That sweet drug of discovering new countries, sites, and cultures. Everyone who has traveled at least once in their lives knows what we are talking about. When you catch that ‘bug’ of exploring new places it is almost impossible to stop. There are a lot of factors to take into account: budget, lodging, your route. But once you start mapping out your adventure you already feel that rush that runs through your veins and it is the most unbelievable natural high. Sure, it is nice to go to Spain to Run with the Bulls or to take a gondola ride in Venice, but do you really want to deal with the crowds of crazed tourists? There are a bunch of benefits to traveling off-season but, as to everything in our lives, there are downsides also. Here, we explore the most common dos and don’ts for traveling off-season.
DO your research beforehand. Yes, you might think that since it is winter in your hometown the world is quiet too. Aruba for example gets horrific hurricane season from June to sometimes November. Above all you need to be safe when traveling and getting caught in the middle of a hurricane is not as exciting as some song lyrics might suggest.
DON’T pack for all four seasons of the year. We live at the time when you can check the weather in Honduras while enjoying your morning latte. You might not want to be stuck wearing the same pair of shorts for a week because the rest of your suitcase is stuffed with a parka and a pair of your winter boots.
DO make it a point to interact with locals. No guide will give you as much helpful information as a local will. If you are not comfortable approaching people on the street or talking to that guy who just sold you a kickass souvenir, consider making a profile on Couchsurfing. There you will find tons of people who are willing to meet up for coffee and talk your ear off about their native city.
DON’T rush when purchasing your plane tickets. Even though you might think the airfare is down because of the lack of tourists some airlines will sneak in a ticket or two that are more pricy. Just like with your regular travel, come up with a strategy, set up website alerts, and snag that those cheap tickets away.
DO pick an awesome place to stay. The off-season will give you an upper hand when negotiating with your potential AirBnB host or hostel or even places you might pick on Bookings. Most places will have lower rates already but it never hurts to inquire about a possible discount. Who knows? You might even stay in some penthouse for half the price. So many possibilities!
DON’T lose focus. You might think that with less tourists comes more safety. This is true to a certain extent but a conscious traveler should always be aware of her surroundings. Know where your documents, valuables, and money are, and keep them close. Nothing ruins a trip faster than a misplacement of your passport or loosing your money to a slick pick-pocket.
DO enjoy yourself no matter when you travel. Traveling off-season will most likely be cheaper and with less tourists around. You should also keep in mind that some famous sites close for renovation during slower seasons. Do your research, be smart about your travel plans, and most importantly, stay open-minded and positive!