This may be obvious to everyone, but the current state of travel has mandated a shift in how we think about timing and destinations. So far this year I have had two perfect off-peak trips to Europe and I don’t know if I can ever slot back into the life of a high season traveler.
I didn’t really start to travel seriously until I was on my own as an adult. This had the benefit of helping me form travel habits which are completely built on personal goals and perspectives. I was never a person who wanted to go to every country on the planet, my goal has always been to travel narrow and deep. I want to understand a place by going there repeatedly — to attempt to see it as a local. (Though I know I will never truly get there without living in a certain place.) This is why I went to the same cities over and over, and why I attempted to spend part of every summer in the same small town in Maine or on the same Italian island. There were always minor considerations to be made to avoid the most hectic moments. I wouldn’t dare travel to Southern Europe in August when everyone from the continent is there taking their government-mandated holidays. Though small adjustments were made I generally didn’t feel the need to really reverse commute until now. This year I have discovered just how great off-season travel can be and now I know just how much I need to reconsider travel plans going forward.
Making a shift to off peak.
If you’ve been to a popular summer beach destination in the fall or winter you know how enjoyable the off season can be. Summer travel is extra insane now post covid which makes the success of my last two off-peak trips stand out even more than they would have normally. I’m here to say that if you aren’t already considering traveling the low season let this be a word of consideration.
We talk about it a lot on Central Division, but Delta has me all-in on the Diamond Status Industrial Complex and its $20,000 annual MQD spend. That said, I’m never going to willingly spend $10K for business class to Europe. 18 hours of pain in main cabin would not convince me to drop that kind of money on a flight. When it comes to hotels I would prefer not to pay more than $500, a number which almost seems comically low for any decent hotel now. This is the new pricing reality when it comes to the high season now. I’m starting to think that we’re not peak people anymore. We aren’t suckers. We don’t fight the crowds or pay unreasonable rates — we’re low season people now.