As busy working Americans, it can be difficult to tear yourself away from your desk, routines or children’s schedules for a few weeks during the normal calendar year. When all of your variables come into line those one or two times, you often find yourself in the middle of summer heading out for a quick week of R&R before you’re back at your kid’s soccer practice.
The problem is, every other family in America and Europe is thinking the exact same thing and the market knows that. Demand goes up, prices skyrocket, availability goes down and you spend 98% of your vacation finding hotel rooms, booking airplane tickets, mitigating canceled flights, wading through throngs of tourists and chasing after the kids. In the end, you don’t really get any time to relax at all. Admit it, you’ve been there, and you’ve uttered the words “I need a vacation from vacation” before.
What many people don’t realize though is that most of the stress from travel comes from operating at peak times. Think about it: wouldn’t getting through the airport to catch your soon-departing flight be easier if you didn’t have 700 people in the security line in front of you? Couldn’t you spend more on your prawns at dinner if you didn’t get gouged on your plane tickets?
Here at Gadling we’ve compiled a list of top reasons why it’s great to travel OFF-season, while the kids are still in school and while it’s still cold outside.
- It’s cheaper. If nobody is on vacation, demand and prices are both low. One can easily fly from the East Coast to Europe for under 400$ during the winter months, while summer prices can be up in the thousands. Hotels will follow the same formula.
- It’s less crowded. Explore the Vatican or Acropolis at your own pace without getting swallowed by an army of tour groups. It’s amazing what you can take in when you’re not suffocating.
- The weather is probably going to be better. If you’re from the north or east parts of the country, where ever you’re going is probably going to be more temperate than your home during the winter months. Michigan in Feb: 15°. Rome in Feb: 55°.
- Locals are more welcoming. Dealing with tourist after tourist during high season will wear on the local populous. After cooling down a couple of months, wait staff and service people are going to be immensely friendlier.
- It’s safer. If there are fewer people to pickpocket and less of a crowd to disappear into, thieves will be less active.
- It’s less stressful. Keeping your budget straight while keeping track of your belongings and family while navigating through a city are all easier without the crowd and while knowing that you saved a few bucks.
The trick to pulling this all off is to actually come to terms with the fact that you have to take time off of work. Your kids might miss some school too. It’s ok — they’re smart, they’ll make it up. When you experience a vacation free from the hassle of peak travel, you’ll never go back.