The first time I realized the awesomeness of traveling in the off-season, I was sitting in one of our favorite restaurants in Florence and started perusing the menu. I had been to this restaurant multiple times a week for 5 months, but this time I was thrown off. The prices were higher and the options were fewer. I also noticed that my free wine didn’t flow as freely, and the owner didn’t have time to stop by to say hello.
Tourist season had officially begun.
I love to travel, and especially love when my travel comes at a discount, so that I can travel more. I almost always travel in the off season now and love it (Compare rates before going on your next trip). Here are the reasons you should travel in the off season for your next trip:
The airfare is cheaper.
When more people are wanting to fly, the prices are naturally higher. I didn’t know this was a huge difference until I spent twice as much to fly to Los Angeles one summer than I did the previous fall. I’ve also found that buying a ticket 45 days in advance is cheaper than looking earlier. It’s how we got a ticket to Croatia for $650 round trip (Also if you’re wanting to go to Croatia, I have some great tips before you go!).
There are less people.
Whenever I go to a new place, I try not to look like a tourist. By tourist, I mean the stereotypical person that stands in the way taking photos or refuses to try any local cuisine. During peak travel seasons it feels like you’re surrounded by these stereotypes.
However, when you travel in the off season, there are short lines and you can actually enjoy the historical sites. You don’t have to squeeze through the crowds or feel claustrophobic in museums. It definitely allows you to enjoy your destination like a local.
The prices are lowered.
My Italy experience may have scarred me, but menu inflation is just the tip of the iceberg. After tourist season, prices are lowered to still get some income with less people. I have found savings on food, drinks, Airbnbs, cover charge at bars, day trips, excursions, and rental cars. Even if you only save on a couple of items, it feels like winning.
There is more availability/flexibility.
Depending on who I'm traveling with, I tend to wait to decide on fine details of our trips. It's easier to do that in the off season, since there's less people visiting at that time. And I secretly feel like a rock star when I book an Airbnb that says "this location is normally booked". Traveling in the off season also allows for more spontaneity since you can decide with less notice on a place to go.
The locals are friendlier.
I can attest to the annoyance of living in a beautiful place, only to have tourists swarm in masses. However, when you travel in the off season, you can mingle with people that live in town and get to know what living there is really like. They take the time to order and have dinner with you. You get to explore new spots that other people don't get to see. They're also excited to sit down and talk to you. It's the best.
Be sure to compare rates and check between 45-60 days before you plan to travel. If you have neighboring airports, compare rates at all of the options. We were able to cut our flight cost in HALF by switching to a different airport! Also, I always book an Airbnb instead of staying at a hotel. Most of the time it's cheaper and it allows you to have more of an authentic local experience.