Summer is colorful in Europe. It is a perfect time to travel across different European countries and creating memories of a life time. School holidays, exotic beaches, winding streets, everything compels you to be there. Which means, lots of tourists. Everywhere! And that is why I avoid the summer ‘on-season’ for traveling to well-known places in Europe. Off-season here is late autumn and winter, except the Christmas holidays, of course. Though most of the Europeans prefer to spend Christmas with family and friends, the non-European residents/visitors make most out of these days by traveling around.
Off-season traveling is better than its counterpart in many ways. Some of them being:
1. Off-season traveling means less crowd and hence less waiting
First things first, the origin of terms like ‘on-season’ and ‘off-season’ was in respect to the active tourism in the particular regions or cities. Therefore, by definition, it means there should be less tourists during off-season.
I will give you an example of Paris. I have been to Paris four times. Every time I have been there with people who have never been there before, which means, I was at the Eiffel tower every time. When I went there end of September, we did not wait even a singe minute in the queue. Very smooth entry. But when we went there between Christmas and New year (Holiday season! I don’t know what were we thinking!!), we waited about three to three and a half hour in the queue that seemed like eternity in cold weather. Of course, it was same at every other tourist attraction. Do you see the difference?
2. Off-season traveling means cheaper airfares
As the demand of air travel is low during these seasons, flights are cheaper. But always remember to check if your cheapest flight is actually the cheapest option available.
3. Off-season traveling means more local feel, better connect with the place
Imagine the beautiful beaches of Greece which are full of tourists and you do not see anyone except tourists and tour guides. Imagine you are in Rome but all you can see are the people taking selfies everywhere. I am not against taking pictures. In fact, I love taking them but if I don’t see any locals around, I feel I am missing the essence of the place. Do you connect to such a place? I don’t. I need space to explore the place. I need my rhythm. I need to see the original place, not a place so modified for accommodating tourists that it does not even represent the culture or the taste anymore. This was one of the main reasons I loved Greece in October so much. There were no tourists at all. Just greek tunes in our ears whole day long.
4. Off-season traveling means cheaper local costs
Not only airfare but other local services are also cheaper during off-season. For example, accommodation is cheaper during this period. You can see the difference in prices of Airbnb options as well. (Don’t have an Airbnb account yet? Register here to get 30 Euros towards your first trip! I get the same amount 🙂 )
5. Off-season traveling means different views of the same place
Lausanne looks very different in different seasons. Majority of Europe is blessed with all the four seasons. Like Lausanne, most of the European cities offer completely different landscapes with changing seasons. While summer (on-season) has its own advantages (shimmering beaches, nice sunny weather,comfortable hiking), Off-season, which is mainly winter in Europe, has some spectacular views. Snow, Igloos, frozen landscapes, Ice caves and steaming cup of hot chocolates make everything dramatic and much more romantic!
Believe in love at first sight? View when entering Lausanne by train. Vineyards, lake and mountains 🙂
So, I would advice you to plan your weekend trips off-season for better and unique experiences. Off-season travel has become synonym to cheaper and more authentic travel. This means you can save money for your next travel while you are traveling. How cool is that? Isn’t it the best way to save money? What do you think? Leave you reply in comments. Do not forget to mention some destinations that you will like to explore off-season.
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