By Julia O’Connor

Don’t get me wrong, some aspects to off-season travelling are a little off-putting. The weather being a little crappy, depending on where you travel you might not be able to swim or skydive and you might come back from your trip the exact same skin colour as from when you left. BUT put all of those minor flaws aside because travelling during off-season has some MAJOR perks!

CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP

No tanning? No problem! Tours and activities are SO MUCH CHEAPER. It’s no surprise that during peak touring season companies jack up their prices on hostels, hotels and tours because, well, money… But all you have to do is pack a rain jacket, some boots and maybe an umbrella so you can save a butt ton of money AND do the exact same things you’d do during peak season. You can tan anywhere guys, let’s go do things!

CROWDS BE GONE

There’s nothing worse than waiting your whole life to go to the Trevi Fountain in Italy only to arrive and realize that everyone else has waited their whole lives for the exact same thing. Crowds can be a huge bummer, especially when all you want to do is soak in the beauty of something but all you get is people’s elbows and blurry pictures. Travelling during off season minimizes these crowds and lets you enjoy the sights and tourist attractions without the tourists. It’s like your own private tour of a whole country!

VIP RIGHT THIS WAY PLEASE

Because of the lack of tourists and the unpopulated tours/attractions, you get a lot closer with your tour guides, leaders and hostel staff. This can lead to a number of different amazing things! Tour guides tend to give smaller tours a little bit extra and also like to have a lot more fun with you. Hostel employees are more likely to invite you out with them and give you a behind the scenes look at the city you’re staying in. And bars and clubs are SO much easier to get in to. Travelling during off season is the closest I’ve come to feeling like a celebrity and you gotta chase that feeling.

GET TO KNOW THE LOCALS

Lastly, since there are less tourists, this is when the locals like to come out and experience their country. This makes it so much easier for you to meet the people who KNOW their country and can maybe give you some tips on the best restaurants and nightlife that you can’t find on Buzzfeed (also, locals throw some pretty wild house parties, so if you’re safe and not alone, definitely check it out if you get the chance). You learn a lot from tours, but there’s nothing like learning about a country from people who aren’t getting paid and genuinely enjoy sharing their stories.

I went to New Zealand during their winter and didn’t swim once, but still had the most amazing time and I know a lot of that had to do with it being off season. I came home (still in debt but that definitely had to do with my expensive taste in wine) a lot richer, a number of couches to crash on if I ever go back, and a second home country. Definitely try it once and if you absolutely hate it, then learn how to ski and puddle jump and try it again.

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