Curated by Brad Hoffer w/ ChatGPT - www.xlyourfinances.com
Here are some tips for maximizing your travel budget and finding affordable accommodation, transportation, and activities:
1. Travel during the off-season: If you can be flexible with your travel dates, consider traveling during the off-season. This can often mean lower prices for flights, accommodations, and activities.
There are many great travel destinations in the United States that are ideal to visit in the off-season when the crowds are thinner and prices are lower.
Here are a few suggestions:
New York City, New York: The winter months of January and February can be a great time to visit New York City when the crowds are smaller, and hotel prices are generally lower. Also, the holiday lights and decorations in December are a sight to see.
Napa Valley, California: Fall and winter are the off-season in Napa Valley, and it's an excellent time to enjoy the area's wineries and restaurants without the crowds.
San Diego, California: San Diego's off-season is in the winter months between November and February, with milder temperatures and fewer visitors.
Park City, Utah: Park City is an excellent winter destination and is a popular ski resort town. However, visiting in the spring or fall when the crowds are thinner and the weather is pleasant is also a good option.
Savannah, Georgia: The off-season in Savannah is from November to February, with milder temperatures and fewer visitors, making it a great time to explore the city's charming historic district.
Portland, Oregon: Winter is the off-season in Portland, with fewer tourists and lower hotel prices. It's an excellent time to enjoy the city's thriving food scene and many breweries.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Cape Cod is a popular summer destination, but the shoulder season from September to November offers fewer crowds and mild weather.
In addition to these few examples of travel destinations in the United States, here are some suggestions for nice travel destinations around the world that are good to visit in the off-season:
Bali, Indonesia: Bali is a popular destination year-round, but the months between April and June and September and November are considered the shoulder season, with fewer crowds and lower prices.
Barcelona, Spain: The off-season in Barcelona is from November to February, when temperatures are cooler but the city is less crowded, making it a great time to explore the city's many museums, galleries, and historic sites.
New Orleans, Louisiana: The off-season in New Orleans is from June to August, when temperatures are hot and humid but crowds are smaller and hotel prices are lower.
Machu Picchu, Peru (Pictured above): The off-season in Machu Picchu is from November to April, when rainfall is higher but crowds are smaller, making it easier to explore the site without large crowds.
Iceland: Iceland's off-season is from September to May, when the Northern Lights are visible and prices are lower than during the peak summer months.
Hawaii, United States: The off-season in Hawaii is from April to May and September to November, when crowds are smaller and prices are lower.
Rome, Italy: The off-season in Rome is from November to March, when temperatures are cooler but the city's many museums and historic sites are less crowded.
These are just a few examples of destinations that are great to visit in the off-season. When planning your travels, be sure to research the weather, crowds, and prices for your intended destination to determine the best time to visit.
What exactly is a shoulder season? The shoulder season is the travel period between the peak season and the off-season, usually characterized by fewer crowds and lower prices compared to the peak season, but still with relatively good weather and amenities compared to the off-season.
For example, in many popular summer vacation destinations, the peak season is typically between June and August when the weather is warm and schools are out of session. The off-season, on the other hand, may be during the winter months when the weather is colder and less conducive to outdoor activities. The shoulder season would then be the period of time in between, such as the months of May and September, where the weather is still mild and many tourist attractions are still open, but there are fewer crowds and lower prices on flights, accommodations, and attractions.
The origin of the term "shoulder season" is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the travel industry. It is thought that the term was first used in the ski industry to describe the period of time between the winter and summer seasons, which is typically a slower time for ski resorts.
The term "shoulder season" is derived from the idea that it is a transitional period between two busier seasons, similar to the way that the shoulders are a transitional area between the neck and the arms.
2. Use budget airlines: Consider using budget airlines for your flights. While they may not offer the same level of comfort as full-service airlines, they can be significantly cheaper.
Budget airlines can be cheaper than full-service airlines for certain routes and destinations, but it's important to consider the fees that may be associated with budget airline tickets. Budget airlines often charge fees for things like checked baggage, seat selection, priority boarding, and in-flight meals and drinks, which can add up quickly and significantly increase the overall cost of your ticket.
When comparing prices between budget airlines and full-service airlines, it's important to factor in all of these fees and charges to get an accurate sense of the true cost of each option. Additionally, it's important to carefully review the terms and conditions of your budget airline ticket to make sure you understand any restrictions or limitations that may apply, such as limitations on baggage size and weight, or restrictions on changes or cancellations.
Despite the potential fees, budget airlines can still be a good option for travelers on a budget who are willing to be flexible and plan ahead. By doing your research and carefully weighing the costs and benefits of different airlines and ticket options, you can find the best option for your needs and budget.
3. Book early: Booking early can often result in significant savings on flights, accommodation, and activities. The ideal time to book a flight for the lowest cost can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the destination, time of year, and demand for flights. However, in general, booking a flight around 90 days ahead of departure is often considered a good rule of thumb for finding lower prices.
Research has shown that airline ticket prices tend to fluctuate over time and that the best time to book can vary depending on the destination and time of year. However, booking too far in advance or too close to departure can often result in higher prices.
Booking too far in advance may mean that you miss out on last-minute deals or price drops, while booking too close to departure can result in higher prices due to limited availability and high demand.
Booking around 90 days ahead of departure can often be a good balance between booking early enough to take advantage of lower prices and booking late enough to avoid missing out on last-minute deals or price drops.
However, it's important to keep in mind that this is not a hard and fast rule, and prices can still vary widely depending on a variety of factors. It's always a good idea to shop around and compare prices from different airlines and travel sites to find the best deal for your specific travel dates and destination.
4. Use public transportation: Instead of renting a car or taking taxis everywhere, consider using public transportation. This can often be much cheaper and can give you a chance to see more of the local culture.
5. Look for budget accommodations: There are many budget accommodation options available, including hostels, Airbnb rentals, and budget hotels. Consider staying in a shared dormitory room or renting a private room in a hostel or Airbnb to save money.
6. Cook your own meals: Eating out can be expensive, so consider cooking your own meals. Many hostels and Airbnb rentals have shared kitchens where you can prepare your own food.
7. Research free activities: Look for free or low-cost activities to do in the area you are visiting. Many museums, parks, and attractions offer free admission on certain days or during certain hours.
8. Use travel rewards programs: Consider signing up for travel rewards programs for airlines, hotels, and rental car companies. This can help you earn points or miles that can be redeemed for free flights, hotel stays, or rental cars.
By following these tips, you can maximize your travel budget and have a great trip without breaking the bank.
I have been an Auditor, Analyst, Accounting Manager, Business Systems Manager, Controller, School Board Vice President, Director of Finance, CFO and COO over the past 2 decades of work experience. In my free time I developed the XLYourFinances spreadsheet and website I enjoy golf and spending time with my family. We attend church at LCBC.