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Top 5 travel destinations with cheap and enjoyable off seasons

Friday, August 15th, 2014

The same way Canadian geese fly south in late fall, we travel-lusting people of the world all seem to flock to the same locations at the same time—Mexico and the Caribbean in March, Europe in June, Hawaii pretty much anytime of the year.

Fighting the instinctual urge to travel during peak season means cheaper rates and smaller crowds. Avoid paying an arm and a leg; here’s a list of travel-friendly shoulder seasons to take advantage of year-round.

Utah in summer

The Rocky Mountains in general are breath-taking during the summer. Salt Lake City and Park City draw in large numbers of skiers and snowboarders in the winter, so that’s when they make their bread and butter. The summer months see smaller crowds. Ski-centric towns usually drop their hotels rates by $100-$200 during summer and fall. To the southeast and less elevated part of the state, Moab is home to nature-carved red rocks not to be missed. Strike out on a more frugal outdoorsy vacation from June-September to experience some of the best mountain biking, hiking, white water rafting and outdoor concerts in the nation.


Arches National Park, Moab, Utah; Credit: Gautam Dogra ©

New Orleans in late summer and fall

Mardi Gras may only come once a year, but New Orleans is full of life year-round. The absolute cheapest time to go is in the peak of summer, but it’s hit or miss on if you’ll enjoy yourself. It depends on how you feel about extremely damp heat. So let it cool down a tad; plan your jazzy trip for the tail end of summer or early fall. The 4-star JW Marriott New Orleans has rates as low as $149 in August, while they reach a high not at $289 during February festivities. The party on Bourbon Street never actually stops, so be sure to pack your party pants.

New Orleans; Credit: Jeff Turner©

New Orleans; Credit: Jeff Turner ©

Ireland in March

You’d think with St. Patrick’s Day in March, Ireland would be a giant island of festivities and high hotel prices. Actually, the holiday in its homeland isn’t the drinking day it’s become in the U.S. It can cost $200-$300 less to travel during early spring, namely March, than in the summer. Don’t worry about the weather; it’s rare to have anything more than an occasional flurry in Ireland’s winter due to The Gulf Stream, and by March, some of that famous green is starting to regain it’s hue. Book now so you can start planning your itinerary.

Muckross Head, County Donegal, Ireland; Oisin Mulvihill ©

Muckross Head, County Donegal, Ireland; Oisin Mulvihill ©

Mexico in summer

Northern Americans and anyone who shares their latitude, know that the only thing getting them through winter is the dream of a beach vacation in the spring. To Mexico they go! Spring breakers, families, couples, girls weekends, everyone. Except you, you savvy little cheapo, you. All-in-one packages for July travel will only set you back about $800-$900, while the same package in February and March clocks in at $1,000-$1,100. Hold off on the all-inclusive Cozumel package until June or July. It’ll be hot, but you’ll have constant access to a pool and/or beach, and your tan will be legend. Be careful of hurricane season, which is known to pick up in August toward the end of the summer.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico; ramonbaile ©

Playa del Carmen, Mexico; ramonbaile ©

Costa Rica in July and August

Central America is a beautiful destination where most nations are affected by a wet and dry season. Costa Rica’s wet season runs June to November, which leaves it pretty empty of tourists. No one wants to go and get rained on, true, but this wet season acts a lot like an isolated daily shower. July and August typically see the least amount of rain within this time period. The short-lived rains sometimes happen over night and if they strike during the day, it’s usually not enough to ruin your plans.

La Fortuna Falls, Costa Rica; Credit: Kyle May ©

La Fortuna Falls, Costa Rica; Credit: Kyle May ©


F(r)eeliz Navidad: Affordable Mexican Christmas traditions

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Feliz Navidad: Colorful pinatas mark holiday celebrations in Mexico. Credit: Yankara.

By Blane Bachelor

It’s no secret the holidays can be expensive, what with all that merry-making and gift-giving. But travelers who are spending Christmas in Mexico will find plenty of reasons to rejoice when it comes to affordability. Getting into the spirit without spending a peso is a cinch, since Christmas traditions in Mexico can be found on nearly every corner, from simple poinsettia displays to spectacular Nativity scenes — including the world’s largest, in Mexico City, which set a Guinness World Record this year. (more…)

Budget in Britain: Exploring London on the cheap

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

By Nancy Buczkiewicz

Having been to London twice before, it was time to be what I hadn’t been before: a true tourist. On previous trips I spent time with locals and coworkers, never having to worry about where I was eating, which tube I was taking, or what I’d be doing. This London vacation was going to be vastly different. This time I was going with my mom. When tasked with taking your mother on her first trip abroad to the place she holds dear to heart (via what she’s seen on BBC, of course), you need to make it memorable.

Challenge accepted. (more…)

Best deals for top destinations in 2011

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Savvy travelers know the key to affording a getaway to just about any place in the world is in picking the best off-peak time of the year to visit. Pairing the right destination with the cheapest time to travel there can sometimes mean hitting the beaches a little later, the ski lifts earlier, and avoiding the rates associated with high-season hotel stays.


Montréal voted happiest city

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Montrealers out on the Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Credit: Rednewport.

Montréalers out on the Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Credit: Rednewport.

By Yves Pelletier

Montréal was recently voted one of the world’s 10 happiest places. Sure, I always knew that living here was a good thing and influential on my happiness, but to see it confirmed by the travel guide Lonely planet made me realize it’s not just me.


When in Rome, go for budget-friendly Rome hotels

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

By Maria Mora

This summer, my brother and his wife are going on a Europe vacation for their honeymoon. They’ve asked me and my husband to join them for a long weekend in Rome, and we couldn’t be more excited — we haven’t been there since 2004 and can’t wait to return! We’re considering the best of cheap Rome hotels, and we’ve narrowed it down to three budget-friendly hotels, all of which come with great reviews and ratings.


Top flight sale of the week: Fly cheap to Europe with American Airlines

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010


Looking for cheap flights? You’re in the right place here with our weekly roundup of the best airfares around. This week, we’ve found great fares to Europe with the latest American Airlines sale ending tomorrow at midnight!

American Airlines: super savings to Europe Save big on cheap flights to European destinations like Brussels and Barcelona. Book your flight by tomorrow, May 12, 2010, and  travel through June 10, 2010, for cheap airfares like these:

  • New York City to Madrid: $520
  • Chicago to London: $706
  • Miami to Paris: $790

Remember, this sale ends tomorrow so book your flight no later than 11:59pm CT on May 12, 2010. See the American Airlines sale for complete terms and conditions.

For more flight sales, check out more flight deals now.

Top 5 can’t-miss cruises

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

By Kim Windyka

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and if you’re still hunting for the perfect present for that special lady in your life — be it your mom, sweetie, sister, or other great gal — what better gift than a relaxing cruise to a fabulous destination (or several fabulous destinations)? There are literally tons of cruise itineraries and vacations to choose from, but here’s a few show stoppers definitely worth a look.

Sulphur springs from St. Lucia's drive-in volcano. Credit: D.G. Brown

Sulphur springs from St. Lucia's drive-in volcano. Credit: D.G. Brown

(1) 6-Night Southern Caribbean: While many Caribbean cruises focus on the Eastern and Western portions, the Southern Caribbean has gorgeous islands with lots of historic charm. On this trip, you’ll stop first in sleepy St. Croix; take a scenic horseback ride or an exciting scuba dive. Then, beach it up in St. John’s, Antigua, before checking out the drive-up volcano (yes, you read that right) on St. Lucia. End your trip by exploring the amazing plant and animal life at the Nature Reserve on St. Kitts.


Flights on the cheap: The week’s best flight deals

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010


Looking for cheap flights? We’re excited to bring you this first post as part of a weekly roundup of the best flight deals around. This week we’ve got news on the hottest airfare sales and cheap flights to destinations like Nassau, New York City, and Paris.

Air Tran Airways: Ends today–huge savings on U.S. airfares Save big on flights across the U.S. and beyond with the latest sale fares from AirTran. Hurry — this last-minute deal ends today, April 20, 2010, at midnight! Travel through November 10, 2010, to grab round trip fares like these:

  • Atlanta to Charlotte: $88
  • Chicago to New York City: $182
  • Orlando to Nassau: $88

American Airlines: cheap flights to Europe Fly to Europe for less with the latest fare sale from American. Book by April 23, 2010, depart April 5 – April 30, 2010, and return by May 15, 2010.  Sample round-trip air fares include:

  • Washington to London $520
  • Chicago to Paris: $764
  • Los Angeles to London: $662

For more details or to see all available sales, check out more flight deals now.

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Cheap Mexico vacation: save on Cabo, Riviera Maya hotels

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010
Cheap Mexico vacation

Westin Resort & Spa Los Cabos

Pack your bathing suit and sunscreen — your cheap Mexico vacation awaits. With deals like these on cheap hotels, you can’t afford not to go.

Westin Resort & Spa Los Cabos: The hardest thing about staying at this cheap hotel is deciding how best to relax and enjoy yourself. Which of the seven pools should you dive in to? Do you want to dine inside or out — and at which of the five restaurants? Do you want to chill out at the swim-up bar or unwind with a spa treatment? The best strategy may just be to book a cheap Mexico vacation that’s long enough to do it all! Kids 12-17 stay and eat for free when sharing a room with parents or guardians. Plus, get a 20% spa discount.

Catalonia Playa Maroma All-Inclusive: This cheap hotel is located in Playa del Carmen, in the heart of Riviera Maya. An all-inclusive cheap Mexico vacation here includes dinner at three restaurants, supervised childrens activities, access to the fitness center, sports like kayaking, water polo and more. Get 45% off per night when you book a cheap Mexico vacation by April 9 for travel through July 10.

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