So, you are planning that once in a lifetime vacation and you are worried about finding good prices, right? Well, the most opportune time for you and your friends/family to go abroad just might be off season. Here are 7 reasons why the real fun isn’t always with the sun and don’t have to do with the cost.
#1: Local Festivities
True, the festival season in Europe does end around mid-September. However, there is a plethora of small, intimate local wine and harvest festivals as well as the cultural and historic ones just waiting for you to discover. These are jam packed with music, history, art, food and local traditions. These events are mainly visited by the locals so it is a great way for you to see REAL Europe and not a tourist filled one.
#2: Fairs and Markets
These are some of the best things to see when vacationing. We know that your friends keep raging on endlessly about the awesome summer they had and the fairs they saw, but more likely than not, the majority there were tourists. Take a look at market day during off-season, and just like the local festivals you read about above, they are populated by the locals this time. You can taste the fresh vegetables, baked goods, and cheesy delights without waiting for an eternity. Sounds good, right?
#3: Room and Directions
One of the biggest buzz kills about high-season travel is that everything is PACKED. One of the benefits about off-season is that the public transportation has only locals. Your train or bus ride will have locals that know where they are going. This means, if you are unfamiliar with the area you can find your way without someone guessing as well as ride in comfort (somewhat) because of the extra room. It also means that hotel rooms and apartment rentals are more available for booking, so it will be easier to find something hat fits for you without the need to settle.
#4: Local Friends
A true benefit of travelling is actually getting to know the land and its populace. Why would someone spend a good chunk of change to hang out with people they can see back home? Adventure is all about getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing life. Part of that is meeting new and exciting people that are not like you culturally. Meeting the locals without 1000 other Americans near you is a blessing. You can learn about their country’s rich history, the off the beaten track places you MUST see, and find some good watering holes that won’t charge the tourist price.
#5: Actually See Places
How many high-season trips have you been on and found that the extra noise and crowds ruin the experience? That many, right? By going off-season not only do you save money, but you save yourself from a bad time. You can actually enjoy the views and historic sites without being pushed off to the side. Are you in Amsterdam this April? GREAT, enjoy the Queen’s Birthday Celebration (Koninginnedag). It is a HUGE street festival all over the city! Or would you rather hike the Alps in October when the weather is beautiful, no kids to annoy you or litter and you can have pleasant conversations with local hikers? Much better, right?
#6: Quiet Time
Perhaps you are not the outdoorsman and prefer the vibrant culture of museums or the famous places instead of the barely known? Then, off-season is the time for you! Who wants to wait 10 hours in line to see the Louvre or the Vatican? We know you do not want to travel just to spend half the time waiting in line. Enjoy your trip, see what you want to see without the hassle of wait times, loud noises or the party animals.
#7: Intimate Experience
This does take proper planning. Make certain you check weather reports because you don’t want to go and be snowed/rained in. Instead of trying to hit the beach in the winter check out some quiet villages in the mountains that are thriving with activity during the winter seasons. Vienna is beautiful and filled with fairs all over the city during Christmas Season. The Easter festival in Budapest is also jam packed with activity that is just waiting for you to experience and picture. Check out different guidebooks or ask your friends about the different holidays and festivals that will make your vacation an intimate experience that you will always cherish. Basically, plan ahead.
Off-season travel is the proper time to truly experience the world. By planning ahead, you can enjoy quiet times that will be filled with memories of seeing what you wanted instead of seeing the backs of people ahead of you. Just make sure that when you go you have proper clothing, know what you want to see, and most importantly, are psyched for your trip!