Off-Season Solo Travel Deals – 5 Tips: With summer vacation moving into top gear, now is the time to look for off-season deals. Since most travel has in the past been based on double accommodations, solo travelers still have to look hard to find the best prices. That is not easy when you do not want to sacrifice quality or shorten your trip to save. However, there are a few easy ways to have a great off-season trip at lower rates. I found this out very early on. One September when I traveled solo to Costa Rica, I received a free upgrade to a junior suite. It just makes sense when hotels are left with rooms to fill. When the crowds leave reducing demand for lodging, travelers will always have a better bargaining position to fill those vacant slots.
Better yet, off-season the large tourist crowds are gone. You can actually see the Mona Lisa without standing on your tip toes! You may even get to try out all the top local dishes without waiting in a long line for popular cafes and restaurants.
Off-Season Solo Travel Deals – 5 Tips: How to Time it:
Tip 1.”Off season” can actually start much earlier than you think. In the South of France, I received fifty percent off at a 5-star hotel as early as Sept. 9. Why are the prices reduced so fast? The reason is simple. Hotels and resorts in the Riviera are starting to close up quickly only to reopen the next spring. With the early reductions, local properties can take advantage of the chance to finish off their season on a high note.
Off-Season Solo Travel Deals – 5 Tips- Season: Weather Does Matter!
Tip 2. Since some sights may be closed or harder to reach in piles of snow, factor in how you intend to spend your time.
Will your focus be on in-door activity, such as, visiting museums? In that case, the cost-savings would definitely outweigh the less favorable weather. Paris is well known for slashing room rates in the dead of winter. I found this to be true in my stay there one January. Having had many prior trips to the “City of Lights”, the brisk weather did not slow me down one bit. I was really excited to get a fifty percent discount at a four-star hotel on the Left Bank.
Tip 3. Consider what impact the weather will have off-season.
If you like the idea of walking on a beach in a sweater on a brisk day, this could be the right opportunity for you. Think how uncrowded it will be!
Be sure your guidebook directions work for each season. You do not want to try climbing up a local Mt. Everest without cleats. I learned this the hard way. When I arrived in the lovely village of Bled in Slovenia, I was keen to explore the Bled Castle. Such ancient European castles were not just the residence of royalty or nobility. They were fortresses or served other key defense purposes. That meant they were high on a hill or mountain. No worries! My trusty travel guide led me to the easy path to the main gate. Unfortunately, the directions must have been written for warm weather. In Feb., I found the path covered in snow and ice. From down below, it looked like Pike’s Peak. I managed at last to get to the top. However, I was stranded with no way down. Luckily, I was rescued by had a cab after my tour.
The key question: Will rain and cold (or really blazing hot days) keep you from enjoying the trip at any price?
Tip 4. Even if major sights are open, will you be able to get there? Think about the added costs off-season for local transport. If you have to pay for cabs, buses or trains, those costs can add up fast. You may have to get a private tour or guide to go beyond the city center. One January in St. Petersburg, I missed the fabled Catherine Palace since there were no group tours at that time. I was quoted a charge of two hundred US dollars to go there. That was a princely sum in Russia at that time. I decided it was too costly for my travel budget in any case. When I think back on it, I do regret not paying the going rate as excessive as it seemed at the time.
Off-Season Solo Travel Deals – 5 Tips: Use “Bad” Weather to Save!
Tip 5. In the tropics, do not immediately reject traveling during the rainy season. In warm, lush climates, it is true that the green or rainy season may be unpredictable and bring more humidity. I have gone to India to vacation in the monsoons and upriver on the Brazilian Amazon in the “rainy season”. While I did not care for the extra humidity, the tropical rains were heavy but brief. If the price is good, do weigh whether it would work for you.
To learn more about the pros and cons of off-season travel, see our posts on:
“Off-Season Travel: Pros and Cons“
“How to Save by Going Off-Season“
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