As a homeschooling family we are not bound by the calendar of the local school district. Instead, we have the freedom to plan vacations and getaways when it works best for our family- typically around my husband’s work schedule. Since his work is normally slow during the winter, we’ve been able to experience the benefits of off season travel.
Here are a few things to consider when planning off season travel.
1. Call ahead to make sure that the attraction or location you plan to visit is open and verify the hours of operation.
Though you’ll find lighter crowds, you may also find out that the attraction or exhibit you traveled to see isn’t open or has reduced hours during these times. Amusement parks and theme parks often undergo routine maintenance during the off season. A quick call in advance can help to avoid potential disappointment later.
2. Make sure you check the weather forecast before you head out.
You may find that the local weather could really put a damper on your vacation. It could be too hot, too cold, too rainy, etc. We’ve traveled to the Smokey Mountains during the off-season and found some of the hiking trails inaccessible because some of the mountain roads are closed after a certain date. We also got a great deal on a cruise only to realize it sailed right in the middle of hurricane season.
3. Renovations also take place during the off-season.
Call the destination directly and ask if any renovations are planned. We once stayed in Virginia Beach during the off-season and didn’t realize until we arrived that our hotel was undergoing major renovations. Each day around 8:00 a.m. we were awakened to the sound of power tools as work began for the day. We accepted the power tools as a wake up call but if we had planned to sleep until noon each day of vacation, we may have felt differently.
Do you travel during the off season? What tips would you add to this list?