Why you should be traveling off season
Every summer you have that getaway. The one you look forward to, blow good savings on, and reminisce about. And then you settle in for the long winter months where the days are shorter (but feel longer) and the nights are darker. All things considered, it is winter you could really use a break from, not bright, leisurely summer, and yet everyone goes on vacation in the summer. Why not change that?
“But why should I change that?” you may ask.
Here are a few reasons why those bitterly cold, off-season months might be your vacation’s (and your own) new best friend!
- Cheaper flights. Airlines don’t stop working over the winter simply because less people want to travel. They still want to sell those tickets and if you want to buy them, you save BIG bucks on top destinations. You can often save yourself half the typical price or more on airfare if you time it right! This also applies to bus and even train fares.
- Cheaper accommodations. Hotels are open as well and eager to get people in the door! This also applies to AirBNB lodgings, campgrounds and resorts! If you’re willing to head over while others wait for summer, you’ll reap the benefits in savings, with some possible extra perks thrown in for your trouble.
- Cheaper destination experiences. Once you’ve arrived on your discounted flight and checked in to your discounted lodging, your next focus is the experience. And just like in transportation and hospitality, local tourist sites are willing to make it worth your while to get you through the door. Save big on destinations, tours, attractions and even cruises by going during the months when others plan to stay at home.
- Less tourists clogging up the works. With most folks kicking it up at home and waiting for summer, there are less people in your destination of choice. This means:
- Fewer crowds. Nothing spoils your quiet sunset at the beach quite as well as being surrounded by crowds of tourists making noise and playing loud music. Most experiences are better had in smaller groups and there’s no better way to guarantee this for yourself than to go to a location when few other people are.
- Less wait time. Less people means smaller lines as smaller wait times for service, including at restaurants. The less time you have to spend waiting, the more time you can spend kicking back and having fun.
- More authentic experience. With more people traveling than ever, it’s hard to know what a location is like when it is left alone, not mobbed with tourists and their selfie sticks. When you are one of just a few people visiting, you’ll get to see your destination as it was intended.
- More availability. Have you ever been in a situation where you are trying to get that dream cruise, dream hotel room, or dream experience only to see it booked solid, June through September, for the next five years? You’d be surprised how many of those “booked solid” locales have wide open gaps in the winter months that you could take advantage of.
- Better photo ops. Less people means you aren’t fighting to take your commemorative family photos in a contested spot. And that hour-long couples photoshoot right in front of a popular historic landmark? Totally possible now.
- Better interaction with locals. Summers at popular destinations are when locals are having their neighborhoods, favorite haunts and coffee shops taken over by crowds of tourists. This can often leave locals with a bad taste in their mouth as far as travelers are concerned and they’re unlikely to be warmed to your arrival, seeing you as just one more tourist. Traveling to a destination during off season allows you to remove yourself from the local perception of “the invading horde.” This can enable you to have warmer, more personable interactions with locals, who–as many travelers will tell you–are often the hidden gems of any location.
- Unspoiled nature. Nothing breaks up a picturesque view quite like piles of plastic cups and discarded beer bottles. While travelers continue to become more receptive to sustainable traveling and cleaning up after oneself, there is still a good deal of damage done to popular locations just from the sheer numbers of people all in one place in a short amount of time. Arriving in the off season means you won’t be tripping on someone’s discarded beer bottle, or trying desperately to meditate while someone plays volleyball over your head.
- Better flexibility. You’re not rushing to grab those tickets RIGHT NOW, which gives you more wiggle room to leisurely pick your days and experiences. And if you like to travel spontaneously, on the seat of your pants, last-minute options are far more numerous in winter than in summer and you’ll yield better experiences overall.
- Easier to take vacation. If you’re the only one taking time off, your manager is more likely able to grant it than in the summer, when your whole team all wants to go to the beach for the weekend of July 4. You might even be able to negotiate an extra day or two from a grateful boss who knows they’ll be able to count on you in the summer when everyone else is out to pasture.
- Off Season Shopping. When you are one of the few ones to be heading off to a warmer locale, you may have to scroll further but shopping for gear that suits warm weather is often on sale and cheaper during the off season. You can grab great deals on big brands by searching their sale section (see ours here!) and stocking up on inventory from last season.
So before you start calculating how much you’ll have to save to take that getaway this summer, consider a smaller, hold you off until winter vacation, and plan for something much bigger next January. Happy planning and stay warm!