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Have Gaudi All to Yourself
Every year, issues a "value travel forecast" that lists popular destinations with the cheapest time to travel. For December 2011, the site predicts that you'll get the most bang for your buck in Barcelona, where you should be able to find a three-star hotel room for 36 percent less than you'd pay during peak travel periods. If you visit during the winter holidays, you'll avoid bumping into backpackers in the Sagrada Familia and overhearing English at every tapas bar. The weather tends to hover in the mid-50s and is generally sunny so you'll be able to stroll through Gaudi's fantastical Parc Güell without worrying about frostbite. Peter Greenberg points out that for Barcelona as well as other international destinations, the best deals on flights can be found during the industry "dead weeks" that fall during late November and early January. "After Thanksgiving, folks are recovering from that dysfunctional family get-together, and after New Year's...well, they're just recovering," he says. "You'll see dozens of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with airfares dropping more than 43 percent across the board."
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