Visiting destinations in their high season seems obvious, right? The weather is on point and the activities are endless. But prices can skyrocket during this time, tourists flock en masse, and reservations are scarce.
But if you like to save your cash and escape the crowds, traveling in the off-season is the perfect answer. Here’s our list of favorite destinations that are best enjoyed after the tourists leave.
KEY WEST, FLORIDA, USA
Florida in the summer is insanely hot and humid. It takes a very specific type of person to be able to enjoy those conditions. So if you can’t take the heat, Florida in the winter time is absolute perfection. The southernmost tip of the US is home to charming and tropical streets. Find your way to Key West while school is still in session and explore Duval Street, enjoying top-of-the-line Cuban cuisine and hitting the tourist-free beaches. If the weather isn’t cooperating, step into one of the numerous museums on the island, including the famous Ernest Hemingway home, for some good, dry fun.
Winter in Venice can be eerie, with mist sweeping through the iconic Venetian canals, but this haunting atmosphere adds an extra layer of beauty to this destination. Enjoy highlights like St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge all to yourself, then cozy up in a charming cafe where you're guaranteed a seat, and enjoy the off-season low prices.
Have you ever wanted to go on a safari? Now’s your chance! In the high season, luxury lodges can charge thousands of dollars per person per night! But travelers who are willing to endure a rain shower or two can save some serious cash and spare themselves from the hordes of tourists trying to get that perfect selfie with a hyena. November to April is considered Botswana’s off-season as there is more rain and greater vegetation - making it a little difficult to spot wildlife. However, this is the time of year when many animals are giving birth, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be able to catch baby Simba running around.
Thanks to Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik has blown up as Europe’s hottest travel destination. Everyone wants to take a picture at King’s Landing, and the crowds of tourists are threatening the city’s UNESCO status so much that the mayor has enacted limits on the number of cruises and tourists allowed during the peak summer season. Plan your trip around the winter off-season, when streets are empty and the city is yours to explore. Walk the historic Dubrovnik walls without jostling elbows with cruise goers, and enjoy the peaceful back alleys. Some stores might close up, but you’ll be able to find true local gems and experience the real soul of Dubrovnik, instead of the mask it puts on for tourists.
Explore everything Dubrovnik has to offer in our edition!
NAPA VALLEY, CA, USA
Peak wine tasting season occurs during Napa Valley’s harvest, which lasts from August to October. But many vineyards remain open and are far less crowded throughout the winter. Sure, you’ll miss out on the green rows of grapes stretching throughout the valley, but the wine will taste just as sweet - or maybe sweeter with several wineries offering delicious specials and low prices. Most tours and tastings will be far less crowded, and you’ll be able to drink your pinot in peace.