'Tis the Off Season
As we begin one the busiest travel seasons of the year -- Thanksgiving to New Year’s -- let’s take a deep breath and count to ten (lords a leaping). Traveling with kids through crowded airports or on clogged interstates can take a toll on your sanity. Add in the general stress of the holiday season, with the shopping, cooking and merry-making, and you’ve got a veritable pressure cooker! Before you boil over, find your happy place. And if you can visualize it, think about going there in the off season, once the holiday hubbub dies down, when life moves at a gentler pace. (Silent night... all is calm... well, you get it!)
What is so appealing about traveling in the off season?
LACK OF CROWDS
Plan a vacation when many families are back in school and you’ll find you’ve got the world to yourself.
If you are taking the kids to a theme park, lines will be shorter. And shorter lines means more time to enjoy. Do you really want to pay all that money to stand in line for hours a day?
The ocean is an amazing place, at any time of year. Go to the coast during the off season and you may have the beach to yourself. Enjoy the peace. Run with the kids. You won’t be sitting elbow to elbow with other beach-goers.
The same goes for the mountains… skiing and snowboarding are much more enjoyable when there are less people on the mountain and more space to play. Short lift lines and open runs are perfect for families. Mommy is sure to have a much better time sipping her hot toddy knowing her family won’t be run down by groups of rowdy snowboarders.
In most vacation spots, popular area attractions and restaurants are less crowded, creating a more personal experience for your family. It’s a chance to get to know the people who live and work there, hear about their favorite hangouts and get a taste of the local flair.
Who says the weather is better in the summer? This isn’t always true, especially when you are talking Gulf Coast beaches. Avoid the sweltering heat -- the air is sticky humid and the sand is blistering hot (picture burning tiny toes!). Babies and toddlers do better on the beach in the shoulder season, late spring and early fall, when temperatures are milder.
The mountains are especially gorgeous in the fall. Cool weather and the changing of the leaves make for a perfect family holiday. The view of the snowy mountain tops is a quiet reminder of the frosty days ahead. It’s a toss up in the Rockies at this time of year and can be quite an entertaining guessing game of “what to wear” -- t-shirts one day and a parka the next! Spring skiing too is always a family favorite. Temperatures are milder but the snow is still fantastic. It is the perfect time to introduce snow sports to the littlest of the family.
Fall and spring are perfect for city breaks as well. Weather is milder and families can really enjoy walking, sightseeing and outdoor dining.
There are always bargains to be had in the off season! Air travel is less expensive and you can often find specials or discounts on vacation rentals. A beach house, for example, that costs $5000 per week in July, may rent out for almost half that price in the fall. A flexible traveler will inevitably save lots of money on travel costs by planning vacations in the off season.
Fewer crowds, nice weather AND cheaper… there is no reason not to travel in the off season!
Photo by Jamie Wise Werner.