Betsy Sell : Hello! I am Betsy Sell from AAA Travel and today we are discussing the basics of international travel. Let's talk about how to take advantage of off-season travel. There are really three travel seasons: peak, off season and shoulder season, the period between the off and high season. There are many advantages to traveling during the off-season and also some drawbacks. You need to consider both on planning your vacation. Determine if the advantages and the cost savings outweigh the disadvantages or any limitations of traveling during the off-season. Travel seasons vary by destination, time of year and activities. For example, off-season for Europe is typically the winter. However, if you are skiing or visiting a skiing area in Europe, the off-season will be summer. Remember that weather conditions are reversed between the northern and the southern hemispheres. Research the weather conditions for off-season. How cold does it get? How hot? How much rainfall is expected and is there a stormy season? The advantages of off-season travel include cheaper airfares, cruises, tours and hotels. You have a better chance of getting a last minute special to fill vacancies. There are fewer tourists, shorter lines and reduced entrance fees for attractions. You may also experience some more relaxed space of sight scene as you generally do not have to get up early to beat the crowds. Off-season also provides greater availability of travel dates.
Whether is less favorable in the off-season, so be sure to pack accordingly. It is easier and lighter to pack for warmer weather. If it is cooler or weather is uncertain, you will need more choices and heavier clothes. Other disadvantages include fewer daylight hours for sightseeing and tourist resources that are not as widely available, and some attractions closed earlier or completely during the off-season. The key to planning an off-season vacation is research. Once you have selected a destination, speak with your travel agent to find out if an off-season vacation is right for you. Find out exactly what conditions are like. Is it worth the savings to you to travel in the off-season? Is the trade off of limited daylight sightseeing hours for available evening, cultural or dining experiences worth it. If the weather in the off-season is too severe for you, consider traveling during the shoulder season. The savings are not as great but you will still have many of the advantages of both off and on season travel. So that's the basics of the advantages of off-season travel. Next we will talk with you about how to stay in touch during an international vacation.