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Save on winter travel by vacationing during ‘dead time’

Planning a vacation to a popular destination this winter? You’ll pay less and have smaller crowds if you can travel during “dead time”—the week after New Year’s. That’s when you can slip through the window of affordability that opens after holiday travelers have returned home and closes as school vacations and spring break begin.

Early January is the perfect time to hit winter hot spots like Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. Even though winter is technically high season in those destinations, the drop off during this period prompts many providers to lower their prices. Depending on the provider, you may have a few days to several weeks of lower prices.

Looking at seven-day round-trip flights from Boston to Miami on Hotwire, I found Christmas week flights ranging from $380 to $453. After January 1, the price dropped significantly ($199 to $239) and then went up again during school vacation time in February ($216 to $490). It’s the same with flights from Chicago to Cancun (Christmas, $530 to $846; dead time, $395 to $455; school vacation, $400 to $527).

Hotels may offer discounts or other deals as well. For example, the luxurious Peter Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands has a seven-night-for-the-price-of-five deal through January 31. At Atlantis in the Bahamas, you can save $175 nightly by staying the week after New Year’s instead of Christmas week, and at least $25 nightly by avoiding school vacation time.

(Editor’s Note: is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Hotwire.)

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