It’s the end of August and I’m getting ready to go on vacation. To those of you with kids in school, sorry not sorry, but I love my off-season vacations. To those of you with younger kids, here’s a question for you: Why aren’t you taking vacations in the off-season?
First of all, what is the off-season?
The off-season is that time when vacation locations lower prices. If you’re a beachgoer like we are, you’ll probably already know that hotels raise their prices during the months of June, July, and August. Most hotels increase pricing somewhere after Memorial Day, and it goes until right around Labor Day.
If you like amusement parks, however, you might find their off-season months vary. For example, there are dozens of charts showing the best times to visit Disney World, and it is not the week of Christmas! (In fact, that’s one of their busiest times of the year!)
So it’s a good idea to do some research on the area you want to visit and see when rates drop.
My family has always used VRBO to book our trips to Fripp Island, SC. If you haven’t heard of it, VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) is a fantastic tool for finding any type of rental you’d like for a vacation. Part of the Home Away company, VRBO’s rentals span the globe.
Now let me share some of the perks of vacationing in the off-season:
1. Fewer People Means Smaller Crowds
My family loves the beach, so we’ll use that as our example. We’ve gone to the beach at different times over the years, and I definitely prefer the off-season because I love seeing the ocean rather than a sea of umbrellas. Vacationers throng beach resorts in the summer with towels, chairs, and umbrellas. It’s a race to the beach in the morning to find the best real estate. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a good location away from the shifting tides, the loud radios, and the cigarette smoke.
In the off-season, most beachgoers spend less time fighting for the best spot and more time enjoying the ocean. Why? They have very few people competing for their spot in the sand.
2. Vacation Packages Are Cheaper and More Diverse
Going on vacation doesn’t have to break the bank or require selling your firstborn to the hotel. (In fact, most hotels discourage the latter practice these days.) A fantastic perk of vacationing in the off-season is finding better prices for your trip. Our family starts planning in January, which is the best time to research beach house pricing. Most owners post their availability for the year early and include calendars full of seasonal pricing information.
As an added bonus, you can usually find some great deals on attractions or activities in the off-season. For example, Fripp Island offers amenity cards to guests, which allow you to do things like rent bikes, visit pools, and take dolphin tours. Prices increase for these cards in summer, but the week we visit they decrease for the off-season. An off-season vacation is perfect for exploring new places on the cheap!
3. Travel Time Is Reduced
This may vary depending on what kind of vacation you prefer, but I’m sure any beachgoers can attest to the crazy traffic of people heading to the shores.
You know what I mean, right? You drive 80 MPH only to slam on the brakes when every car in front of you stops on a dime. You thank the good Lord for working brakes while simultaneously throwing your hands in the air in frustration. And this goes on for miles!
In the off-season, you avoid major traffic due to fewer travelers. It makes for a much more pleasant experience when you don’t fear for your life in stop-and-go interstate traffic. (And any members of the family who experience road rage – ahem, dad, ahem – can be a bit more relaxed!)
4. End-of-season Sales – Enough Said!
My last perk of off-season vacationing is a simple one: end-of-season sales. You know it’s a good deal when you don’t have to pay $80 for a bathing suit you’ll only use a few days. Around the end of July and beginning of August, stores put out their fall stock. Of course, we get excited because it’s tax-free shopping time, but I look forward to shopping for vacation necessities.
If my bathing suit’s a bit loose (or, let’s be honest – a bit tight!) or my son has hit a growth spurt over the summer, I can take a peek at the sale items and find cheaper options. The same goes for other vacation items like beach towels, flotation devices and sunscreen. The end-of-season sales help me save money on a vacation, and that’s worth every penny!
And that, my friends, is a wrap! I love being able to relax away from the crowds. It gives me peace of mind being in a place where fewer people congregate because I don’t feel the need to eagle-eye my stuff and my child quite as much.