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5 Good Reasons to Choose Off-Season Travel

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Of course, all seasons, in their own way, are conducive to traveling, exploring, adventuring – in short, escaping. Regardless of the reason, one thing is for sure: we all want to get the most out of our travels. And what if the best way to tick destinations off your bucket list is through off-season travel?

As a flight attendant, I’m lucky enough to travel the world throughout the year, be it low or peak season. And I have to say that the benefits of off-season travel are indeed plentiful.

To travel out of season means to fully immerse yourself in the culture of a place, to enjoy every inch of its magnificent landscape, to do the activities you enjoy most, to taste the local specialties both on the plate and in the glass, while establishing a privileged contact with the locals. And return home with a head full of wonderful memories.

What does off-season mean in travel and what months are off-season?

If you think about it, most Canadians travel to the south in the winter months and to Europe in the summer. So when we talk about off-season travel, what we’re really talking about is the principle of traveling outside of the typical peak season for each destination and gateway. In order to achieve this, it is advisable to avoid the periods that are most conducive to travel, such as:

  • Summer school vacations
  • Long weekends with holidays
  • Spring break
  • Holiday seasons

There’s also an in-between period called the shoulder season, which falls between the low season and peak season. These are mainly spring and fall, from mid-April to mid-June and from mid-September to mid-October.

If your schedule allows you to take advantage of these times to travel, then go ahead and do it! Off-season travel means privileged access to the best that a destination has to offer.

In fact, Air Transat is working on annualizing more and more destinations in Europe, North America and Latin America to make the most of every season!

Avoid the crowds at some of the best off season travel destinations

What could be better than enjoying some of the world’s most popular places in peace and quiet?

Admire the Trevi Fountain without having to get up at 6am. Climb the Inca Trail to see Machu Picchu. Admire Impressionist painters in Paris museums. Visit the vineyards of Catalonia. Discuss leather goods with merchants in the Marrakech souk. Watch the sunrise from Cozumel’s most beautiful beaches. Be (almost) alone in the world.

For me, fewer crowds is one of the greatest benefits of an off-season trip. Being able to access tourist attractions without having to elbow your way through queues and waiting in shorther lines is a huge privilege. It also has a positive impact on the preservation of these often fragile sites.

Travel off peak and get the best prices on accommodations, flights, and activities 

There’s no better way to save big when you’re traveling than by choosing to go when everything’s more affordable! Prices are indeed far more afforable in the low season, making it the best time for budget travelers to plan a trip. We’re talking cheaper airfare, discounted hotels and even cheaper activities. In fact, many of these expenses have different prices for tourists depending on the season. With the growing popularity of dynamic pricing, it makes perfect sense to travel off-season to capitalize on lower demand.

And with the savings you’ve made, why not treat yourself to a little bit of luxury by upgrading to Club Class?

Make (genuine) contact with local people

In my opinion, this is the best of all the benefits that have been mentioned here. To have the privilege of interacting with the locals, to really get to know their daily lives, to learn more about their part of the world, and to get their suggestions for wonderful little places that we would never have been able to find in the guidebooks. Never be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone, even if you don’t speak the language. There is always a way for you to understand each other in the end!

Whether it’s at the Saturday market, on the subway platform or during a hike… In the slower season, locals have more time, interest and energy to connect with guests than they will at the height of the tourist season.

I still remember this incredible waiter, in a magnificent restaurant in Porto, who took the time to advise my great friend and I about the best restaurants in the city, and his favorite places not to miss in this wonderful region of Portugal. What an unparalleled welcome!

Throughout my travels, I’ve come to realize that people almost always take great pride and enthusiasm in sharing their territory. These encounters are precious moments of humanity that, I can assure you, will leave a very positive mark on your trip. They are enriching interactions that you’re going to remember for a very long time!

More spontaneity and flexibility during the off-season travel calendar

Due to high demand, accommodations, restaurants and activities are usually booked weeks in advance during peak seasons. This leaves less room for improvisation once you get there.

Off-season travel, on the other hand, allows you to be more spontaneous, make decisions on the fly, extend your stay on a whim, or go on adventures based on the authentic insight of locals.

However, you will need to pay special attention to the opening hours of businesses, which may be reduced during the slower months of January and February in Europe, for example.

Off-season travel is also a great way to force yourself to expand your horizons and explore destinations you may not have considered before (many of which fly direct from Toronto). This is your chance to live a truly unique experience!

Day trip to Ericeira - Excursion à Ericeira

Take advantage of the weather

Generally speaking, fall and spring are synonymous with milder temperatures in most destinations. With off-season travel, you can take advantage of the more comfortable weather and the sunny skies.

However, autumn in the south is hurricane season; spring in Central America is rainy season. And the Mediterranean Basin at the end of summer means hot weather that can make walking outside downright unpleasant.

So it’s important to do a little extra planning and make your choices accordingly to find the travel window that best suits your needs, your desires, your limitations, and your interests. Whatever the time of year!

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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