Why travel off-season?
For most people, traveling is something that happens during the holidays—when everyone gets time off school, work, and other commitments to spend a week or two at a popular destination.
But for those that are lucky enough to have time and availability to travel without the packs, off-season travel should absolutely be your go-to. Also known as shoulder season, traveling during slow or non-peak months can lead to money savings, reduced crowds, and a more authentic experience.
Added bonus: When traveling off season, you’ll be treasured by those in travel and hospitality—especially small businesses, who are grateful for your patronage when business is slow. You are contributing to their well-being as well as that of the local community. Win-win for everyone!
Off-season places to consider
A perfect example of an off-season travel destination is Iceland. One of their main sources of revenue is travel, and during the warm summer months the prices for popular activities, rentals, and hotels can double. In the off-season, flights are extremely affordable! It’s also the best time to see the Northern Lights. You have the chance to enjoy the natural beauty of the destination without being followed around by other tourists and tour groups. Plus, the wintery glow creates an ethereal, magical experience.
You can also save money by picking a sustainable travel destination such as an eco-tour in South Africa. Visiting in September means less crowds, lower prices, and more chances to see wildlife in the dry season.
Traveling to Italy off-season allows you to experience the local culture in a more authentic way. Rather than being surrounded by tourists, you are more likely to experience life alongside local residents. You won’t have to wait in long lines, and you can walk freely through the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Pure heaven!
A few things to keep in mind
There are a few negatives to traveling in the shoulder season, but these all depend on your perspective of a “negative”! Visiting in the cooler months can mean more rain, wind, or snow, depending on your destination of choice. Low season in Bali or Thailand can mean tropical downpours. But visit in June and you get minimal rain and peaceful surroundings about a month before the majority of the tourists arrive in July.
In towns and areas that thrive on tourism, it can also mean that some destinations close for the season. This is common in seasonal travel spots like the Rocky Mountains, where hiking trails and roads close in the winter but ski slopes open up.
If you travel in the off season, you also need to be mindful of flight patterns. Certain airlines fly to destinations only a few months out of the year. But you can capitalize on budget-friendly flights and perhaps an empty seat or two next to you on the plane!
Traveling off season is a wonderful way to satisfy your wanderlust AND enjoy the world in a more unique and affordable fashion. Please comment below with your favorite places for off-season travel, we’d love your recommendations!