One of the advantages of retirement is the flexibility to travel when you want to. If saving money is important to you, it makes sense to plan your travel when demand is low. That’s because hotels and airlines figured out long ago that the best way to turn a profit is to do everything possible to minimize vacancies, even if it means drastic rate reductions.

According to FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney, there are two periods of low demand each year that U.S. travelers can count on for lower than normal fares:1

  1. The first couple weeks in December
  2. The last three weeks in January through early February

While Seaney’s conclusion is based on a yearly analysis of airfares, the logic also applies to other elements of travel such as hotels, rental cars, restaurants and attractions. Other times of year known for good travel deals include the few weeks preceding summer break from school and the first few weeks in the fall when school resumes.


Of course, these rules of thumb do not apply in every situation. The cost of travel to notoriously warm locales such as Las Vegas may not drop as much in mid-January as it might for a trip to Nashville. And although some destinations lose popularity in the fall, it’s a time of high demand (and prices) for many parts of New England due to the popularity of leaf peeping.

For the conscientious consumer, great travel deals can be found other times of year too. Case in point: hotels in Colorado and Utah drop their prices significantly from the time ski resorts close in late April until summer travel picks up. Likewise, many Arizona resorts slash rates during the summer months.

If you’ve been waiting for retirement to do more traveling, your time has come. By strategically planning your travel to take advantage of low demand periods, you can go where you want and save money in the process.

1USA Today Airfare Expert: The cheapest time of year to fly http://usat.ly/1hCp63g

Tell us: What money saving travel secrets have you uncovered?