Everyone has that one friend who always seems to be at the most fabulous destinations despite earning paltry sums. If this person isn’t a blogger who gets all her vacations gratis, she’s probably just excellent at hacking her trips to be as cheap as possible. In the latter scenario, one of the best tips for experiencing 1%-level destinations is to visit them at off-peak times. According to Travel + Leisure, the best way to save on the trip of your dreams is to figure out when the hotels will be priced lower than normal—typically, this happens following a major holiday or big event (e.g. the US Open), or when weather isn’t so perfect. This editor once spent weeks in St. Barth’s, for example, in October, when it was quiet but beautiful (and affordable). Here, 24 places you can visit on a budget, this summer and beyond.
Off-Peak Travel Is The Best Hack You Haven't Tried
June, Domestic: San Antonio
If you like Austin, try nearby San Antonio instead to save cash—it's 50% cheaper in June than its trendier neighbor.
TZR-recommended hotel: Hotel Havana
June, International: Beijing
Tourism is low in Beijing in June and the weather is great (think 60 to 80 degrees), so it's an ideal time to visit if you're not into crowds or cold.
TZR-recommended hotel: The Opposite House
July, Domestic: Boston
What's more patriotic than spending the Fourth of July in Boston, the site of several important events of the American Revolution? The weather is great, too, if you're into the 60- to 80-degree range.
TZR-recommended hotel: The Verb
July, International: Sydney
Winter in Australia is basically spring in the US, so it's actually quite a pleasant time to head Down Under.
TZR-recommended hotel: The Old Clare
August, Domestic: New York City
August in New York City is not for the faint of heart, given that the heat and humidity can be pretty intense. Still, the city empties out late in the summer, which makes it more fun for those willing to sweat.
TZR-recommended hotel: AKA Wall Street
August, International: Berlin
Berlin is one of our favorite cities in the world, especially in the summer. Whatever you do, be sure not to miss karaoke in Mauerpark.
TZR-recommended hotel: Soho House
September, Domestic: Orlando
Orlando isn't a place we'd typically recommend to be honest, but if you're a Disney fan, September is apparently the best time to hit this city—the park empties out when summer ends and the (actual) kids go back to school.
TZR-recommended hotel: B Resort & Spa
September, International: Rome
Most Europeans take the month of August off (must be nice, we say from our relative slavery here in the US), so popular tourist spots like Rome empty of EU travelers in September. If you've ever visited Italy, you know it's wise to take advantage of any decrease in visitors, as it's always packed.
TZR-recommended hotel: Casa Cau
October, Domestic: New Orleans
Travel + Leisure recommends spending Halloween in New Orleans, as the last week of the month is the cheapest. We couldn't be more on board with this plan.
TZR-recommended hotel: Catahoula Hotel
November, Domestic: San Francisco
It's no secret that SF is one of the most expensive cities in the US these days. According to Travel + Leisure, the week before Thanksgiving is the cheapest in the city, so if your schedule is flexible, we suggest you take your November holiday early.
TZR-recommended hotel: Hotel Zeppelin
November, International: Rio de Janeiro
Thanksgiving in Rio? Yes, please. This one is just a no-brainer, and we're already planning our 2017 trip. Prices are nearly 40% higher at peak season in December, but temperatures aren't all that different.
TZR-recommended hotel: Mama Shelter
December, Domestic: Las Vegas
Something about spending the holidays in Vegas feels a little dark, but maybe in a fun way. This is the cheapest time of year to play in the city of sin, so if you're up for a little debauchery around Christmas, book now to save up to 60% on your trip.
TZR-recommended hotel: W Las Vegas
December, International: Frankfurt
Christmastime in Frankfurt is a dream, and it just so happens that December is also the cheapest time of year to visit this German city. Four-star hotels are around $100 a night.
TZR-recommended hotel: The Pure
January, Domestic: Los Angeles
Speaking from experience (TZR HQ is located here), the weather in LA in January beats that of just about anywhere in the world.
TZR-recommended hotel: The Line
January, International: Melbourne
Booking Melbourne after the holiday rush means big savings and fewer headaches.
TZR-recommended hotel: The Langham
February, Domestic: Honolulu
Frankly, there isn't a time of year at which we'd choose not to be in Honolulu, but apparently the best deals are to be had in February. Feel free to forward this to your significant other. (Cough, cough, Valentine's Day, cough, cough.)
TZR-recommended hotel: Shoreline
February, International: Hong Kong
Apparently, there are a host of reasons to visit Hong Kong in February. Hotels are cheaper, sales are abundant, and there are myriad events to enjoy (e.g. Chinese New Year and the Spring Lantern Festival).
TZR-recommended hotel: The Mira
March, Domestic: Flagstaff, Arizona
Visit the Grand Canyon and stay for cheap—plus, tourism thins out this time of year, so you'll have the sites to yourself.
TZR-recommended hotel: Little America
March, International: Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is definitely one of our favorite cities in the world, and March is lovely weather-wise (70s and low 80s) and more affordable than the rest of the year.
TZR-recommended hotel: Home Hotel
April, Domestic: Chicago
April in Chicago is a bit of a gamble weather-wise, but at least the worst of the winter will have passed. Book for this time to enjoy lower hotel rates and thinned-out crowds.
TZR-recommended hotel: The Robey
April, International: Copenhagen
The city's busiest season is over by April, and you can get lodging for 38% cheaper than during peak times. If you haven't yet been, we highly recommend you prioritize this trip for 2018 as Copenhagen is a foodie and design-lover's haven.
TZR-recommended hotel: SP34
May, Domestic: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
It's quieter and cheaper than Miami, and this time of year offers near-perfect temps.
TZR-recommended hotel: Sonesta