If You’re on a Budget, Here's When You Should Travel


Thailand might be a little overcast in October, but it’s just as beautiful. (Photo: istock)

It’s no secret: Travel can get expensive.

But if you know how to play the game, it’s possible save hundreds on flights to exotic locations.

After researching airfare and hotels, Travel Zoo expert Josh Gershenson is sharing his knowledge on the cheapest time of year to visit some of the world’s hottest destinations.

Thailand has become a popular tourist spot, but even though it’s affordable once you’re there, the plane ticket can put a strain on the wallet. Gershenson suggests visiting from July-October, which is considered the country’s rainy season. Tickets will be cheaper, and the downpours rarely last all day, so it’s a win-win.


Strolling through the Parisian winter wonderland. (Photo: iStock)

Americans are flocking to Europe because of the weak Euro, but it pays even more to visit between November and February. Sure, the weather will be cooler, but the crowds will also be smaller. Plus, have you seen the Eiffel Tower draped in a thin layer of snow? It’s amazing!

Related: 10 Beaches That Are Better in the Off-Season

South Africa is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, but getting there can basically put you in debt. December-March isn’t the best time for spotting animals, but there are other perks. For example, the beaches of Capetown are beautiful at this time of year. 

Looking to snag some amazing deals? Here are some other hot destinations and the cheapest time to visit: 


Watch the sea turtles hatch during Costa Rica’s rainy season. (Photo: iStock)

• Costa Rica – This is during the wet or rainy season, but luckily, the rain doesn’t last. May-November is also the best time to see baby sea turtles hatch and an ideal time for advanced white-water rafting trips.

• China – Expect blue skies but cold winds November-February, especially on The Great Wall. Silver lining? You’ll have entire sections of the wall to yourself.

• Hawaii – Spring and Fall in Hawaii are beautiful and slightly more affordable. But let’s face it, it’s Hawaii…isn’t it always beautiful?

• Peru – Have you always dreamed of seeing Machu Picchu? Then you might want to book a ticket between November-April. Sure, it’s Peru’s rainy season, but a little mud never hurt anyone. 

• Israel – Israel in the winter isn’t that bad. Between January and February, the days will be chilly and rainy, but there’s rarely snow. So bundle up and hit some museums on those chilly days.


Sydney in September or October might just be the perfect time to visit. (Photo: iStock)

• Australia – Summer in Australia is  hot, humid, and wet from October-March, so be prepared. For an even better trip, visit in September or October for a few more pleasant days. 

• Turkey – This is the coldest time of year to visit Turkey, but an ideal time to visit Istanbul. You’ll practically have the city to yourself as you linger at the Blue Mosque and beyond. Avoid the coastal cities as they virtually shut down in February and don’t expect to fly a hot air balloon over Cappadocia during this travel window.

Related: 32 Off-Season Travel Spots For Every Month of the Year

• Orlando – In winter and when kids go back to school in fall, the crowds die down at Disney World and you can see so much more at the parks. Just check the parks’ sites in advance: Disney tends to use the January-February window to tweak and maintain some of their rides.


Who cares if it’s hot outside, when you’re in the Bellagio winning big?! (Photo: iStock)

• Vegas – During the summer, you can snag some good deals to vegas because, well, it’s really hot. But between the shows, gambling, and casinos, you spend most of your time inside during a Vegas trip anyway.  In addition to summer, the 3-4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are another prime time for deals.

• Arizona – It’s going to be hot, hot, hot in the summer, but you can snag a sweet deal at a 4- or 5-star resort. And let’s be real, you’re not swinging that in prime winter.

• Alaska – October, November and April are long, dark days in Alaska and some areas just shut down altogether. To liven things up, stick to major cities like Juneau and Anchorage. If you’re thinking about a cruise, early May and late summer/early fall will have the best deals. 

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