Perfect timing

I’m playing around the with idea of a trip. Oh, who am I kidding — I’m always playing around with the idea of a trip, even if it’s just a weekend getaway. But I’ve been thinking seriously about heading to India this year. I’m thinking I’ll have to wait until October though — Summer is Monsoon season and right now it’s super-hot season.

The point I’m getting at here is how to figure out the timing of your vacation. Being from Canada, a place where there’s a very small window of tolerable weather, I’m usually quite careful about making sure that when I take a big trip, I make sure to visit that country during it’s nicest season. But I think we Canadians sometimes assume that if a country doesn’t have snow, it’s nice to visit any time of year–an assumption that lead me to Thailand during monsoon season (good thing I like dancing the rain) and to Greece with nary a sweater in spring (nights can get damn cold there!)

MSNBC recently did an article on timing your vacation well. Their tips?

  • Don’t go when the locals are heading out. Because there’s a reason they’re leaving.
  • If you’re trying to save money, don’t go during low season — opt for shoulder season instead. It’s worth it.
  • Seasons can change between ZIP codes, so do your research on that exact spot.

Want to know more? Click here.

Tourist and Rude-Tourist Prices

One thing that I never get used to about travelling is the ever-changing prices. Here in North America, prices are clearly outlined everywhere — on signs, price tags, ads. They typically stay the same throughout the year. But almost everyone I’ve travelled to outside of North America has a special kind of pricing — I call it “I charge what I feel like charging” pricing.”

Vendors often don’t post their pricing; they eye you up before they figure out what they’re going to charge. This is both good and bad — on one hand, it allows you to barter with the vendor, but on the other hand, it usually means you’re getting ripped off, just by virtue of being a foreigner. Prices also vary by season. Summer prices can be double what you would be paying if you went a few months before or after.

Truth be told, it’s quite common for prices of food, accommodation and souvenirs to be raised drastically according to not only the season but where you’re from. But here’s an instance of seasonal prices being taken to whole new level — Merchants in Venice are charging 3 different prices: Low (for locals), High (for tourists) and super-high (for rude tourists.)

I think this is amusing (certainly nobody in Canada would have the gall to charge rude people more) but actually, I kind of like the idea. There’s nothing more annoying than the ignorant tourist who goes to another country to do little more than act like a jerk and insist that everyone speak English to him. He makes everyone else look bad. Word to the wise: when you’re a guest in someone else’s country, the least you can do is maintain some sort of polite dignity for the language and customs, and if you can’t do that much, perhaps you deserve to get treated less hospitably.

(via Intelligent Traveler)