When most people plan trips, the majority of travelers (especially in the US) pick three times during the year. These times are spring and summer, as well as the holiday season. This leads to major crowds and steep prices. Hoping to avoid this and more? Here are top reasons you should travel during the off-season.
The off-season (or shoulder season) is an ideal time choose to travel. It’s a great opportunity to visit places that may not be as popular or crowded during other times of the year. On top of that, off-season travel may help make your visit more enjoyable and sustainable by supporting the community in leaner times. Truly, off-season travel is our favorite and we’re here to tell you why you may want to consider the same!
Fewer crowds lead to less expensive, more beneficial trips. You will get better deals on airfare, accommodations and other travel expenses due to fewer travelers overall in these areas during this period of time (typically September through November). You can also enjoy lower prices on accommodations, activities, and food.
For example, we visited the popular skiing destination of Park City, Utah in early September, which is the off-season. We stayed at a lovely mid-range hotel property with a full suite for less than $300 per night. That same room in peak season goes for over $800 per night and is already completely sold out for this year’s ski season, as well as next year’s!
Smaller crowds at popular destinations such as New York City and Italy will allow you to enjoy your vacation without being swamped by people who have come from all over the world just for one weekend in a city with lots of sights to see! Traveling during this period means that you’ll be able to get away from the crowds.
Overtourism is a particular interest of ours and something Jenn studied a lot during her master’s program. While we know sometimes, we might be missing the “best weather of the year” or things like that, we also sleep better at night knowing our off-season trips cut down on this a bit. Off-season travel helps to reduce congestion in popular spots. It helps to reduce the chances damage happening to areas.
Tying in with crowding, off-season travel allows visitors to get better views of key sites. Have you ever tried to take in the beauty of Trevi Fountain in Rome during the height of the summer? Impossible! What about spotting wildlife off the side of the road in Yellowstone National Park? Forget about it! Prime travel season leads to crowding, which leads to difficulties in actually seeing the things you came to the place to see in the first place.
Airports Will Be Less Packed
Airports are insane lately and completely unenjoyable. If you’re like us and want to avoid heavily crowded terminals, congested gates, and long lines, plan to travel during the off-season.
Early in our marriage, we always traveled during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Like millions of other people in the US, we had time off work. For one reason or another, those trips ended up being the worst ones we ever had. Instead, we now travel 1-2 weeks prior to the Christmas holiday. We have since found less crowded airports, faster TSA lines, and a reduction in the negative impacts of flight disruptions.
Driving Will Be Safer
If you’ve ever hit the highways during peak travel times (think major US holidays like Memorial Day or Thanksgiving for example), you know how crowded the roads are. People are also in a hurry to get to their destinations, making for unsafe conditions. Planning a road trip during the off-season means less people.
Plain and simple: off-season travel is a better opportunity to have a more of a positive, and less of a negative, impact on the local economy. There are so many facets to this. Beyond the crowding and income, we’ve already mentioned, think beyond that. What happens to a destinations infrastructure when it is inundated with visitors? There is so much more strain on resources. If you travel during the off-season, you can help lessen this impact.
Traveling during the shoulder season is good for your health, too. You can enjoy more outdoor activities and be active in less crowded areas than during peak times. An additional great perk to this is that popular outdoor areas will experience less wear and tear. This will make you feel better about yourself and increase your happiness levels.
As mentioned above, traveling during post-holiday travel means less stress on the economy as well as less demand on hotels, restaurants and attractions in general. This can help businesses stay afloat during a tough time economically which will benefit all who live in that area or visit it regularly.
Whether you’re traveling for a week, two weeks, or month, in place of or together with tourism, the off-season is the perfect time to see all your favorite travel destinations. You might even discover some new ones that are less overrun by tourists. And since you won’t be in a rush to explore everything on your itinerary, you may spend more time observing and enjoying local culture. Additionally, you’ll likely enjoy lower prices than normal and further reduce your carbon footprint by helping the local economy in a special way. If this sounds appealing to you, it’s never too late to start planning your off-season vacation!