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November 01, 2021

Is it worth it to travel during off-peak seasons?

To get a good deal, we’re all willing to sacrifice a little.

1305769_tropic_beach_2 We know $1.39 Wendy’s bacon cheeseburgers aren’t great for us, but come on, they’re $1.39. You’d be a sucker not  to buy three. Same goes for items at, say, Costco. In 2010, no one needs 72 AA batteries. But at that price, if you don’t snag ‘em, someone else will.

Ludicrous logic? Sure, maybe. Yet it’s this kind of saving-above-all-else reason that consumers exhibit perhaps most prominently in travel. Though, despite the deals, is it worth it to travel during off-peak seasons?

The people at Currency, the American Express blog site, have done a pretty nice job of outlining the pros and cons to planning your annual vacation – what to expect in price and accommodation during off-peak seasons, and what to expect the rest of the year.

Off-peak seasons, it stands to note, come under a few definitions, but they’re often lumped into two stretches of the calendar: April 15-June 1 and October 1-December 15.

What you’ll get during those time periods isn’t necessarily so clear. Certainly, many Canadians have probably had wonderful, inexpensive vacations during the spring and fall, when much of the rest of the country stays put.

There is cheaper airfare then, not to mention all the things during your trip that’ll be lighter on your wallet: hotels; tourist attractions; in many cases, food and drink.

Yet, how can we measure the detractions to visiting paradise in off-peak seasons? The business world is surely in full swing during off-peak seasons, so if you’re traveling then, for example, it means you’ve got to risk irking your employer by taking time off during times when you might be needed.

Of course, the major drawback to traveling in off-peak times is the weather – no two ways about it. Sure, there aren’t any lines at the Louvre when it’s five degrees and raining outside, and sure, there are plenty of open pool chairs in Vegas when it’s 40,000C and your skin is starting to look like Donatella Versace’s.

But the big picture question, then, becomes this: is it worth? Is sacrificing a little in terms of weather and convenience worth it if it means saving hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars?

Do you travel in off-peak seasons? If so, is it the way to go – if not, how come?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...