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Where would you go – if you could go anywhere? Off season travel can open doors to places you’ve just dreamed about. Off season travel can net cheaper flights, discounted hotel rooms and a more intimate exploration of your destination. Cruise lines often offer longer itineraries with more leisurely schedules. With just a little strategic travel planning, you can live large on your next vacation.
Whether you’re heading somewhere cool with blue skies, planning travel off-season allows you to keep more green in your pocket. Avoiding spring break, religious holidays, or big seasonal events, allows you to see destinations at their best, while you save money. Travel guru Rick Steves admits that those who brave the off season are rewarded with a more “European Europe.” Visiting famed locales like Paris, Rome and London during their off-peak or shoulder season, typically January – March and October – November, net smaller price tags and fewer crowds. Even in off season, Santorini, Greece is still the best place to dance the sirtaki.
Stunning in history, architecture and ambiance, Italy never disappoints — or closes. Off season finds the entire country still vibrant, just quieter. Less crowds mean easier accessibility to the city’s cultural gems. High end luxury items, like Florentine leather are cheapest in January. Even if you miss summer green Tuscan hills, you might win Instagram with a picture snow-covered Venetian gondolas.
Ever dreamed of an African safari? The northern Serengeti and Kenya’s Maasai Mara are perfect off-peak choices, often at half-price. Discover magnificent wildlife sightings without the crowds. You might even catch millions of wildebeest and zebra in an unpredictable migration!
Pack appropriately for offseason treks with layered clothing — and an umbrella. Include indoor activities in your itinerary in case of inclement weather, and add travel insurance for extra protection. Check viewing hours of museums and other attractions in case they scale back hours or shut down altogether in off season. Most importantly - plan ahead. Buses, trains, museum tours, and even popular restaurants can be fully booked. Additionally, even tickets to sites like temples, cathedrals, and tours might be hard to come by.
A foggy winter morning in Yellowstone National Park or Santa Barbara, California’s gray whale southern migration qualify as unique off season sights most tourists don’t usually see. Off season travel enables to more intimately discover your destination’s traditions, cultures and the locals. Visit Charleston, South Carolina for an off season oyster roast celebration. Brave Chicago's winter chill at lower priced air and hotel prices for Chicago Restaurant Week. Skiing and lodging becomes affordable in New York’s Finger as well as wide open ski trails in Vail Colorado.
Along the southern Austrian, German and Swiss borders, before ski season starts, you can rent a bike or car and explore alpine fun or pamper at a spa. Off season sees shorter days and moody skies in Ireland where airfare is discounted and you’ll have most famous attractions to yourself. Dramatic light visits the Grand Canyon off-peak which you can view from a mule ride. Restaurants and shops in northern Florida locales like St. Augusta are less crowded. And Iceland’s winter solstice affords magical photos of geysers, waterfalls as well as the incredible Northern Lights, beautifully visible from your place in a snow surrounded hot spring. Off season just might be your season.
These articles present general information and are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice.