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“The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life.”  ~ Agnes Repplier

We’re in a new year and you know what that means. This is the time to start planning, unless you were an early bird and began in December. As we draw up our vision boards, go over business goals and organize our homes, it’s important to not forget about travel. While it may be limited during this time, there are plenty of places that have recovered and established a new normal that is safe and secure.

This is the perfect time to look at off-season travel, which has several pros for the traveler enthusiast.  We start entering the off-season during those “tween” times of Fall and Spring (or the reverse for the southern hemisphere) where extreme weather is lightening up. It is either cooling off or about to heat up.  During this nice nugget of time, prices go down and travelers can breathe easier. 

Peak season is over for many popular destinations and tourist attractions.  As things begin to slow down, it is prime time to start packing your bags.  Traveling during the off-season does require planning, selecting perfect locations and monitoring rates; but what trip doesn’t?  The planning is still well worth it with these reasons to travel during the off-season.  Here are five of the many reasons you should travel this off-season.

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Less crowds.  To no crowds.  It is easier to enjoy your travels when you are not getting pushed, shoved, tripped or stepped on in overcrowded sites and attractions.  Worries of long lines, pushed reservations, double-booked flights and the like are not a concern.  Depending on your destination, most are back to school, holidays are over and it’s time to return to work.  There are times when it is great to experiences attractions in their high season for the activities and availability of time to plan trips over a long span of time.  Unless you’re looking forward to meeting a lot of people, the off-season is great for few crowds. 

Could you imagine being on the Great Wall during Chinese New Year?  It is literally packed in from brick to brick with visitors!  You can’t move!  I went mid-April for my birthday and had a handful of people on the wall I could run laps around.

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Save on expenses.  The biggest inhibitor of travel ninety-nine percent of the time boils down to expenses.  After you calculate airfare, hotel stay, tickets and transportation on the ground you are counting your change for lunch.  One of the great things about the off-season is that the prices come down.  Airfare, food items, accommodations and more all take a tip since a lot of activity is not expected (you would have hoped it would be the other way around!). 

Check your destination to see when it’s their low season.  While off-season can present great deals, there are specific times in the off-season or even the shoulder-season where travel won’t hit your wallets so hard.  For instance, September (shoulder-season) is a wonderful time to run off to Rome.

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Leisure.  True leisure, where you can take your time and enjoy exploring your destination and viewing the sights.  You can go at your own pace.  Take your time exploring, finding that perfect shot, tasting delicacies and more with a laidback atmosphere void of the pressing time slots, crowds, traffic and additional noise that can take away from your adventure or luxurious getaway.

Phuket is a favorite Eastern destination, tucked away in Thailand.  Traveling at the end of March allowed me to avoid the influx of crowds that would enter once Summer hit.  I was able to enjoy the beaches, eateries and elephant sanctuaries without feeling claustrophobic. 

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Authentic experiences.  Food, culture and people.  Traveling during the off-season gives you the time to truly connect with the places you travel to.  You are less concern with pressing schedules and crowds (unless you’re in a tour group) and more attentive to your travel journey.  During the off-season, you can connect with locals who are not disturbed by frenzies of tourists, celebrate during local festivals and holidays, and indulge in seasonal cuisine.

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Chilly cool weather.  I enjoy the heat just like the rest of them, but I don’t like melting all day.  For many destinations, the off-season falls during the autumn and winter months, or from October to April; of course, this may change depending on where you want to go.  The comfortable weather comes with many perks.  While you may not be able to strut that new bikini (unless you fly to the tropics), you can always rock a killer pair of boots and lovely coat in Harbin.  Sport a sweater underneath falling cherry blossoms in Tokyo.

Did these reasons give you enough of a push to start planning?  What trip would you want to take during the off-season?

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