I'm a self-confessed travel hacker who loves to save money wherever possible. These tips are very handy if you can't avoid travelling during peak season.
Travelling in the high season might not seem like a good idea: flights and accommodation is much more expensive, venues are crowded and some attractions are more difficult to get tickets to so it’s good to pick the right time of year to travel. But sometimes, a high season trip is unavoidable, whether it’s because of the kids’ school holidays or a family obligations over Christmas. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to save money if you’re travelling at a busy time of year.
1. Book as far ahead as possible
It might be tempting to wait and see if prices will go down, but the chances of that happening are pretty small: it’s called high season for a reason. Instead, they often just keep going up the closer you get to leaving. Book your tickets as soon as you can to get the best deal.
2. Consider alternate accommodation
There are lots of different accommodation options when you’re travelling and in high season, you should consider all of them. Think about camping if it’s an option. Stay with family or friends if you can. Airbnb and couch surfing are also worth looking at. Don’t be afraid to ask: if you’re visiting family who doesn’t have room for you, ask if they have any friends who are heading away for the holidays who might like to make a bit of extra cash by having you stay.
3. Stay away from hotspots
Even in high season, there are places that are far more popular than others. Do your research ahead of time and find out if there are better options nearby: sometimes, staying a few kilometers away can mean hundreds of dollars difference.
4. Be flexible with dates
By shifting one of your flights into the “shoulder season”, you can save hundreds of dollars for what can sometimes be just a few days difference. If you have the flexibility, consider leaving earlier or returning later to save some serious money.
5. Consider an unusual destination
If you must travel at a busy time of year such as Christmas but don’t have a destination in mind, consider going somewhere that’s not normally associated with holiday travel. China can be a great place to visit over the Christmas season, Australia’s Northern Territory great in July/August, and Los Angeles is a good bet any time of year.
It’s recommended to take out travel insurance if you are travelling overseas or domestically.
Robert, a California-based travel writer and a lover of world cultures, languages, souls, food, oceans, wild spaces and urban places by nature.