Does the harsh winter weather have you dreaming off exotic, far-off destinations? You’re not alone. Although many people equate vacationing with summertime, exploring new places is by no means limited to June – August. In fact, with the majority of people cramming their vacations into that short time frame, many travelers complain of overcrowding, blistering heat, and inflated prices – so much for a fun vacation!
Fortunately, there’s a simple alternative to vacationing as we know it that doesn’t involve you hibernating throughout the winter: off-season travel. If you’re not familiar with this vacation phenomenon, you’re in for a treat.
Just imagine that you could finally travel to that place you’ve always wanted to go but could never afford. A place you can truly enjoy without getting clamored by tourists. A place where you can roam comfortably in a light jacket, free from stifling heat. While you may have to make some small concessions – such as swapping your flip flops for close-toed shoes – the rewards you’ll reap can far outweigh any minor sacrifices you’ll have to make. If this sounds like an appealing alternative, then off-season travel just may be your new favorite way to travel.
Save on Airfare
One of the greatest benefits of off-season travel is inarguably cheaper prices. Airfare, in particular, tends to be significantly less expensive in the off-season because there are fewer people flying. If, for example, you’re dreaming of what would normally be a prohibitively expensive European vacation, why not consider visiting in the in-between months? With all the money you’ll save on a flight, you could probably afford to splurge a bit and fly first class!
Enjoy Luxury Accommodations for a Fraction of the Cost
If you fantasize about staying in luxury hotels but your bank account says otherwise, off-season travel could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Since hotels have a tougher time filling rooms in the off-season, rates tend to drop pretty significantly, meaning you can enjoy an incredible room in a dream destination that would normally be off-limits during the summer months. You’ll also have greater bargaining power in the off-season, as opposed to the high season where prices are fixed and availability is competitive.
With the money you’ll save on flights and accommodations in the off-season, you’ll have greater flexibility in your budget to make the most of your trip. This is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to something you might not normally have the ability to do, such as a spa treatment, a room upgrade, or a fun excursion. Chances are, those good rates won’t last, so why not take advantage of them while you still can?
Skip the Crowds
It’s no surprise that the most desirable destinations become prohibitively crowded in the high season, with everyone after a piece of that paradise pie. So if you’ve ever had the experience of an expensive vacation ruined by throngs of tourists, you’re not alone.
Fortunately, off-season travel affords you the opportunity to have your travel – and enjoy it, too. With less people traveling during late fall – early spring, you can enjoy a variety of attractions without being swarmed by crowds, waiting in endless lines, or taking the risk that your most desired attractions will sell out. There’s also the off-hand chance that you can enjoy some incredible last minute deals that you’d never be able to get during the busier season.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
While weather can always be somewhat unpredictable, the off-season tends to offer more comfortable, manageable weather than the middle of the high season when most people are away on vacation. So if you’re not a summer enthusiast, you tend to burn easily, or you simply can’t handle heat and humidity, off-season travel presents a very attractive alternative. In addition to enjoying your travels in a more moderate climate, you can wander freely without needing to constantly reapply sunscreen or seek the nearest frozen lemonade vendor.
Although you won’t likely opt for a swim outdoors in the off-season, having the ability to walk around comfortably just may make up for colder water. Plus, you can always enjoy the beauty of a beach from a boardwalk or a lookout point without needing to swim. If you’re still in need of that water fix, indoor pools are always a viable option to consider instead.
Experience Nature at its Finest
Tired of experiencing nothing but sticky summer heat on your vacation? Then you just may be ready for some shoulder season travel. The transitional seasons of spring and fall are two of the most beautiful times to travel, particularly for nature enthusiasts. In springtime, you’ll enjoy flowers in bloom, comfortable weather, and longer daylight hours. Fall offers its own unique beauty, with beautiful foliage and crisp air.
Socialize with the Locals
One of the most interesting aspects of traveling is meeting the locals who live where you’re visiting all year round. That said, getting to the true heart of your destination is much more difficult to do during the high season when tourists are rampant. So if the only people you ever meet on your travels are tourists and guides, chances are you’re missing out on the full experience of your destination. Fortunately, the off-season presents many more opportunities to converse with the locals and get the inside scoop on some of the area’s must-see places.
If you’re ready to see more of the world for less, avoid crazy crowds, and immerse yourself into the true culture of your destination outside of the tourist scene, off-season travel just may be your golden ticket. After all, it’s a big world out there, so why wait until summer to see it all? Here’s to safe, happy travels no matter what the season!