Cheap Family Vacations In January – Vacations are all about having fun, but they can be pretty expensive. If you like to take a lot of vacations, but you don’t have a lot of money, one of the best things you can do to save money is to plan your trip during the shoulder season. You can save more money by a booking your trip in the off-season, but there is a reason that it is called the off-season. Almost all vacation spots have a high and low season, and everything to do with that vacation is priced accordingly. Your airfare will be cheaper, as will your accommodations, food, and activities.
The bad thing about traveling in the off-season, is that the conditions for that particular vacation are not at the optimum levels. Most people travel to Vale for the skiing, and so the off-season is during the summer when there is no snow on the ground. Likewise, almost all places are high season during the months of June, July and August, because that is when school is out and schoolchildren are on holiday. There are a few exceptions to that June, July, August time frame, in places where it gets so incredibly hot during those months that it is definitely considered the low season.
But what exactly is the shoulder season? That is the small window of time on either side of the high season, when the conditions are near optimum levels for a vacation in that spot. For instance, in Vale, if the high season is November through February, the shoulder season would then be October and March. If I were going to book this particular vacation and I wanted to save some money but still have a good shot at doing some skiing, I would book it for the last two weeks of October, or the first two weeks of March. If you are going solely for the skiing, you may or may not get lucky with this plan. Since the high season starts in November, the resorts are fairly certain that by November there will be snow on the ground. Likewise, they are reasonably sure that the snow will last through February. While the months of October and March will be on the books as low season, thereby saving you some vacation dollars, there is a more than 50-50 chance that the conditions will still be right for a great vacation. By booking in the shoulder season, you are thereby increasing your chances for a great vacation while decreasing your outlay of money.
Hotels and motels are not the only ones who have high and low seasons. Everything else to do with the tourist season also has high and low seasons. While a restaurant may not actually change the prices on its menu for the low season, they will often run more specials during the low season that will help you stretch your dining dollars. The same is true for activities. Sometimes tour operators will actually lower the prices of the tours during the low season, but even if they do not, you can be assured that almost always they will be running some type of specials during the low season. If you are vacationing by yourself, this may not make much of an impact on your bottom line, however, if you are traveling as a family this can add up to quite a bit of savings over the course of the entire vacation.
So the next time you start planning your vacation, the first thing you want to do is figure out what the dates are for the high and low seasons. And then start looking at the periods of time just before and just after the high season. The ideal time, in my opinion, is the two weeks before and after. However, I am never opposed to going as much as a month on either side of the high season. By using this simple strategy, I often save enough on my vacations that I can squeeze out an extra vacation a year.