by Katharina Heuermann, Dream Seller + Founder of the travel agency Destination-K!…
Summer is around the corner, and you know what that means for us travelers: full airplanes, jammed roads, packed hotels, and not much fun.
The solution is obvious: counter-cyclical travel — that is, traveling out of season. Since you’re a creative professional, you’ve probably done it often. If not, you should! And here’s why…
1. You can save some serious money on vacations.
Probably the most important reason to travel against the usual travel calendar is that flight prices and hotel rates drop drastically.
Here’s a jaw dropping example: I found a non-stop, round-trip flight from L.A. to Chicago in January for only $189, including all taxes. Luck? Not at all!
Here’s another: fly to Europe around November, and you can pay as little as $700 instead of the usual $1400.
Low season is when hotels and airlines get desperate. With fixed costs, they try everything to cover as much as possible (translation: your chance to save even bigger bucks).
Looking at the opposite hemisphere is always a good idea (I’m talking North and South, of course). When we’re sweating high temperatures, the other half of the globe is chilling (depending on topography, of course).
Let’s look at South Africa. Our summer is their winter. A little bit of freeze at night won’t stop me from checking their rates and connections, and chances are I can get a good deal. So if you don’t mind cuddling up at night (and who does when you’re with the right person?), schedule your South African safari when it’s summer in America.
2. Best travel pictures ever.
Forget waiting behind a hundred other photographers to get the (hopefully) picture-perfect second with the famous sightseeing spot.
If you want to shoot the Chicago Bean, try snowy January and you get the whole morning to yourself — picture perfection guaranteed.
Lake Powell in February? All yours!
And where are those 200 buses driving through the Monument Valley in summer? That’s right — taking a break until high season hits again.
Those are your Instagram moments of fame right there! Fewer people, less money, same view… if not even a better one.
3. You choose when it comes to hotel rooms!
Having trouble finding your perfect hotel room during high season? And if you find one, it exceeds your budget? Been there, suffered that.
As with pictures, in the off-season you have a variety of rooms right in front of you and all for yourself. Always wanted a good deal for a fancy hotel in Seattle? Try winter. Take an umbrella and warm clothes, but daaarn these rates are good. And available. Maybe even ask for an upgrade — chances are high that not all rooms are booked. ;-)
I know it’s not always possible to travel off the calendar, especially with kids. And above all, safety always comes first — I inform my clients about Mother Nature’s seasonal wonders (hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoons).
Even when safe, counter-cyclical travel means putting up with imperfect weather conditions. I understand that everything feels better in sunshine, shorts, and flip flops — I love the sun as much as you do! — but doesn’t the Chicago Bean half covered in snow somehow seem more interesting than yet another sunny shiny bean?
Be open to seasonal experimentation and, trust me, you’ll have an entirely new travel experience. Expect the unexpected — in a great way.
Keep traveling peeps!