Just a few days ago we had a You, Me and The Dock follower email us wanting some travel advice. It was February 8th and he wanted to schedule a hotel, plane fare and tours for the 19th of the same month. He did manage to find accommodations with one of my recommendations which included plane fare, but he had to increase his budget by 25%. Knowing your seasons can save money and time.
Follow me on this one. If you understand what this individual is requesting, then you can see the immediate problem. As most seasoned travelers know the first of January to the end of March, and possibly the beginning of April is peak season. This is when snowbirds and people wanting to escape the winter weather travel. Spring Break is also just around the corner.
This is where I will begin my “Planning a quick getaway” lesson #101. Many of you know the best times to plan a long or short term trip, vacation and/or getaway. So this will probably not apply to you. However, there are plenty of people out there who are still learning the ropes and need this article to help them along.
The first rule of thumb is to “Know your high, mid and low seasons”. This is very important for several reasons. Depending what time of the year you plan to take your vacation or short getaway, knowing the level of seasons will help you have a successful reprieve from your everyday life. The following information will provide a barometer to help you make an intelligent decision.
First of September – pending Labor Day, to Mid-December
Low season is obviously less crowded, cheaper, and can in most cases be planned weeks out. This particular time of the year is great for Caribbean, tropical and/or island getaways. The cost of getting to them, accommodations and entertainment can be very affordable when working with a budget. These are very popular winter time destinations and will be very crowded during high season.
There are a few things you need to consider when selecting this time period. Depending on the purpose of your getaway, a few attractions aren’t always offered during low season. In some places it still can be quite hot and especially in September and October. You will also be spending time mingling around with the locals. During the off season, locals take advantage of having their towns back. You have to be very patient, respectable and know the customs.
Mid-December to Mid-April
Peak or high season is a favorable time for people who want to dodge the cold weather in their hometowns and cities. You most likely will have to contend with crowds everywhere you go. Especially when dining or enjoying a beverage out, taking a tour or experiencing any of the nearby attractions, and most of all where you are staying. If you are looking to plan a vacation during these particular months, you better begin planning no less than 6 to 8 months out. I personally would recommend you start scheduling your trip 9 to 12 months in advance.
Don’t be discouraged by the crowds. There are plenty of advantages to taking a tropical vacation during high season. It is mostly about the warm weather, the palm tree lined beaches, and the beautiful Caribbean water. However, bring plenty of cash and/or your favorite credit card. It isn’t always cheap traveling where others want to be!
Mid-April to September
Midseason can be a complete toss-up. It involves dealing with hurricane season, summer vacationers – which includes mostly families on summer break, and the exhausting weather that comes with tropical climates. From experience, it can get rather heated south of the border. Places like Mexico, Central & South America, and the Caribbean Islands can get rather hot and humid from May to October. Depending on your health, this is something you need to take into consideration.
However, financially it can be a great time to exercise the value of a dollar. Popular destinations that have grand hotels/resorts, exotic attractions – tours, and restaurant/bars will reduce their prices by as much as 20%. Plane fares are usually lower this time of the year as well. Scheduling a vacation or a getaway on short notice can be a hit or miss proposition. You can sometimes stumble upon a good deal with only a couple of weeks’ notice. But be aware of seemingly great priced deals. They are usually leftovers from places that people don’t want to stay and/or visit. I would suggest to read the reviews and take into consideration that you can’t please everyone.
Planning a vacation is more than just saying, “Hey family, and/or honey, I need a break” kind of itch. There are things you need to understand when you are wanting to get away. It is always easier if you are by yourself or just the two of you. But when a family with children are involved, planning and preparation are highly recommended. Try to schedule your trip as far in advance as possible. This gives you more options on where you would like to be located and selecting your perfect dates. It will also give you something to look forward to on those “Not so good weeks” that occur every once in a while.
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