10 Reasons to Go on an Off-Season Trip This Year
If you’re an avid traveler, chances are you’ve experienced peak tourist season. Accommodations fill up early, key sights and attractions are packed from dawn till dusk, and there are hundreds of people in the background of all your photos. Traveling during peak season is popular because it’s when most people are off school and work. Plus, the weather is usually ideal.
However, if your schedule is flexible, you can really benefit by traveling during the off-season. In fact, here are some reasons why it pays to go on an off-season trip.
1. Cheaper Accommodations
The main reason why people travel during the off-season is the price of accommodations. Hotels and Airbnbs book up quickly during peak season. This means you’ll be paying the highest-tier prices, even if you aren’t traveling to a major city or tourist location. During the off-season, rates on all accommodations drop by as much as 50 percent.
Just make sure that wherever you’re staying will be fully functional while you’re there. Many large hotels do noisy repairs and maintenance during the off-season.
2. Cheaper Flights
On top of cheaper accommodations, flights are a lot cheaper when traveling during the off-season. Many airlines run great sales to fill seats on their flights. However, you are at the mercy of the airline in this case as these flights often fly mid-week instead of Friday or Saturday. If you can be flexible with your dates, you’ll save tons of money.
Each location has its own off-season. For example, Europe’s off-season is October and November, while summer is the Caribbean’s off-season. So, get into the habit of looking up the off-season for your vacation destination in order to take advantage of these off-season flights.
Just make sure you’re paying attention to the small print. These cheaper may not include regular luxuries such as checked baggage and in-flight meals.
3. Better Airport Experience
When catching a flight during the off-season — or just mid-week — you’re hitting the airport at a much quieter time. Instead of standing around as harried airline staff, security officers, and gate agents try to funnel passengers into huge, overbooked flights, you’ll be able to get to your flight with ease.
4. Popular Locations Are Much Less Busy
One of the main reasons most people travel off-peak is to avoid huge crowds.
Many major tourist attractions, like museums, galleries, and historical sites, only admit a certain number of people per day. So, during the high season, these tickets sell out early. Traveling during the off-season gives you a chance to see some of these sights without having to rush.
Another way to ensure a quieter experience is to visit major sites mid-week rather than on the weekends.
5. Easier to Meet Locals
If you like to meet people when you travel, your chances of meeting someone locally goes down a thousand-fold when traveling during the peak season. In fact, many locals get out of the city and go to regional vacation destinations during the peak travel season.
If you want to have an authentic experience and meet locals, you need to start traveling during the off-season. Locals who live in touristy areas are much more willing to strike up a conversation or help out with directions when you’re the only one asking. It’s also easier to get served at a bar or restaurant when there aren’t a million other people trying to get the same service.
6. More Moderate Temperatures
Many people travel during the peak season because they’ve been told that it’s the only way to experience a certain location. Sure, it’s easier to walk outdoors when the temperatures are mild. However, most forget how exhausting it is to get from place to place when it’s steaming hot outside.
This year, buy yourself some good outdoor gear and travel during the cooler off-season. You don’t need to commit to traveling in northern Europe in January. You can pick dates during the shoulder season. Shoulder season is the time between the high and low seasons when prices come down a bit, but the weather is still mild.
Just make sure to avoid the low season in places where low often means hurricane or monsoon.
7. More Availability for Tours
Many of the best experiences and tours sell out early during the high season.
If you’re interested in getting a spot in a desirable tour or with a well-regarded tour group, you may need to travel during the off-season. Many travel organizations offer fewer tours during this time, so make sure you’re still checking things out well in advance.
If you’re traveling off-peak and find that a lot of tourist organizations are closed for the season, check out the city’s website. Governments want to make sure that businesses receive patronage year-round. As such, many governments have comprehensive listings of local businesses, which makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
8. Enjoy Unique Experiences
Many people make the mistake of thinking that they’re missing out on amazing opportunities if they travel off-peak. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Most tourist sites are open for visitors year-round. So, if you travel off-peak, you can take part in unique experiences that aren’t available during the high season. Instead of visiting Europe in the summer, visit in the winter and see how different countries celebrate the holidays. Visit Alaska during the winter to see the same gorgeous landmarks as you would in the summer, plus the Northern Lights.
Sometimes, the most memorable experiences happen when we least expect them.
9. Better Photos
If you own a nice camera or prioritize taking photos while on vacation, you should definitely travel during the off-season. Instead of having your amazing photos photobombed by other tourists milling around, you can get the fantastic shots that you’ve dreamed about with very little effort.
10. Better Food
Many restaurants in popular tourist locations try and increase their revenue during peak season by offering a fixed-price menu and cycling diners through as fast as possible. You can enjoy more relaxed and authentic meals by traveling during the off-season since restaurants are less busy and don’t need to offer a fixed price or tourist menu. Instead, you’ll get the chance to try local delicacies that typically aren’t offered on the tourist-friendly menu.
Plus, your chances of getting a table at some of the best restaurants in the area go way up in the off-season.