The “high season.” That one time of year when it seems like
all the tourists in the world descend upon whatever destination you happen to
be visiting. It's often during the summer, when hot weather and slow service
can make crowds of tourists doubly horrible.
But, sometimes you can't help when you have time to travel.
Maybe you have kids and school calendars to work around. Maybe your work
schedule only allows you to take extended time off during certain times of
year. Maybe you stumble across a deal that is just too good to pass up.
Traveling during high season doesn't HAVE to be a negative
thing. In fact, there are some simple steps to take to make your high-season
holiday more enjoyable.
Book in advance
If you know you can only travel to the Greek Islands in the
middle of summer or that your kids will only be home from college in between
Christmas and New Year's, that means that you should know well in advance when
and where you can travel. Booking things like flights and accommodation as far
out as possible for high-season travel will often guarantee you the best prices
and deals (not to mention remove a lot of the stress from the whole process).
Consider alternatives to hotels
Speaking of booking accommodation, don't feel like you HAVE
to book a hotel. During the high season, hotels in many cities raise their
prices exponentially (I mean, have you ever tried to look for hotels in Munich
for Oktoberfest?), citing higher demand as the reason why. If you want to avoid
these price increases but can't change your travel dates, consider some
alternatives to hotels. Look for smaller guest houses outside the main downtown
area; check into more upscale hostels (they're spreading across Europe these
days and will likely surprise you); or consider renting a room or short term
Plan your sightseeing
If you find yourself in a major tourist destination during
the high season, plan out your sightseeing strategically. Do a little sleuthing
to find out when the “quiet” times are, or whether you can reserve times for
certain attractions. In many cases, early morning is the least-crowded time at
many popular attractions – meaning you should consider traveling with an alarm
clock. In other destinations (Dubrovnik, Croatia being a great example), crowds
are usually day-trippers, and the cities themselves can actually be quiet and
pleasant in the evenings.
Visit smaller cities
And at the end of the day, if you don't like the idea of
sharing your travel experience with large crowds of strangers, perhaps consider
getting more off the beaten path. Skip the huge cities and major tourist
attractions when you know everyone else will be visiting them. Head to smaller,
lesser-known destinations instead. For example, skip places like Venice and
Paris in the summer months, and check out cities like Warsaw and Budapest
What are your best tips for high season travel?