The reason people like to travel in warm weather is obvious. But I don’t always like to do this, and here’s why…
I mentioned before that I decided to go to the Loire Valley and Paris this past December. I still need to do a full post about that trip–because we had the best time–but today, a quick post on the benefits of traveling off-season.
Of course, there are pros and cons. First the cons:
1. Things close earlier–or don’t open at all All the chateaus and museums closed an hour earlier. And there were two chateaus we didn’t even get to visit because they’re not open at all in the winter. This just requires doing your research and planning ahead.
2. Fewer outdoor activities Note this doesn’t mean none. We still strolled around the chateau gardens, took in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, but we didn’t exactly have a picnic on the cold, muddy ground.
3. It’s colder Pretty much a given
Now the pros, which I think outweigh the cons:
1. It’s cheaper This one’s pretty much a given. But you can get such great deals on off-season tickets, hotels, Airbnbs–all of it is cheaper!
2. It’s less crowded This for me is the biggest draw. I detest crowds, I detest lines–it severely inhibits my enjoyment of a place when I have to fight for a view, or a seat, or a photo-taking opportunity. In mid-December, there were no lines at the museums in Paris, no waits at any of the cafes we went to, and some of the chateaus we had literally all to ourselves for a few hours. It was blissful.
3. Packing is easier If you’re traveling to a climate that’s pretty much the same as the one you left, you don’t have to worry about digging through your storage boxes for your sundresses and bathing suits.
4. You can be more nimble For people who aren’t amazing planners, or who plan everything at the last minute, this is key. We booked our Airbnbs a mere week before we left–and there were still good options available.
5. You feel more like a local This was the second biggest draw. When you’re not fighting through hordes of other tourists, and the people sitting next to you at the cafes are all speaking in French, you start to feel a bit more like a local.
Do you ever travel off-season? Where do you go? I’d love to hear!
Image of tiny me taken by my boyfriend at Chambord in the Loire Valley, December 2015