The cost of travel depends on several different factors, including the time of year, the weather, passenger demand and the destination. Therefore, the cheapest season for traveling will depend on current holidays, academic schedules and seasonal weather conditions such as hurricanes. For example, travel prices typically increase during academic vacations and during summer or winter breaks. Additionally, the price of air travel increases during holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Labor Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. To get the best air travel prices, it is best to travel during the low seasons. To learn more about the cheapest seasons for traveling, take a look at the sections below.
Traveling During Low Seasons
In general, the cheapest time of the year to travel is during the area's low season or off-season. However, a destination's low season or off-season usually depends on seasonal weather conditions. For example, flights to the Caribbean are less expensive during hurricane season, from June through November. Unlike the Caribbean, the low season in northern Europe is in January and February, since weather is usually snowy with colder temperatures.
Additionally, traveling to areas such as New York City, Minneapolis or Chicago will be cheaper in the winter due to cold and snowy weather. On the other hand, traveling to Las Vegas in the middle of July or August will save you money due to the scorching-hot temperatures. However, saving money may be worth it if you do not mind the heat and plan to spend most of your time indoors in the air-conditioned casinos or hotels.
Traveling During Hurricane Season
A destination's low season or off-season generally has a lot to do with the location's tropical storm season. According to the U.S. Department of State, the North Atlantic's tropical storm season starts in June and ends in November, while the Northwest Pacific's storm season begins in July and ends in November. Furthermore, the tropical storm season of the Northeast Pacific begins in May and ends in November, while the storm season of the Southwest Pacific begins in October and ends in May. Lastly, the tropical storm season of the South Indian region begins in October and ends in May, while the North Indian region experiences its storm season April through December.
Visiting a region during these tropical storm seasons is riskier for tourists, but can help travelers to save money on airline tickets and avoid crowded tourist areas. However, it is important to plan for the trip in advance, monitor weather conditions before leaving and purchase travel insurance to be on the safe side.
Not Traveling During Holidays
Since the holidays are a popular time of year for traveling, airline prices also increase during the holiday months. Therefore, the cheapest season for traveling is between major holidays. Many airlines such as British Airways offer cheaper flights after Christmas and New Year's, so travelers may find a good deal on airfare after the major holidays die down.
Not Traveling During Academic Holidays
Airline prices increase during major holidays, but they also increase during periods of academic breaks. For example, traveling to certain regions during academic winter break or spring break may be much more expensive than traveling during other times of the year.
Preparing for an Off-Season Trip
While you save money when booking airline tickets during the low season, you may spend more money in the long-run if you need to cancel your flight, re-book the trip or purchase extra clothing such as boots, ponchos, winter coats or raincoats to accommodate difficult weather conditions. However, given that traveling during the off-season gives travelers the opportunity to save money on airfare and hotels, it may be a risk worth taking.
Before leaving on an off-season vacation, enroll in the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Program, which lets tourists sign up to receive important safety updates before a trip. Additionally, it is important to make note of local medical centers, travel warnings, local laws and customs to prepare you ahead of time. Make sure that your health insurance plan covers you in your travel destination as well. If it does not, it is recommended that you purchase supplemental insurance.