January, the holidays are over and the cold wind, snow and lack of daylight have many looking for an escape to a warmer climate. Sunshine, beaches and adult beverages with little paper umbrellas are calling. People often say, “I’d like to find a “deal” to some place warm in January.” The “deal” is that January and February are the most popular months for travel to most of the beach locations and for cruises as well. What this means is that they generally don’t have to offer a “deal” because they are already going to be busy during this time of the year. It also means that this is most likely one of the most expensive times to visit, along with holiday times.
If you want a reduced rate to a beach destination, the best time to go is in the low season. Low season is in the summer time. From July to November the weather is generally pleasant in most areas of the United States and indeed Europe, so people aren’t desperately seeking that sunny getaway. This time frame is also what is known as “hurricane season,” which can impact some people’s decisions to cruise or visit certain island nations. Hurricane Season…..cruise……are you crazy? Well, let me assure you, if you are on a cruise and a hurricane develops the cruise line can modify your itinerary to avoid any danger zones. This means that you may miss a visit to one of the magical islands you were hoping to snorkel around, but you may find an even better place to visit that you hadn’t even imagined. Also, many of the beach resorts now offer various insurance programs to protect you in case hurricane causes you to cancel, delay or cut short your stay. Be sure to look into this option before booking, or book with a travel professional who can guide you in your decision.
So, armed with the above information you still decide to go to the beach in January. There are two ways to approach this prospect. The first option is book early, some cruise lines and resorts offer early booking incentives and often airfare is best booked well in advance. The second option is waiting until the last minute and hope for that “deal” you desire. These same hotels and resorts will often offer last-minute deals to sell inventory that is still available near the travel date. Option two is risky. With option two you usually must have a really flexible schedule in order to take advantage of these offers and even though the resort property or cruise is offering a reduced rate, the airlines may not have any low-priced seats still open. Air may not be a problem, if you plan to drive to your destination or have frequent flyer miles that you may be able to use.
Now, the other question becomes, what is a “deal?” The “deal” is in the eye of the beholder, if you are satisfied with the package price, then it is a deal. Please be sure when asking for help from a travel professional to provide your definition of a deal. In other words, provide them with a price range or guideline from which to begin their search. Also, ask yourself this question, at what point does a cheap vacation become a bad vacation. Sometimes carving away at a trip to save money also takes away from the quality of the experience and you will end up disappointed. Beware of this pitfall and you may find the perfect vacation getaway and even the perfect “deal” for you!