In the quiet weeks before the holidays, save 10 percent or more on airfare and lodging. Example: A one-bedroom oceanfront condo at Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation (800-688-7444, www.outrigger.com), on Kauai, costs $495 per night as of mid-December, but is $450 in November, the start of big North Shore waves and the annual humpback migration.
You can find relatively cheap flights to Barcelona this month, then drive three hours to tiny Andorra, a Catalan-speaking, nightlife-loving country in the Pyrenees that's home to some of the best ski bargains in Europe. A five-day pass good at all four major alpine resorts (Ordino Arcals, Pal Arinsal, Pas de la Casa/Grau Roig, and Soldeu el Tarter) costs about $34 per day.
During the soggy season, the upscale Wickaninnish Inn (800-333-4604, www.wickinn.com), on Vancouver Island's west coast, has a winter storm-watching special that includes raingear for damp hikes to the beach, where 35-foot waves pound the coast. Two-night packages for two at this much-lauded Relais & Chteaux inn start at US$480 (down from $743 in summer).
Outside of summer and holidays, Februarythe height of dry seasonis one of the best and least expensive times here. The Travel Collaborative (800-370-7400 ext. 51, www.tvlcoll.com) offers airfare as low as $450 from New York, $200 less than in summer. Guatemala Unlimited (800-733-3350, www.guatemalaunlimited.com) has info on mountain biking, climbing, and rafting.
LanChile fares from the U.S. to Santiago are about 10 percent less than earlier in the season. And since it's the beginning of low season in Patagonia, hotel rates drop before the air temperature does. In mid-March, book a room at the Hostera Mirador del Payne (www.miradordelpayne.com), on an 1894 ranch near Torres del Paine National Park, for $70 per night (down from $112).
At the start of rainy season, wildebeest gather in the Serengeti for their summer migration, and outfitters discount trips for those willing to deal with mud. Born Free Safaris and Tours (800-372-3274, www.bornfreesafaris.com) runs a 13-day April package from New York for $3,000, normally $3,800 in June.
Catch low-season rates at many Montana wilderness lodges up until the river-fishing season starts on the third Saturday in May. Potosi Hot Springs Resort (888-685-1695, www.potosiresort.com), in southwestern Montana, has plush cabins in prime hiking, rafting, and hot-springs territory that rent for $200 for two people in early May but shoot up to $330 by month's end.
Most Europeans hit this Italian island in August. But get here in June, when temps average a blissful 80 degrees, and you'll have the hiking trails, dive spots, and white-sand beaches to yourself. Nab a roomy two-bedroom, two-bath home overlooking the ocean for $1,628 in June, down from the August rate of $2,147 per week (800-726-6702, www.rentvillas.com).
JUL=U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
Summer low season here is when the diving off St. Croix is typically at its best (calmer weather, clearer water), and hotels often cost 20 percent less than in the winter high season. At the beachfront Buccaneer resort (800-255-3881, www.thebuccaneer.com), on St. Croix, doubles that start at $215 per night in the summer cost $295 and up in the winter.
Late winter in southern Australia is cool, comfortable, and off-peak, perfect for trekking or cycling on land, while the diving waters near Queensland's Great Barrier Reef are calm and clear. Qantas (800-227-4500, www.qantas.com) offers two-week trips to Sydney, Kangaroo Island, and the GBR that start at US$1,799 in late August. Cost of the same trip jumps to $2,139 in December.
Flights from Quito, Ecuador, to the Galápagos cost about 15 percent less during the mid-September-to-November low season, and you'll still catch the end of seabird nesting season. This year, Adventure Life (800-344-6118, www.adventure-life.com) offers eight- to ten-day yacht cruises at 20 percent off, like a ten-day luxury sailing trip for $2,175, down from the normal $2,595.
It's the tail end of rainy season, but big waves still rock the surf town of Puerto Escondido, and mornings are delightfully clear. Grab a double at the Hotel Santa Fe (for reservations, 011-52-954-582-2030, www.puertoconnection.com) for $72, about two-thirds of the $103 November rate.