An affordable off-season destination for cash-strapped travelers

Travel to the Maldives in low season and book a home (Jumeirah Islands Maldives Olhahali)

Spain, Greece, Italy. Rather than following everyone else to your favorites on a seasonal vacation this summer, consider a trip to an off-season game further afield.

You might have to contend with less-than-perfect weather or adjusted flight schedules, but then again you might not – and you’ll find a relatively quiet environment and rates that are usually much lower than those charged during the high season.

If you ever needed an excuse to finally book that once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Indian Ocean, this is it…

The Maldives

    (Maldives Island Jumeirah Olhahali)    (Maldives Island Jumeirah Olhahali)

(Maldives Island Jumeirah Olhahali)

May to November in this stunning Indian Ocean is technically the wet season – but don’t let that put you off. Showers are usually short and sharp, temperatures are still blazing hot, and entire weeks are not known to go by during this period without a drop of rain hitting the paradisical sands. Unlike other tropical destinations you don’t have to worry about pesky mosquitos (most private island resorts splurge for them) and service is still delivered to a great standard, even if some hotels close sometimes for seasonal maintenance . If anything, you might get more jokes because there are fewer guests demanding the staff’s attention.

Offseason win: Visit now and your bank balance will thank you, as couples holidays can often save thousands of pounds per person. For example, from May to July, seven nights in a Water Villa with Pool at Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island costs from £4,555 per person half board, including flights and transfers – that’s a discount of up to £7,455 per couple on peak months.

Bangkok, Thailand

    (Alejandro Cartagena/Unsplash)    (Alejandro Cartagena/Unsplash)

(Alejandro Cartagena/Unsplash)

Travelers can be reluctant to visit the capital of Thailand during the wet season from May to October. But in truth, apart from a particularly soggy September, most of the time showers go quickly, leaving you with plenty of sunny opportunities to soak up the city views. Take in the gilded exterior of the Grand Palace or browse the thousands of stalls at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. You will have to contend with intense heat, but then again with heavily discounted hotel rates – sometimes around 50% – you can check out somewhere swish with plenty of space and hopefully some decent air-con.

Offseason win: The plush five-star Peninsula in Bangkok, which comes with a white-suited belfry, a three-tiered outdoor pool and skyscraping spaces overlooking the city, has rooms that cost from a rather thrifty £296 per night during the months of summer. That’s around £100 less than what you’ll pay between November and January.

Western Cape, South Africa

    (Nenad Gataric / Unsplash)    (Nenad Gataric / Unsplash)

(Nenad Gataric / Unsplash)

During the South African winter – from May to August – many visitors are drawn to the safari reserves, as the cool dry temperatures provide ideal conditions for game viewing. But for much of the rest of the country, it’s low season. In the vibrant cultural capital of Cape Town, famous for its beaches, temperatures in the mid-teens see hotel rates drop; but it’s still a pleasant time for hiking on Table Mountain, taking advantage of the thriving food scene and visiting Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

It’s also a quieter time to take a road trip along the epic Garden Route, a scenic 125-mile coastal drive taking in small towns, nature reserves and whale watching spots. About the famous wine regions of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek? The cellar doors are open for business and offer a much more relaxed scene for tasting than during the busy southern hemisphere summer.

Offseason win: The Lush Babylonstoren hotel in the Cape Winelands, with its white buildings, farm-to-fork cuisine, plush spa and on-site winery, usually has a two- or three-night minimum stay policy through the high-season months — meaning you. you are likely to pay more than £2,000 for your stay. But in July you can book just one indulgent night online for a much more wallet-friendly £500.

Tokyo, Japan

    (Within Japan)    (Within Japan)

(Within Japan)

Compared to the oversubscribed cherry blossom season in the spring and the leaf peak season in the autumn, there is a relative decline in visitor numbers in June and July in Tokyo. Climates can be hot, humid and a bit wet, but what does it really matter when you’re in the city for the culture anyway? Shibuya’s classy department stores – such as high-fashion Parco and classic Isetan – are all incredibly airy, as are great museums (try Yayoi Kusama’s avant-garde and Kengo Kuma-designed Nezu). Meanwhile, with fewer other tourists to compete with you might have an easier time booking in-demand experiences like teamLab Borderless’ immersive digital gallery or a traditional tea ceremony.

Offseason win: During peak cherry blossom season in March and April a 13-night Japan Unmasked small group tour with InsideJapan Tours costs £3,650 per person. But do the same trip in June and July and you’ll pay just £3,310 per person – a saving of almost 10%. inside


    (Tom Jur / Unsplash)    (Tom Jur / Unsplash)

(Tom Jur / Unsplash)

June 1 to November 30 is officially hurricane season in the Caribbean, but that doesn’t mean you should expect a wet break. Some islands, including Barbados, are located off the normal path for storms to pass through – so while you may experience short, sharp showers, you’re less likely to suffer from prolonged or severe weather. Kick back and enjoy the soft blonde sands of the west coast, visit the famous Mount Gay rum distillery and get a reservation at prestigious restaurants such as The Cliff; all without the oversubscribed crowds that descend during the winter months.

Offseason win: Travel in early July with British Airways Holidays and you’ll pay around £1,350 per person for an all-inclusive week at Barbados Beach Club on the South Coast, including flights. But if you want to visit in mid-December, you’ll have to drop more like £1,640 per person instead.

Marrakech, Morocco

    (Paul Macallan/Unsplash)    (Paul Macallan/Unsplash)

(Paul Macallan/Unsplash)

Spring and autumn are often cited as the best times to visit this northern African nation, but in truth, it really comes down to where and what you have on your itinerary. It’s true that temperatures in sun-baked Marrakech can climb to an average high of 36C in the sultry months of July and August – but that can be quite pleasant if your main thing is checking into a luxurious resort and floating by the pool. . Meanwhile, in the rugged Atlas Mountains, temperatures in July and August are usually around 30C, so you can make the most of the excellent hiking trails in the early, cooler mornings. The Essaouira Coast also has very friendly temperatures in summer, but note that it bucks the national trend: thanks to the local beach, August is considered high season here. If you want the coast, try cheaper Casablanca instead, where 25C is about the norm.

Offseason win: Marrakech’s swankiest hotel, The Royal Mansour, charges around £1,030 a night for its stunning Riad-style villa rooms during July and August. But in October the initial rate is usually double that.

New Zealand

    (Ardiss Hutaff/Unsplash)    (Ardiss Hutaff/Unsplash)

(Ardiss Hutaff/Unsplash)

Dreaming of a trip Down Under? If you don’t mind packing a jacket, the best time to visit New Zealand is during the quieter winter months in the southern hemisphere. Be prepared to accept temperatures of around 15C in Auckland and 8C in Queenstown, and you’ll get lower prices, fewer tourists and, in some areas, epic scenery with a dusting of snow in return. The South Island can feel right in winter with its dramatic white-capped mountains – and great skiing and snowboarding if that’s your thing. Meanwhile the milder climates of the North Island provide the perfect setting for trekking, wine tours and visits to hot springs.

Offseason win: Haka Tours has a low-season New Zealand Winter Wonder group tour taking in the highlights of the North and South Island over 20 days, from £3,772 per person in July, including accommodation, some meals and plenty of sightseeing experiences but excluding international flights. . Meanwhile the same journey in the busiest month of September costs from £4,438 per person instead.

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