there are two on-site favourites for dining and entertainment. The new restaurant is casual yet elegant and is dubbed Date, reflecting the Coachella Valley’s rich date industry dating back to the 1920s.
Head over to the Renaissance’s chic bar and lounge Rocks. While the floor-to-ceiling windows truly bring the outside in, I recommend going for the real deal: sip your cocktails poolside on the elongated fireplace terrace.
Final thoughts on off-season travel
These are just a few suggestions; there are more tropical destinations for budget travellers to explore no matter if it’s peak season or not. But if you prefer fewer crowds and lower hotel rates, it’s worth reserving your time to visit these destinations during the low season.
There’s something magical about exploring these incredible places at your own leisure, without standing on tiptoe to see or waiting through long lines. They have been some of my favourite travel moments;
The fun hotel we stayed at in Dodgeville, Wisconsin that has themed rooms. Since it was almost empty, they let us look at all of the different rooms and choose which one we wanted to stay in. (We chose to stay in the igloo room.)
Search for the best time that fits your schedule; that could be fall, winter or spring. No need for the traditional peak season summer holidays! Book a winter trip to Iceland in November or December; that’s the time of year when you can stare at the Northern lights!
Visiting a country in Europe in off peak season, maybe October or April, will allow you to explore any city at lower prices while the temperatures are still pleasant. Search for the best value for money accomodation in any town you plan visiting, avoid crowds and enjoy the best time as a tourist off season.
Keep in mind that there are some downsides to low season travel. It may be challenging to get time off of work, or if you have children, they would need to miss school since off season travel is often during winter. So it requires some flexibility, creative scheduling, or shorter trips.
I think by being an off peak tourist, the payoff is worth it with the money saved, and the adventure earned.