Budget hacks for 9 popular destinations to visit during the off peak season
To save you the headache and money, here are the best times travel to 9 of the most popular holiday destinations around the world, plus some budget hacks you need to know! We hope you found the below budget hacks useful and learnt a few ways to maximise your savings on a holiday.
1) Bangkok, Thailand
During these months, you can expect good bargains everywhere. Hotel rates are the lowest during this period of the year, and so are prices in shopping malls.
But do bring along an umbrella, as this is also Bangkok’s monsoon season. Rains will be frequent, and due to increased humidity, temperatures can soar as high as 35ºC. However, rainstorms are usually short, and you’ll still be able to catch the sun in the day.
This means it’s a great time to head to Bangkok for a shopping spree! There’s no need to fear the rain since you’ll be spending most of your time indoors at shopping malls such as Platinum Mall, MBK, Siam Paragon or Central World.
2) Bali, Indonesia
The best time to visit Bali has to be the months of April to June, and September. During these periods, Bali is still relatively dry as monsoons only hit from October onwards. Resorts and villas can be up to 50% cheaper than during the peak seasons of July-August, and December-January. Many shops will roll out promotions, while restaurants will be less crowded as well.
*Travel Savings Hack: Bring cash with you. Not only because ATMs aren’t common in Bali, but also because paying in cash means you get to haggle before paying.
3) Penang, Malaysia
Get some better deals at the hotels and hostels in Penang when you visit during the lower peak period between May to October. A word of caution though, there might be rain or even haze due to deforestation activities from neighbouring Sumatra and Borneo. Otherwise, Penang is still the same food haven as we know all year round.
Do note that Penang has a couple of unique state holidays which fall in the lower peak season period. On those days, shops in Penang will be closed and Georgetown might be eerily quiet. Check out the holiday dates and avoid any disappointment whilst visiting Penang.
*Travel Savings Hack: Rent a bike in Georgetown for RM10 and explore the historical town on two-wheels! Cheap and efficient, cycling is really the most practical way to cover Georgetown and all its amazing sights and tastes.
4) Taipei, Taiwan
The months of November through March are a nice time to visit Taipei when temperatures are low. If you are lucky, you may even spot the blooming cherry blossoms in late March.
From August to September, summer comes and Taipei is usually hot and humid with temperatures reaching 35°C. Staying indoors or cooling down with their famous shaved ice desserts will definitely help with the heat.
During that same period, Taiwan observes the Hungry Ghost Festival. Elaborate rituals fill the city and are quite an eye-opener. As Taiwanese generally do not travel during the Hungry Ghost Month, hotel rates tend to be low.
However, do note that Taiwan experiences typhoon activities annually between July to September. Do stay up to date with the weather forecast!
5) Tokyo, Japan
Japan is a travel destination well-loved by tourists all year round, so there might not really be an obvious low-peak season. Although the obvious would be to avoid visiting Japan during spring when cherry blossoms bloom and cover entire streets in pink – super pretty, but insanely crowded.
During late autumn through March though, tourist crowds start to lighten. Japan is exceptionally beautiful in autumn, when the leaves turn red and start to fall.
It is wise, though, to watch out for other peak periods, such as the Golden Week holidays (29 Apr – 5 May), when local tourists from other prefectures flock into Tokyo as well.
*Travel Savings Hack: Get a JR Pass. If you are travelling beyond Tokyo to different cities such as Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, etc. during your trip, getting the JR Pass will save you a lot of money as compared to buying separate tickets.
6) Seoul, South Korea
Seoul has been a popular destination among tourists for years, primarily due to Korean drama and KPOP influences. The metropolitan city is always packed with tourists from all over the world all year round.
There is, however, a sweet pocket of time when crowds are typically smaller, and that’s between September – November. Summer breaks are over, and locals visiting from other provinces return home.
It is also the best season to visit Seoul as the weather is cool. Take a relaxing stroll down Cheonggyecheon stream, and hear the brown foliages whistle against the autumn winds. Most people see Seoul as an expensive city, but we did manage to spend a week in South Korea for within a budget of S$800/pax!
*Travel Savings Hack: Some major underground train stations in Seoul have underground shopping areas, and prices tend to run cheaper than malls or even popular shopping districts like Myeongdong.
7) Melbourne, Australia
The lowest peak season of Australia would have to be during the winter months of June to August. Daylight is short, while berry farms and vineyards close as plants go into dormancy. Melbourne feels like a giant sleepy town during winter, perfect for those who love a relaxing holiday to unwind.
You can still stroll along Melbourne’s beautiful coastal walks at St. Kilda and try to spot some penguins! Or simply enjoy aromatic cuppas at many of Melbourne’s famous cafes. When night falls and the chills set in, warm yourself with a cup of mulled wine at a Winter Night Market.
*Travel Savings Hack: There are many vintage / second-hand shops along Fitzroy Street in Melbourne. Slowly sift through the items and you might score good buys such as pre-loved genuine leather handbags at very low prices!
8) London, UK
Low season is between the months of November to March, and outside of the Christmas holiday period. Airfares and hotel room rates are at their lowest during these times of the year when the weather is cooler, although high chances that London will be shrouded in rain clouds.
Arm yourself with a trusty brolly and hit the Borough Market in London! Besides having a wide array of local produce you can purchase, many shops also give out small bites for sampling.
*Travel Savings Hack: Sign up for free walking tours around the city centre of London, covering major attractions sites such as the Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.
9) Paris, France
Prices for hotel and restaurants tend to creep high when Paris holds major events such as the Film Festival (April), Tour de France (July) and Fashion Week (September). Also, places of attractions such as the Louvre, Château de Versailles and Sacré-Cœur will be packed like sardines during the summer months due to summer break.
So, the best time to visit Paris will hence be during the cooling months of November through March when lines to museums are shorter, and you have fewer photo-bombers in your selfie with the Eiffel Tower.
If you are on a tight budget but want to try an authentic French restaurant, try the Bouillon Chartier. This no-frills restaurant which is loved by locals is also my personal favourite. Mains are around €10, and house wines are as cheap as €2 per bottle.
*Travel Savings Hack: Eating cheap is the one way to maximise savings while travelling in Paris. It’s not difficult to find Middle Eastern eateries in Paris selling big portions of grilled meat at less than €10, great deals for hungry tourists on a budget.
Source Edelyn Chua - thetravelintern.com
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