Great deals happen in the off-season—you just have to know how to find them. We got frequent travelers to reveal when and where those money-savers really are.

1. Off-season doesn’t mean the wrong season

It doesn't mean no one wants to go then or that you won’t be able to experience the best of that area.

Some of my favorite travel experiences have been during the off-season.

 

2. It does mean deals and discounts

Huge tourist destinations are the best bet for sharp discounts in the off-season because these economies are completely dependent on tourist income as opposed to business travel income.

 

3. You’ll save more on hotels than airfare

If hotels can fill an otherwise empty room for 25 or 50 percent of what they normally get, they will. That money is just straight to their profit. Airlines just won’t fly as many trips.

By far the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in for very small amounts of money have been off-season deals on major chain hotels.

 

veteran globetrotters

 

4. Getting on the phone often gets you deals

I find a specific deal online or something through the hotel’s own social-media marketing efforts or through a discount club. Then I call the hotel and try to book it directly.

 

5. Use community-generated review sites

They'll get you the real scoop on hotels and locations. You’ll see pictures of rooms and facilities posted by guests, instead of the hotel’s marketing efforts.

Plus, you’ll get the real deal about the staff, the location, and the overall experience of staying in the hotel.

 

6. Don't bring the kids

Not that children aren’t delightful, but I’ve been in places where there are huge groups of schoolkids running around making it a much less pleasant experience than it would otherwise have been.

 

new york mature travellers

 

7. Cities and major business centers are not as likely to have off-season deals

This is because there’s no off-season for business travelers. It’s hard to imagine any season in New York City that would count as the off-season.

 

8. You’d be surprised at what you can negotiate

I called a place in Barbados. It was the off-season, and I said, “Is that your cheapest room? What if I stayed a few extra days?” She said, “Well, I can offer you the rate for Caribbean citizens.” Caricom is the term for the Caribbean community, and there’s a rate for native Caribbeans.

It was really easy for her, and it would never have come up online. Only by my calling the hotel did she think of saying, “Oh, we can slip you in under this Caricom rate.”

 

9. If you want to get a taste of the real local culture…

Ask a waitress, the boy giving out pool towels or the bartender where to hang out. You’re sure to find some great spots that aren't overpriced for tourists.

 

10. Public transportation is the way to go

If you can figure out the bus system, take it. You can literally save hundreds of dollars taking buses instead of flagging down cabs every time you want to go somewhere.

 

veteran globe trotters

 

11. In any season, beware of extra fees

If you can’t avoid them or talk them down, at least be aware of additional fees such as extra legroom charges, hidden hotel fees, and rental car extras you don’t really need.

 

12. Download currency-converter apps to your phone

Use one if you’re traveling somewhere that has a very different monetary system to what you’re used to, and you won’t end up paying £12 for a can of soda.

 

13. Refundable tickets can really pay off

This is especially true if you’re booking a trip several months in advance. Spending an extra forty or fifty pounds up front is a lot better than paying hundreds in change fees, which all major airlines consider mandatory.

 

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