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One of the best things about traveling full time in your RV? You can go absolutely anywhere any time you wish! For many, this means hitting up the warmer destinations during the winter and heading north for the summer, but it can also mean that you take advantage of off season travel and all of the amazing perks that come along with it.
Not sure if off season travel is for you? You’ve come to the right place! Here we will discuss all of the amazing benefits of off season travel, as well as some of the drawbacks that may make it a less desirable option.
What is Off Season Travel?
Before we continue, let’s pause for a second to talk a bit about what off season travel is. Some may assume we mean traveling outside of summer vacation, and depending on the location, this can be exactly what we mean by off season travel. That said, this isn’t the only thing ‘off season’ means.
If you’re traveling to a ski destination, the off season would be during the late fall and early spring, when the ski slopes are open but the holiday crowds aren’t filling them up. If you’re headed to Disney World, off season would be the months of September and January when crowd levels are lowest. Meanwhile, beaches tend to see the lowest crowds in the winter, and this can be a great time to visit if you happen to be in the south.
Essentially, to travel during the off season means to travel when the crowd levels are lowest at your particular destination, meaning if you plan it right, you can actually be experiencing off season travel all year long!
Possibly the biggest perk of off season travel is the fact that you can avoid huge crowds. Want to visit Yosemite or Yellowstone? Go in the late spring and you’ll avoid the congestion caused by summer crowds. Hoping to see Acadia without the hordes? Stay through the leaf-peeping season for a spectacular show without all the crowds.
Avoiding crowds means fewer traffic jams and shorter lines, so you can spend less time waiting and more time having fun! It also means more peaceful hikes and more campsite availability, as well as more choices when it comes to boondocking spots.
In addition to avoiding large crowds, traveling during the slow season also means you’ll probably save some money. In order to draw people in, many RV parks actually lower their rates once peak season is over, meaning you’ll be able to save on camping fees, especially if you’re willing to stay for a few weeks or months.
Attractions will also offer discounts and lower rates during the off season. Many museums have ‘homeschool days’ in the fall where they lower rates for homeschoolers, and some beaches don’t require tags and passes during the slow season.
Enjoy a Slower Pace
Exploring a place when it’s crowded can feel overwhelming and even rushed. You might feel you have to keep moving so the next person can get a turn, and it might be hard to take everything in while navigating large crowds. Additionally, if you’re spending large amounts of money to stay in a particular location, you may be less inclined to stick around for a long time, meaning less time to see and do everything.
If you visit during the off season, you will likely be able to stay a bit longer thanks to more campsite availability and lower camping rates. On top of that, with fewer crowds and shorter lines, you will be able to see more each day you are there. This slower pace is definitely a more relaxing way to experience a place.
See Authentic Versions of Destinations
As RVers, we are all about experiencing new places and things. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get a good feel for the personality of a place when it’s overly crowded.
During off season, things slow down, the locals can relax a little, and the true colors of the location can shine through. You might get to chat with the people who live there, and if you’re able to stay a while, you might even make some friends.
On top of all that, natural areas will empty out, so you can fully enjoy the natural beauty and peace they offer without interruption.
The Cons of Off Season Travel
Of course, there are also a few cons that come along with off season travel. For some these will be deal breakers, but in our opinion, the benefits of off season travel often outweighs the drawbacks.
The biggest drawback of traveling during the slow season? The weather. In many cases, the best weather in a given location happens during the peak travel season—that’s part of why so many people are going there, after all. This means you might have to give up the idea of bright, sunny days and pack an umbrella if you want to experience off season travel. That said, this isn’t always true. In some places—ski destinations being a good example—the weather is actually better during the off season.
Another big con of visiting a place during the slow season is that some shops, restaurants, campgrounds, and attractions will close once peak season ends. This means you may not get to see and do everything you had hoped during your visit. Be sure to do your research so you know what will be open during your off season adventure.
As you can probably tell, we think off season travel is often the best way to go. Visit some beaches in May, head out skiing in March, and go hiking in Yosemite in October. You’ll likely be charmed by the character that shines through without the hassle and bustle, and we’re betting you’ll have an absolute blast!
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