Truth be told, I don’t really like to travel to a destination or location when the ‘whole world’ is there. Give me off season, locals and a sense of calm. Forget Mardi Gras or the Olympics or any other must see event. I prefer to see a place, visit a place for what it really is and not because of the tourists that make it so. Of course, this sort of goes against what I do for a living—sending clients all over the world for new encounters, adventures and thrills. And, there is also the argument that experiencing an event and sharing it with thousands of other people can be quite exhilarating.
Off season generally correlates with less desirable or predictable weather and loosely forms around school schedules, think Prague in January, Costa Rica in September or Fiji in February. Off season often translates into lower pricing, too. There’s rarely a need to pre-book local tours or excursions and hardly a reason to make dinner reservations. Off season allows for serendipity.
In thinking through some of my past off season trips I fondly remember snow dusted roof tops in Strasbourg in November, peaceful Italian Riviera beach towns in May, and magical and picturesque Quebec City during Thanksgiving. I’ve seen spectacular late afternoon thunderstorms in September in Negril, Jamaica and in early April a surprising mid-day slice of sunshine in Galway, where temperatures topped out at 65 degrees and the shopkeepers closed up their stores to go surfing. And I’ll never forget walking across the frozen reflecting pool from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.
While the streets, villages and beaches may have been all but empty, the bistros, restaurants and pubs were humming, typically filled to the brim with those hoping to escape the rain or cold or just looking for friends. So I join the folks at the bar or find a cozy table and hang out with the locals and a sprinkling of fellow travelers.
Later in November I’m traveling to Turkey, in the off season. – Rochelle, October 18, 2013