Everyone loves taking a trip. Off-season travel can be a time and money saver. Here are the pros and cons of traveling in the off-season.
I enjoy traveling off-season because I am not a big fan of crowds and traffic. I want to spend my time off doing something besides waiting in lines. Off-season travel is perfect for this. Less people around allow for better enjoyment of your surroundings. Traffic will be less and lines will be shorter. This is especially beneficial to families traveling with impatient little ones. Smaller crowds also allow you to do more and see more due to the time your saving.
Saving money is another good reason to travel in the off-season. Rates for hotels and vacation home rentals are significantly cheaper. Some also offer specials on top of their low season rates. For instance my family and I recently traveled to Tennessee in early spring. We got great low rates for going off-season and got a “stay 5 nights get 2 free” special deal on top if that. This allowed us to stay in a very nice vacation cabin with 2 bedrooms, hot tub and pool table. We paid about what we would have paid in a regular hotel for one room. You might be able to secure some grate airfare and car rental rates too, especially when you plan your travel well in advance.
You may also find that the local attractions will offer discounts on admission. With less people visiting in the off travel months, they have to compete more for business. Be on the lookout for not only admission discounts, but also for local restaurants to offer specials too. Food and drink specials will lure in not only the off-season traveler looking for a deal, but also the locals looking for dinner out.
We’ve explored the good things about off-season travel. Now its time to visit the not so good things that can happen with off-season travel. These are just things to consider and will probably not discourage you from traveling in the slow months.
One of the things you might notice when traveling in the off-season is that some attractions are closed or have limited hours. Some businesses choose to close each season until the crowds come back in peak times, others will limit daily hours or only be open on the weekends. Please be sure that the attraction you want to visit will be open when you plan your visit. Another thing to ask about is if you are booking a hotel with an outdoor pool; check to see if it will be open. On our spring trip to Tennessee I noticed a lot of the hotel pools were still covered even though the temperatures were quite warm. I also noticed one hotel had made arrangements with a neighboring hotel that had an indoor pool for their patrons to go over and use it. I wouldn’t expect this to happen when you book so if the pool is important be sure to get confirmation it will be open.
Along with restricted hours and closing be prepared to accommodate for construction and roadwork. With low crowds many vacation destinations, hotels and restaurants will use this time to do building construction, refurbishing and remodeling. This would also be a good thing to ask about when making your reservations at your hotel. It wouldn’t hurt to ask if they are doing any construction and will help you enjoy a quieter stay. Roadwork is popular in the off-season just because there’s less people and traffic for the workers to deal with. So be on the look out and expect delays.
If you plan on traveling with school aged children, taking a trip during the off season could mean you need to pull them out of school to do so. Most school districts of course discourage this practice. If you do decide to travel outside of a school break be prepared for your student to be playing catch up on the work he missed while you are gone. It might seem like a great idea to get the work he will miss up front and have him work on it while you are away but I don’t recommend this because who wants to deal with homework battles while you are on vacation. Both parents and student will be better equipped to handle a little extra homework when you return from your trip.
Whether you decide to take a trip in the middle of peak season or you do decide to make your travel during the off-season, remember the main thing is to enjoy yourself and your family. Take lots of pictures and experience all you can together. You will truly be making memories to remember.