There’s nothing good about the end of summer – except of course that the best time to travel starts right now! Everybody likes a good summer vacation, but to be honest, traveling during the peak season can be a drag. After all, you’re not the only one who’s had that idea!
If you’re lucky enough to take time off outside the standard school holidays (sorry, all teachers and travelettes with school-aged children), you should definitely consider taking your next trip during off season! But off season is not just defined by your country’s school holidays – it could also be a country’s wet season or even the time when the country you’re visiting has its school holidays (August is supposedly the best time to visit Paris, when the city is empty due to French school holidays!).
If the words empty and potentially wet have not convinced you yet (who could blame you?) – here are a few more reasons to travel during off season.
1) It’s Budget-friendly
Your travel money will stretch a lot further if you don’t have to pay the infamous peak season supplement. Prices at peak times can double or triple because of high demands, and you might struggle to find accommodation or flights that suit your budget. Local festivals might also have an impact (like the Fringe in Edinburgh during August) – and while you might find OK deals if you book far enough in advance, you could actually save a lot of money by going at a different time of the year.
Even luxury destinations like the Maldives become incredibly affordable during the local wet season (which is conveniently timed with most school/uni holidays), so it’s worth shopping around in your wildest dreams!
2) (Almost) No Crowds
There are some places that are always crowded, but even popular cities like Rome feel nearly empty during November. Plan A is to look up the rainiest month of your destination, book your flights and hope for sunshine.
Plan B is to go for slightly less popular destinations, and you’ll find you might even have the entire place to yourself!
3) See Nature at its Best
The days might be getting shorter and colder (maybe even wetter…), but nature has another ace up its sleeve: fall foliage!
If you can, go somewhere with deciduous trees or larch trees in order to see the change of colors are its best. I loved my road trip around Ontario last year, even though I was a bit too early for the full display, but also in Europe you’ll find loads of areas with vast forests that shine in all colors of the natural spectrum!
4) Land amazing deals!
Prices don’t just drop by single units (like hotel prices or flights), but you will also find great deals for packages combining accommodation and activities (think surf camps or yoga retreats), group tours, rental cars, weekend getaways at hotels that include a few meals in your stay etc. Shop around the end of season sales and see what you can find!
5) You might be forced to be more independent
At the same time, you will find that a lot of activities, tours and attractions will have calmed down after the summer, and maybe even closed for the season.
Traveling in fall can force you to be more independent, put together your own itinerary and dare to create your own activities!
6) No explanations needed!
You went on a city trip and all you did was explore the local coffee house and bar scene? No one will question you when it’s cold outside! Yay for off season travel!
7) Wear your favorite chunky knits
Admitted, packing light gets a bit harder when you have to layer up to resist the falling temperatures and potential rain. But it’s worth the extra bag or kilos, when you finally get to pull out your favorite chunky knits from the back of your closet again! Never get your cute new raincoat? Now is the time!
8) Taste the local fall traditions
You’ve certainly heard about and tasted a pumpkin-spice latte, but do you know what other cultures eat and drink traditionally in this season? Traveling during off season allows you to dive head first into seasonal cultural experiences like Oktoberfest, harvest celebrations and homemade family meals – go and enjoy it!
9) Follow the Sun!
Who said off season travel must involve cold weather and hot beverages? As mentioned above (no. 1) different places have different off seasons. And off season means different temperatures or weather depending on the region you travel to! Why don’t you follow the sun and extend your summer just a little longer?
10) Keep the moods up!
If no. 9 is not an option, well then you might as well miss the sun while you’re on a crazy-cool adventure somewhere other than home! Traveling during off season (and any other time of the year) brings a lot of joy and happiness, and will lift your moods if you’re at risk of falling into winter depression a little bit too soon.
Do you like to travel during off season? Tell us about your favourite fall (or spring) destinations in the comments!