7 Reasons to Travel Off-Season

Annette White at Teatro ZinzanniI sit here attempting to plan the perfect summer getaway for my fifteenth wedding anniversary, a memorable travel escape that will bring back the romance that was lost about…14.5 years ago. But, instead of a multitude of choices I am faced with overfilled hotel rooms, restaurants booked out for a month and sold-out attractions.

Maybe there is some availability at Motel 6 in Bakersfield with two twin beds? I hear they have a fantastic putt putt golf course there. Romantic. 

This has made me contemplate the reasons why I enjoy traveling during the off-season. And the reason why I didn’t get married in February.

1. Restaurant Availability
Being that I am a restaurateur, when I travel I like to eat well or at least learn something about the areas culture. There is never a visit to a restaurant that has a drive-thru window and features Dorito Tacos on my vacations. It is important for me to see what is trendy or traditional in other parts of the world with the possibility of incorporating it into my own eatery. Basically, I steal ideas. So?

Manzanita Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton in Lake Tahoe just before snow season, in October, was empty which led to us being indulged with free lobster gnocchi. In March, in Florence I made same day reservations at the trendy il Santo Bevitore, otherwise it would have most likely been a week wait. Whereas, right now, in June, the Michelin 3-Star French Laundry in Yountville is beyond a whopping 8 week wait. I checked. That’s okay, I just saved myself 600 bucks on dinner.
Lobster Gnocchi at Ritz Carlton

2. Partnerships
I typically partner with several different companies when I travel; hotels, tourism boards, attractions, etc. Partnering ain’t so easy peasy when it is prime season for them. Approaching Mexican resorts for stays in July have led to a lot of “we would love to work with you in the future”. At least it isn’t a full blown out “No”. It was much easier partnering with London’s Royal Garden Hotel in April and Seattle’s Underground Tour in February.
Seattle Underground Travel Tour

3. Crowded Sidewalks
Las Vegas in June. Need I say more? Okay, I will. Trying to walk anywhere in Las Vegas is already a feat, but when hundreds of other tourists are trying to get somewhere too, and going the in the opposite direction, I’d rather just sit by the pool. Besides I don’t like strangers touching me. I have issues.

Venice in March was dreamily vacant. A shop owner even commented how in June you can barely squeeze through the maze of streets, but we shared the walkways with very few other tourists earlier in the year.

4. Attraction Lines
Using the Fast Trak to take a spin on the London Eye in April led to a mere 10 minute wait, though the regular line was over an hour. A friend had told me that in the summer there was a two day wait for the normal queue. Bring a book. Or, at least, book the Fast Trak.
London Eye Capsule

5. Overpriced Hotels
Of course, it is expected to pay premium prices for hotels in the prime tourist season, but it doesn’t make it any easier for me to swallow. Solage Resort in Calistoga, one that I am considering for my anniversary in July, is $550 per night. If I opted to stay over in December it drops down to $350.
Solage Resort in Calistoga
6. Children and College Kids on Summer Break
I have nothing against children. Or college for that matter. But, I do have something against being on a relaxing vacation and being invaded by both.

Please do not email me. I love your children, almost as much as you. Just not when they are peeing or doing cannonballs in the pool.

7. Competitive Airline Rates
I paid $847 for a roundtrip ticket from San Francisco to London in early April. If I were to have gone one week later the cost would have been $1225. Ouch! When I book travel I try to make it a point to schedule for the last week of off-season, to maximize the weather possibilities.

What other benefits or disadvantages is there to traveling off-season?

2018-12-21T17:46:05+00:00July 2nd, 2012|Categories: TRAVEL|Tags: , , , |


  1. ava apollo July 2, 2012 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Oh man, I hate walking in Vegas in June because it's also a million degrees! All points well made. 

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 2, 2012 at 10:08 am - Reply

      I was just there and it was hot! The heat was radiating from the concrete and million of surrounding people weren’t helping either.

  2. Jeff @ GoTravelzing July 2, 2012 at 11:24 am - Reply

    I almost always travel in the off season now.  It is less crowed, cheaper and a lot more enjoyable.  The only downside is the weather might not be nice.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 2, 2012 at 11:33 am - Reply

      Completely agree about the weather! Though, I have been pretty lucky so far; no hail storms, below freezing temps or hurricanes 🙂

  3. Juliann July 3, 2012 at 2:33 am - Reply

    One downside I've encountered while traveling off-season is that not everything is open. Sometimes I need to wait until tourist season to see/do all the things I want to do. Otherwise, off-season is great to avoid the crowds.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 3, 2012 at 3:18 am - Reply

      True. When I was in Lake Tahoe in October a lot of restaurants were closed, but I was happy to have found a couple of great ones 🙂

  4. Ryan at Travel and Graphs July 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Gotta love those discounted airline rates in the off season! 
    Another benefit I have seen is that the locals (many of whom might work in the tourism/hospitality industry) will be me relaxed and open to conversation during the down times.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      That is a great point. I have had some of the best conversations with locals/employees during off-season.

  5. Elle July 4, 2012 at 7:02 am - Reply

    Weather is a biggie for me when it comes to travel.  As a Floridiot, a lot of times I travel to ESCAPE the heat.  I don't want to spend the money to go somewhere and sweat my ass off.  For instance, rather than spending my Spring Break on the beach, I flew to England and France.  I'd much rather watch the snow fall on Tower Bridge than see sweat drip in the sand.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 4, 2012 at 7:35 am - Reply

      Coming from Florida, I can see why you would want to escape the heat sometimes! I seem to always be hunting for it, but still would rather be chilly while traveling off-season than on an overcrowded beach in prime season.

  6. CeCe July 5, 2012 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    I love traveling in the Spring and Fall.  I hate traveling in the summer because it is usually crowded, more expensive, and HOT or too COLD (depends where you are traveling).  Weather is a huge factor for me being a spoiled SoCal girl that is used to near perfect weather all the time.  🙂  I don't mind a little cold, humidity however I can NOT handle.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      I agree that weather is an important travel factor, but I have learned to live without my beloved perfect 85 degrees…barely.

  7. Adam Sommer July 6, 2012 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Great post!  I love traveling offseason for many of the same reasons.  Price being #1, but the lack of kids and crowds has always been a top factor too.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 6, 2012 at 8:38 am - Reply

      Price is a biggie for me, I don’t feel good knowing I could have gotten something cheaper.

  8. Erik July 7, 2012 at 6:40 am - Reply

    Great points on all of these! I always travel off-season, the crowd factor being the biggest thing for me. Few things can ruin an amazing site as fast as huge crowd of obnoxious tourists!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 7, 2012 at 9:41 am - Reply

      I especially dislike trying to take a photo of a site sans any tourists, it’s tough to do in prime season.

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