The best times to travel 2023

Published by: BouncePosted

We all have a list of destinations on our travel bucket list, whether cheap and cheerful cities like Prague or Lisbon or somewhere more luxurious like Dubai or New York City.

Hidden costs can stack up fast, no matter where you travel, so securing the best hotel deal is essential. Many factors can affect the price of a hotel, including the month or day you choose to travel. You can even pay twenty times more in a specific month for some destinations!

Last year, we looked at the average hotel prices for the world’s top travel destinations to discover the best times to travel for 2022. We’ve refreshed the data to find out how things currently stand.

We found the cheapest and most expensive month and day to book for each destination. We then analysed this to see which months and days are most commonly the cheapest and most expensive.

The cheapest months to travel

There are clear seasonal trends when it comes to travel costs. January is the cheapest month in 15 different cities. February is close behind, being the cheapest in 12 different cities.

Most destinations are the cheapest during winter and more expensive in summer, reflecting the demand patterns of most tourists.

January is the cheapest month most often, being the most affordable time for 15 destinations, including London, Amsterdam, and Berlin.

February is the cheapest month for 12 destinations, including New York City, Paris, and  Milan, showing that the post-Christmas winter season is the most affordable time to travel.

January was also the cheapest month in 2022, the cheapest time to visit 19 destinations. This was followed by May and July (7 destinations), which were third and fourth this year.

The most expensive months to travel

However, it’s interesting to note that winter and autumn are the most expensive in many cities. This is likely due to the seasonal differences in different parts of the world.

For example, September and December are the most expensive months in 12 destinations, more than any other month. December is the peak for Asian cities like Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Dubai, which are popular winter vacation spots.

September is the most expensive month for European destinations like Heraklion and Athens in Greece, as well as Lisbon and Barcelona.

In last year’s analysis, it was a different picture, with July being the most expensive month (in 11 destinations), followed by May in 10 destinations.

The cheapest days to travel

Contrary to popular belief, the data shows that Saturday is the cheapest day to stay in 17 cities, including Las Vegas, Dublin, and Milan. This could be due to various factors, including lower demand for weekend business travel. This was also the most common cheapest day when we analyzed 2022.

Three days, Sunday, Friday and Monday, are tied in second, with each being the cheapest day for 10 different cities. For example, Sunday is the cheapest day in Prague and Amsterdam, Friday is if you’re staying in Barcelona and Rome, and Monday is for Singapore and Miami.

The most expensive days to travel

On the other hand, Tuesday is the most common day to be the most expensive. This was the case in 15 destinations worldwide, such as Madrid, London, and Paris. Again, this could be due to business travel.

Monday was the second most common day to be most expensive, in cities such as Barcelona, Berlin and Sydney.

However, the most expensive day varies significantly by city, with no major trend. This suggests that there are different factors at play in each city.

While the data for 2022 similarly showed no clear trend, the main difference was that Friday was the most expensive day.

The destinations with the highest possible hotel savings by month

We’ve also examined which cities have the most significant differences between their most expensive month and their cheapest, offering the best potential savings.

1. Malé, Maldives (85.0%)
This idyllic destination experiences the highest price drop, with an 85.0% decrease in price from January to August. Malé, as the gateway to the Maldives' stunning islands, sees its peak season in January due to the perfect weather for beach holidays. The dramatic price difference reflects the high demand for luxury resorts and overwater bungalows, iconic to the Maldives. August, the off-peak season with a higher likelihood of rain, sees much lower prices.

2. Heraklion, Greece (77.5%)
Known as the capital of Crete, Heraklion sees a 77.5% decrease in hotel prices from September to November. The lower prices in November can be attributed to the end of the busy summer season, with cooler temperatures and fewer tourists. Still warm and pleasant, September is popular for travelers seeking a less crowded experience than the peak summer months, hence the higher prices.

3. Cairo, Egypt (76.6%)
Cairo's hotel prices drop by 76.6% from February to July. July is typically hot, deterring some tourists, which leads to lower hotel prices. Conversely, February falls within the more comfortable winter season, attracting visitors to enjoy Cairo's rich history and culture, including the nearby Pyramids of Giza, without the extreme heat.

The destinations with the lowest possible hotel savings by month

1. Las Vegas, United States (11.5%)
Known for its vibrant nightlife and casinos, Las Vegas shows a modest 11.5% decrease in hotel prices from April to July. This smaller variation can be attributed to the city's appeal as a year-round destination, with its indoor entertainment and activities making it less dependent on seasonal weather changes.

2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (12.6%)
The capital city of Malaysia experiences a 12.6% decrease from December to November. Kuala Lumpur's tropical rainforest climate results in pretty consistent temperatures and weather patterns throughout the year, which could explain the minimal fluctuation in hotel pricing. Its blend of cultural attractions and modern amenities keeps the city attractive to tourists all year round.

3. Los Angeles, United States (16.7%)
Prices in Los Angeles only decrease by 16.7% between June and December. Los Angeles benefits from a favorable climate throughout the year, making it a popular destination regardless of the season. Its mild winters and warm summers attract tourists continuously.

The destinations with the highest possible hotel savings by day

1. Agra, India (81.9%)
Agra tops the list with a massive 81.9% price drop, with accommodation costs dropping from $331 on a Friday to $60 on a Sunday. This stark difference can be attributed to the influx of weekend tourists, both domestic and international, flocking to see the iconic Taj Mahal. Fridays, in particular, see higher rates due to increased demand, as many travelers prefer starting their weekend getaway with a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage site.

2. Malé, Maldives (80.6%)
Malé witnesses an 80.6% price drop, from $2,202 on a Saturday to $428 on a Friday. The capital city of the Maldives, Malé serves as the primary gateway to the country's famed islands and luxury resorts. The significant price jump reflects the high demand for exclusive overwater villas and beachfront properties, especially on Saturdays when most tourists begin their dream vacations in this tropical paradise.

3. Chiang Mai, Thailand (70.9%)
In Chiang Mai, hotel costs drop by 70.9%, from $182 on a Tuesday to $53 on a Friday. Chiang Mai, known for its rich cultural heritage and beautiful temples, experiences this price variation due to fluctuations in tourist arrivals. While weekends are generally more affordable due to domestic travel, prices escalate during the week when international tourists, particularly those on organized tours, arrive in more significant numbers.

The destinations with the lowest possible hotel savings by day

1. Singapore (12.5%)
With a 12.5% drop in hotel prices from Sunday to Monday, Singapore shows the least variation among the listed cities. This stability could be due to Singapore's role as a central business hub and a popular year-round tourist destination. Its consistent pricing suggests a steady demand from business travelers and tourists, balancing out fluctuations that might be seen in more seasonally affected destinations.

2. Mumbai, India (12.6%)
Mumbai experiences a 12.6% price drop, from $174 on a Monday to $152 on a Saturday. As India's major commercial and entertainment center, Mumbai's relatively stable pricing could be attributed to a consistent influx of business travelers and tourists. The city's diverse attractions, including Bollywood, historic sites, and a vibrant cultural scene, contribute to a steady demand throughout the week.

3. Miami, United States (13.9%)
There's a 13.9% drop in hotel costs from Thursday to Monday in Miami. This minimal fluctuation can be linked to Miami's leisure and business destination appeal. The city's famous beaches, nightlife, and art scene attract tourists year-round. At the same time, its status as a business center ensures a steady flow of corporate visitors, leading to more uniform pricing.

Methodology

Bounce wanted to find the cheapest and most expensive times to visit the world’s top tourist destinations. A list of 70 tourist destinations was compiled using lists from Wikipedia and Forbes.

Using Kayak, the average daily hotel cost by month of the year and day of the week was sourced for each location and is correct as of 16/11/2023.

Using this information, we calculated the difference in average price between a nightly stay at a 3-star hotel in the cheapest and most expensive month of the year. We repeated this for days of the week.

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