By Ashley Grimaldo
It’s cold in the Northern Hemisphere and the last thing on your mind is horizontal travel. But don’t let a few north winds keep you from taking advantage of stellar travel deals. The following destinations are in their low season right now for several obvious reasons, but pack your coat and get going! Fares, excursions, and hotels are discounted up to 70 percent off for the following travel destinations.
1. New York
Everyone wanted to be in New York during December to see the big, lighted tree in Rockefeller Plaza. But now that caroling has died and winter has dug its heels in more this month, you won’t find New York hotels or activities any cheaper than they are right now. And the best news is for Broadway aficionados–tickets are easy to come by and cost much less than in the spring or summer. Hotels aren’t necessarily discounted, but you won’t have a hard time finding a place. Want amazing food on the cheap? January 24-February 6 is NYC’s Restaurant Week where patrons can score a delicious 3-course lunch for just $24.07 at over 300 locations. And grab a bike ride through Central Park for pennies!
2. San Francisco
Temperatures are still cool to mild during the off-season winter months in California, but as a result of the low tourism traffic you’ll get the full run of local wineries. The San Francisco Ballet is in full production mode, so ask your hotel about scoring tickets. Look for far cheaper airfare as well this time of year.
3. Washington, D.C.
While the U.S. capitol gets much colder in January, it isn’t usually a biting cold like cities farther north. Yes, D.C. has its fair share of snow storms, but most attractions that lure visitors to the city are indoors. From the Capitol Building and the White House to the International Spy Museum and the National Museum of Natural History, most of what you want to see in D.C. is climate controlled. Check out great last minute package combinations, including dining deals and spa extras, during this winter lull.
Dear, dreary London lies under a shroud of gray during the winter and sunlight only lasts until about 4 p.m. But, this otherwise cost-prohibitive destination has easy and cheap options after December. Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airlines offer stellar travel deals for flights and otherwise tourist-swarming attractions are empty. Many national museums charge no entrance fees and the streets themselves teem with history. The pound has devalued a bit over the last several months making it not quite as prohibitive, but plan to spend. Look to package deals to bundle savings for air and hotel.
While I hate to take advantage of a dumpy economy as motivation for travel, Dublin’s current crisis creates a unique opportunity to see the Emerald Isle on a dime. Add to it a visit in the winter and you’ll snag deals $100s off from in-season prices. Most outdoor attractions are accessible year-round, but pack several varieties of cold-weather clothing, including a rain jacket. Even sightsee with a tour guide for basement prices.
Don’t let a recent coup scare you away from enjoying a true Central American gem! The National Travel Advisory lists no current travel warnings for visitors since the elections last year. Honduras brims with rich scenery, stunning beaches and friendly locals. Since the rainy season is over, tourists can enjoy every facet of Caribbean beauty without the price tag. Much of the country can be seen in just two weeks, but make it a point to spending time on Lake Atitlan. One of the most stunning lakes in the world, Atitlan’s crystal blue waters lie at the base of picturesque mountains, enveloped by quaint towns.
7. Disney World
Cheap is relative when speaking of things Disney-related. Unless you outright win a vacation to Disney World (and don’t have to pay taxes for it either) a trip to this child mecca will always cost at least one kidney. But, if you have saved up to go, now is the very best time according to Disney’s Intercot information tracking. Kids are back in school and most parents are in full New Year’s resolution financial-crunch mode. There’s no need to stay on the resort as most hotels in the area offer free shuttle service to the theme parks.
8. Hong Kong
With no threat of typhoons and a mild winter, Hong Kong is a welcome venue for visitors in January. Check out amazing views at Victoria Harbor before heading up on the Peak Tram for fabulous vistas of the city. Be forewarned that even though tourist traffic is down this time of year, Hong Kong is a compact city with over 7 million people. Expect to wait.
With tourist-friendly locals, amazing beaches and hotels ranging in the $40-50/night, Thailand pretty much sells itself. Especially so in January, when rates are at all-time low. The rainy season is over, but tourists haven’t started pouring in yet. Your buck stretches a long way in Thailand and food is top-rate. Don’t forget to hit the beaches as it is still warm enough to enjoy the sand and surf.
Find more of Ashley’s frugal living articles on the FreeShipping.com Frugal Living blog.