Last post I talked about the importance of the first step in making your dreams come true this year: Committing to Travel. If you missed that post, read about it here. Now that you have committed to your travel dream it is time to start with the details.
2. Set your travel date for the off-season
Obvious, right? I am positive this is not the first time you have heard that traveling off-season or shoulder season can save you money. But when is shoulder season? May and September used to be classified as the shoulder season, but prices are not cheaper during these times. In fact, September is one of my busiest months for travel planning. A boutique hotel I work with in Venice is usually booked for the entire month by this time of year. I now recommend March, April, October and yes even November for anyone traveling on a budget. October has always been my absolute favorite time to travel. During these months you avoid the crowds and the teva wearing backpackers (I was one myself many moons ago). This means less time in line, better seats in restaurants and more time interacting with locals. With the crush of tourist season absent, I find the Italians are even more accommodating. My conversations become more personal, not just because they have to entertain yet another tourist.
The weather will be hit and miss traveling during these months and you should anticipate rain or less than ideal weather. I have traveled in April when it was gorgeous, one October had a hot spell but I have also had rainy June trips. You just can not predict what will happen now matter when you travel. If you are dead set on tank top weather and need to bask on a beach in a bikini to enjoy your trip, then shoulder season is not for you. If you are able to be flexible and prepared, bad weather days can be used to your advantage. They are an excuse to get to know an Italy you might have otherwise missed (I will be publishing an upcoming article, Why I Love Rainy Days in Italy). I had the time of my life in Rome during a late fall trip; bundled up with a scarf and my cute boots I never felt sexier!
The other perk to travel on the off-season is the soft prices at most accommodations. Almost all facilities have discounts for travellers outside of the peak season and smaller family run places are more likely to give you an additional discount that is not published. But you have to ask. I also find that the longer you stay in one location the more likely they are to reduce your price.
Which leads me to Step #3. More to follow.
I love feedback, so leave me comments!
copyright 2014 Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel
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