People & Places

The financial perks of off-season travel

Pay less, but stay longer

Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas pulls out of the Port Everglades at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The ship is the largest passenger vessel in the world. The ship measures 225,282 gross tons. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas pulls out of the Port Everglades at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The ship is the largest passenger vessel in the world. The ship measures 225,282 gross tons. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Whether you are exploring Istanbul or visiting family in Miami, you can do more — and spend less — by traveling in the off-season.

Traveling in the off-season means visiting a location at a time when the crowds have thinned. As a result, you can pay less for airfare and enjoy a wide range of additional perks, all while minimizing the burden on your pocketbook.

Here are some of the many financial reasons to travel at non-peak times of the year.

AIRFARE PLUMMETS IN THE OFF-SEASON

According to the Washington Post, domestic airfare rates peak in summer and then fall steadily until the holiday travel season begins in November. And studies by airfare tracker app Hopper note that the average cost of a domestic round-trip flight peaks in June before dropping in July.

For popular beach destinations such as Miami and the Caribbean, for example, summer is the low season, so you can often secure steep discounts and airfare deals.

If your schedule permits, run “flexible trip” searches with online travel sites to find the cheapest months to fly.

EMPTY PLANES MAKE FOR LUXURY SEATING

These days, plane passengers don’t just pay extra for premium seats. On the contrary, many airlines charge fees for the more desirable economy seats, such as those with a few extra inches of legroom.

If you arrange for off-season travel, you might not need to pay for better seats. When a long-haul flight is half empty, create your own “sky couch” by nabbing an empty economy row and a few pillows.

YOU CAN PAY LESS TO STAY LONGER

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It’s common knowledge that hotel rates drop during the low season. According to the New York Times, Miami hotels often reduce high-season rates by 50 percent during slow times.

According to The Huffington Post, the off-season for San Francisco is October through March, while January and February are the best times to visit The Big Apple.

LEISURE ACTIVITIES, tours COST LESS

Whatever leisure activities you have in mind for your vacation, you’ll likely pay less during the low season. Spas in both Aspen and Vail, for example, offer significant discounts for off-season visitors. Even famed Pebble Beach drops its hefty greens fee from $525 to $495 off-season.

Moreover, according to Travel & Leisure, safari lodges offer serious low-season deals and discounts, with prices dropping by up to 40 percent.

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