My gut reaction when planning a trip used to be to research the best time to visit a destination then try to plan a trip during that time. And sometimes that’s a great idea, especially if specific weather or events are important to me.
But I’ve learned that while traveling during recommended times might ensure the balmiest weather, it also might rob you of some great perks! Consider the following advantages that off-season travel can provide:
Bang for your buck
Traveling off season is one of the best ways to save money on flights, lodging, and even food and activities. We went to Bali, Indonesia during the rainy season and we planned the trip then because everything was much cheaper than it would have been during peak travel season.
In fact, most of our vacations are off-season because that’s when we find the best plane ticket prices. That’s why we went to Bergen, Norway and Gdansk, Poland in the middle of February! It’s also why we went on our first cruise in January.
And you know what, I don’t regret any of them.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t travel when you want to, like during your kids’ school breaks. You just might choose different destinations during those times.
If you are watching your budget, I highly recommend off-season travel.
Smaller crowds and a more authentic experience
If we ever go back to Ubud or Bergen or Gdansk in the summer I might not even recognize them! When we were there the streets were often almost empty and we rarely ran into other tourists. We felt like we mingled with the locals and saw them going about their every-day lives. From pictures I’ve seen, the dynamic in those and many other cities is totally different during tourist season.
If you love the heat, this may not be a perk for you, but I really don’t like to be hot and sticky. I’d much rather wear a jacket and have a chill in the air.
When we travel to Hawaii in the rainy season, the days that rain are sometimes our favorite because they are so refreshing. And in Bali, we loved the rain! The daily downpours were one of the things that made our trip so exotic and memorable. If we were there during summer we would have missed out on seeing the river in the street and the waterfall down the steps of the restaurant during out outdoor lunch.
What other perks have you found make off-season travel a great option?