Well, we’ve entered into the part of the year that’s considered “off-season” when it comes to many travel destinations. This time generally begins when the school year starts back up and runs through spring. While areas with warmer climates (like the Bahamas or Hawaii) see a large amount of people flock to Southern temperatures, areas that experience colder temperatures (like Europe or Canada) see a lack of visitors.
So what are the pros and cons of traveling in the off-season?
By heading to a destination that isn’t often sought by people during the winter months, you’ll avoid peak-season prices and save a lot of money on things like airfare, hotel rates, and activities.
With fewer people traveling during the off-season, you’ll enjoy a less-crowded experience and may be able to do things you normally wouldn’t with a large crowd around.
There’s likely to be a higher local-to-tourist ratio, and since locals are always the best for pointing you in a unique (and not tourist-y) direction, you’ll get a more authentic experience wherever you go.
Some not-so-well-known opportunities may arise during the off-season. For example, in Santa Barbara, California, you can spot gray whales from November to March, and in Fairbanks, Alaska, winter is the prime time to see the Northern Lights.
Because you’re traveling in winter months, you could experience some problems due to weather. Many people experience a delayed or cancelled flight, have to postponed their plans, etc.
Some things may be closed during the off-season, like national parks, shops, attractions, and more, so if there’s something you really want to see or do, you may have to wait until peak-season.
If you travel somewhere with winter-like temperatures (that isn’t a ski resort), you’ll have fewer outdoor activities to sample and may have to plan on being indoors for much of the time.
Great Places to Visit During the Off-Season
Montreal is beautiful during the winter, and you can find rock-bottom prices for hotels. The area also hosts a slew of winter festivals and is a popular spot for ice skating, ice hockey, skiing, and the overall cozy cafes and shops.
While it can be chilly in Ireland during the winter, temperatures don’t often drop below freezing. Many tourist attractions shut down during the off-season, but you’ll find cheaper flights, friendly bed & breakfasts, and a great culture of locals.
During the winter, the islands of Greece experience mild temperatures and some rain, but you’ll also see lots of sunshine. The nightlife of Athens comes alive during the off-season and you can enjoy things like winter sailing and horseback riding.
Yellowstone National Park
While millions of people travel to Yellowstone during the summer, less than 150,000 people travel there in the off-season. While ranger-guided activities may be limited, the park holds a great opportunity for wildlife-watching and boasts beautiful landscapes.
Because winter is the rainy season for this Italian city, the streets become misty wonders and fewer people pack its cobblestone streets. You’ll find cheaper hotel rates, lots of different museums to explore and cozy restaurants.
Don’t forget – if you’re going to explore a destination in the off-season and are flying out of Philadelphia, let our Philadelphia Airport long-term parking members take care of your car.