This week Jenn & Meggan discuss the pros and cons of traveling in the off season, and why they love it so much.
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Hey everyone. Welcome back to the Travel Mug podcast. This is Jenn joined as always by my partner in podcasting, Meggan. And this week we wanna chat about something that we are both pretty big fans of which is traveling in the off season. There are a lot of pros. There are also some cons, so we'll share those as well. But first of all, Meggan, what is the off season?Meggan:
From what I can tell, really, it's pretty much like the time of year considered the off season really depends on where you are in the world, of course, where you're located. Um, But really it has a lot to do with weather as you can imagine. So people usually travel to get out and do things. So they travel in conditions that are deemed best, quote unquote, whatever that means for you. If it's a ski vacation, that's when you're going, but you know what I mean, like whatever works best for them. However, off season usually means the conditions aren't considered as ideal and therefore less people go during those times. So essentially, it's very much weather related. The summer or holidays can also be considered high season when children are out of school. So many families tend to travel during those times, which makes every other time a little bit less busy.Jenn:
Yes. All right, so let's talk about why you might wanna travel in the off season. And the first reason is that it's usually cheaper, so that's.Meggan:
that That's probably why most people would travel in the off season. So accommodations, attraction tickets, even flights can be cheaper in the off season and the savings can really add up. I mean, price and, uh, flights. flights and accommodations are usually most expensive part of a trip. So if you can really save on those, that can really make a big difference. And so for flights, prices are based not just on the season in your destination, but also sometimes the season in your departure region. So for instance, the US and Canadian travelers going to Australia. Are going to pay much less if they travel in January than July, even though July is Australia's winter. So you might think that it would be the low season. It's the high season in North America, so fares are generally higher. Do your research, of course, And just see how the time of year changes the prices for the destination. I know we've saved a lot, especially at Disney by visiting in off season times like September, and even the beginning of February is considered a lower season at Disney, so you can save some money and we love saving money.Meggan:
Yes, that's very important, especially these days, for sure.Jenn:
Now, not only are things cheaper our, our next point is there's more availability, of course, for car rentals, accommodations, attractions, in terms of lines. So this one is really just a bit of common sense. So if there are less people that are there. The availability of services and accommodations will be greater. I mean, much like booking early to get what you want, which we do talk a lot about because it's really very true. The same goes for off season travel, so we still recommend to book in advance, with it being off season, there should be more choice during these times, like we were talking about, kids are usually back in school. Parents are back at work. So the ability to travel outside of traditional times such as summer is a really huge advantage, and I think that's why we're such big fans of it because we're able to sort of get out into the world where maybe other people are back at their everyday lives essentially.Jenn:
Mm-hmm. for sure. So our next point, you know that we love supporting local and small businesses. We talk about that a lot, both here in Nova Scotia, where we live and when we travel. So many places are seasonal and rely on tourism. We see it in several communities, even just here in Nova Scotia, like Lunenburg that is close by to me. These businesses though, they need people all year and not just during the busy summer months. There's really only a few months of high tourist season. So we definitely recommend staying in smaller, locally owned hotels, eating in local restaurants, and shopping at local small stores instead of like the big mass produced touristy shops. If you can.Meggan:
Definitely even when we're away on weekends in the off season, we try to go into whatever town is closest, maybe have at least one meal at a local restaurant, try to do a little bit of shopping, go to a cafe if, if that's the only thing available, but even if it's just a weekend away, so we don't need to be going away for weeks. But even if it's just a weekend away, the same idea of supporting local, I think works here.Jenn:
Yeah, for sure.Meggan:
Now one of my other favorite things, about off season travel is it's definitely less crowded. like we said in the intro, off season usually means less ideal weather conditions. But honestly, if that means less people, I say bring it on. You know, rain little on me. the hustle and the bustle of certain situations. In in certain places. It can add to the excitement and the ambiance of an experience when there's lots of people all around. But let's be honest, it is usually better to enjoy travel with less people and the benefit of off season travel can really bring this. So it isn't a silver bullet though, like, The world is very full of people and off off season makes sense not only to you and I, but to a lot of other people So don't be shocked if some things are still really busy, especially if it's a traditionally popular spot. But chances are you will be in a lot of places that are just less peopley,Jenn:
Mm-hmm..Yeah. Yeah. I guess we, yeah, we're letting the people know they should travel in the off season, and then it won't be off season anymore. Maybe we're ruining it.Meggan:
Maybe we should've just gate-kept this one. Darn it.Jenn:
Not about gate keeping here. Yeah. I like, I've traveled places like New York City in January, which would be low season, and it was very cold and snowy. There's still people, places like that it's going to be peopley, but it's, it's a little bit less peopley,Meggan:
Yes. What's next?Jenn:
like we said. Less crowded, so that can mean better travel photos. Right. So have you ever tried taking photos of like the blue domes in Santorini in high tourist season? Like, oh my God, there are so many people, so visiting in the early morning and in the off season, like that'll give you your best chance of getting some incredible photos with less people, maybe no people who knows in your way. So yeah, I think that's definitely a benefit. I've actually visited Times Square at like a ridiculously early time in the morning, and we were there in March, which would be considered, I think off season for New York as well. And there was like weirdly no people. It was strangeMeggan:
Yeah, no, I can imagine. And that's a good tip though. Even if it is not off season or low season going first thing in the morning is always gonna be your best bet regardless of where you are to get the best photos and there be less people. So that's a great tip, just in general.Jenn:
Yeah, for sure.Meggan:
So next up we wanted to discuss how oftentimes, and again, this isn't across the board, but oftentimes there is better service in off season due to less people overall. So this one is so, so true, and I really do have a great example. Everyone knows we go to Bar Harbor a lot, so usually at the beginning of the season in May. And then at the end of the season in October. And the difference in the staff is so visible and of course, no fault of their own, but Bar Harbor has become very popular. I'm just gonna say it's'cause of the podcast. But anyway, become very popular and is a very popular cruise ship stop as well. So we all know in the summer that means it's full on like literally all summer and in May the staff are all fresh faced and they're full of promise. And then in October you can just tell that they've been through it, but also the thing about October too is you can tell that they see the light at the end of the tunnel. so they're tired, but they're also grateful, , and they're hopeful, shall we say. So while exhausted, they can see that the high season is sort of fading away as well. Also around the world for a lot of businesses, off season means less revenue like you were discussing due to lack of people. So while it's a time to maybe catch their breath and relax for them, when they do have guests, though, they do have more time to sort of put into the visit. Or the experience without always having to run in 10 different directions. So as we know as well, better service can lead to higher sales and higher tips. So really in this way off season's kind of good for everyone. So the consumer, but also the proprietor as well.Jenn:
Yeah, I can definitely see how that would lead to having a better experience overall. So lower crowds and availability of rentals and accommodations can really make for a more relaxed travel experience. So imagine not feeling rushed or like packed in with like a ton of other people. I know that I can personally get really overwhelmed with crowds, so this is one of the biggest benefits that I love. It's just having space around you. And not feeling like you have to rush, rush, rush from one thing to the next thing.Meggan:
Yeah, and we've talked a lot about that on the podcast. And too, in terms of vacations shouldn't just be go, go, go. They should have that relaxation component and you can definitely find that even in what's traditionally busy spots, when there's less people,Jenn:
Now our last point we wanted to share, of course, is a big one, and we have referenced it, but it is better weather depending on travel destination, meaning it could be cooler than the scorching heat of summer So, of course this one depends on where you go and what kind of weather you're looking for. For us, traveling in the off season is kind of what we prefer for longer trips. That's what we've kind of done in the past. And sure, sometimes in May you could stand a few warmer days. That would be nice. for the other benefits, in our opinion, it's kind of worth it. I do know someone from my work actually, and she is going to Santorini in October. So we were actually just discussing this and she's going of course for a variety of reasons, but one that she's going for in that timeframe is because it won't be scorching hot. You can actually get out and enjoy the sites and like we referenced earlier, Santorini has a lot to see. So this one's preference oriented, I guess I would say. Some people love the heat and what that brings, but if you're in the mindset that, you know what, I'm just gonna take my rain jacket or my fleece and be ready for anything while I'm sightseeing in a bit, cooler, less crowded conditions. Off season travel is definitely something you should consider. for me personally, I don't know about you Jenn, but the pros outweigh the cons. But of course there are a few cons to anything. That sounds great.Jenn:
So let's take a moment to maybe discuss a few cons as well.Jenn:
Yeah, I mean, there's a reason not everybody is doing it right? So I mean, the weather, it's, it's a pro. It's also a con depending on where you're planning to travel. So do some research. The weather could be less predictable. It could be hurricane season, which Meggan and I are recording this a little bit ahead of time, but Hurricane Lee is kind of heading right for us now and is hopefully when this is all out, hopefully the hurricane has passed us and we are all fine. But right now it's still coming right at us. So that can affect your trip, right? Like you need to know If there's a hurricane coming that's going to, that's gonna cancel your trip probably. So make sure to have travel insurance. Go back to the last episode, and uh, listen to travel insurance. But the weather can be a pro or a con, so also things may be closed, less available, have skeleton staff. So we see this, especially in small towns, that things may be Bare bones staff, or they might not even be open at all. So this can be the case for museums and restaurants. I mean, I had my Cabot Trail trip a couple of years ago where I could not find an open restaurant because it was after Thanksgiving, it was after the, the high tourist season. And uh, there was nowhere to eat'cause everywhere was closed. So your research and make sure that things that you're, you want to do are actually open because,Meggan:
I think that's a good one.Jenn:
well, it's not really worth going in low season if the things that you wanna do are closed. It's not gonna work. So my last con is that there could be or are likely less flights to your destination. And this may mean you won't be able to get a direct flight, or that you can only find flights on specific days of the week, which is not a complete deal breaker and definitely depends on where you live. Right? If you are flying outta Toronto, All the time then you're probably okay. But for us flying out of Halifax, it is very, very seasonal and it makes a really big difference what time of year you're flying. And the other issue that arises, if your flight is canceled for any reason, the next available flight might not be for a day or two instead of later that day, let's say. So it's, it can be a little bit tricky. Especially flying out of those smaller airports. But I do wanna mention that. We could keep calling it you know, low season or off season. But I really like shoulder season, which guess we didn't really mention, but kind of like the months on either end of the high seasons. So it's like the weather's still pretty good, but the crowds are a bit lower. We end up traveling to Europe in like May, June or like September, October. And I that a really good like sweet spot where you get like decent weather but also lower crowds.Meggan:
Oh yeah, we're definitely Europe in June. And that's a great point. Honestly, it is more shoulder than it is necessarily off season, so this can apply to off season, low season, or really shoulder season, in my opinion. So that's a great, that's a great call out. Well, that is it for this week's episode of the Travel Mug Podcast. We would love to hear from you when your favorite time to travel is and why do you prefer shoulder, like really low season, maybe if you're adventurous, or is high season for you? You can find us on social media at Travel Mug Podcast or our website travel mug podcast.com, or you can catch up as well on shows that you've missed. we're on YouTube so you can actually watch instead of listen if you prefer. And you can find us at Travel Mug Podcast there. Thanks as always, for your support and if you enjoy the show, leave us a review on Apple or Spotify. Or buy us a coffee get exclusive content. The link is in the show notes for that. We would appreciate it. And until next time, bye everyone. Bye. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm.