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How to Travel With Kids in the Off-Season

You don't have to wait until summer to take your next family adventure. There is a better—and cheaper—way to see the world with your kids.

School vacations are the high season for family travelers. There is no denying this fact. The slopes are packed in winter, and the beaches are overflowing with tiny swim trunks and bikinis in the summer. It's hard to find a deal over spring break, and all seems lost when it comes to that summer trip to Europe you have been dreaming about. It's time to get real. It's time to start traveling on the off season.

Why you should do it

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Airfare and hotels are historically lower when fewer people are traveling. Hotels are more willing to offer discounts, and you may even be able to save on attractions. Don't look to Disney for these deals as they are always popular, but Europe and Asia can be a steal.

When you should do it

Look to Europe in the winter when most families are heading towards sunnier climates or major US ski destinations. Iceland is a great deal in the winter, and you can see the northern lights. Even traveling to Europe over the Christmas holiday can be cheaper as most Americans stay close to home to be with their extended families.

Asia may be expensive to get to, but once you are on the ground you can save a bundle, thanks to the exchange rate and lower cost of living when it comes to the U.S. dollar. Be mindful of local holidays though. Thailand's lantern festival in November might not be the best time to find a deal, but it is certainly worth the price to get there and be a part of it.

Is it worth it?

Now that you know when and where to travel, is it really worth it? Do you really want to be bundled up in your parka in Europe or would you rather see it in shorts and T-shirts? Ultimately, this is up to you to decide. I find that fewer crowds and getting more of the major attractions all to myself make it worth the extra effort to bundle up the kids as we walk out the door. If the off-season isn't quite your style, look at the shoulder-seasons. Fall and early spring in Europe can be a bit cheaper. The rainy season in Asia will definitely get you deals, but slugging through monsoons will ruin your trip.

Check rates and look at sites like Skyscanner for the best time to book airfare and Trivago to find drops in hotel prices. With both sites you don't need to have specific dates or destinations in mind. My favorite feature on Skyscanner.net is the "Everywhere" option. You will get a list of cities you can get to from your home airport, making it easier to travel on a budget.

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Off-season travel options are endless if you get creative and don't mind risking a few rainy days. You will see fewer crowds, get more bang for your buck in most places and make memories your kids will be talking about for months to come. The only question to ask yourself now is—where will you go?

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Image via Keryn Means

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