If you aren’t restricted to only traveling during the school vacations, you’ll find that traveling out of season has many advantages. In this article, you’ll discover all the advantages and tips of traveling in the low season, ranging from the savings you’ll make and the smaller crowds, through to the opportunity to travel peacefully and have better encounters with local communities. It’s time to get inspired for your next home exchange!

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What do we mean by off-season travel?

The low tourist season, which is ideal for low-cost travel.

Travel off season

Traditionally, the low tourist season, also called “off-season”, refers to the periods of time outside the school vacations. During the summer, fall, winter and spring breaks, families who have to match their vacations to their childrens’ flock to seaside and ski resorts, which leads to tourist attractions becoming overwhelmed and a consequent rise in prices.

The low season for weather: something to be considered in certain cases

Lapland at night

Not to be confused with the traditional off-season, the low season for weather corresponds to the period when it is less advisable to travel to a country for climate-related reasons (low or high temperatures, very short days, monsoons...). While it may be a good idea to avoid rubbing shoulders with too many tourists by traveling slightly before or after the peak periods, it obviously isn’t advisable to travel to a country when the average temperature is 45°C (115°F) in the shade all month long! As for the monsoon season, it's perfectly reasonable to risk one or two hours of heavy rain over the course of a day, and still enjoy the country. From museums and restaurants to  massages and reading, there's no shortage of things to do, even when it's raining!

Similarly, visiting Lapland in the middle of winter when the sun sets at 4pm is obviously different from experiencing the midnight sun, but can still be quite enjoyable. Just think, you could enjoy board games by the fire and a sauna to recover from a great day's snowshoeing!

If you're looking for inspiration, Where and When website can give you some good tips.

Why off-season travel is a good way to save money

Cheaper train tickets

Travel by train off season

It's always advisable to be flexible when looking for transport. Being able to leave just 1 or 2 days before or after the 1st day of a long weekend or school vacation will save you a lot of money!

Traveling during the low season, and especially midweek, will also give you the best deals, with savings of 25% to 50% on average, compared to tickets bought at full price!

If you can't arrange a car swap with your host, you'll also find it easier to rent a car for a lower price. Last but not least, the roads will be much less congested than during the traditional vacation rush!

Low-cost activities

Scuba diving off-season

In addition to transportation, many activities are offered at a premium rate during the high season, only to drop drastically as soon as demand lessens

Whether you’re keen to try a diving course, take some cooking classes, or go on an excursion or two, there are so many activities to enjoy, especially with the money you'll have saved by doing a home exchange rather than paying for accommodation. In some parts of the world, it’s even acceptable to negotiate on prices, obviously making sure it’s still a fair deal for everyone!

Better conditions for your visit

Chichen Itza in Mexico during the off-season

Of course, one of the best reasons to travel in the low season is to be able to enjoy exceptional sites, virtually on your own!

Angkor Wat, the majestic pyramids of Chichen Itza in Mexico, and the Nabataean city of Petra are often crowded in peak seasons. But by traveling in the low season (and making sure you get going earlier in the day), you will be able to discover all these renowned places in the best possible conditions.

Just be sure to find out in advance about the opening times of tourist sites and activities, which may be modified and reduced (or even closed!) outside the tourist season.

Additionally, traveling out of season will allow you to discover destinations in a whole new light - even places you’ve been to before! The beautiful Alps in the fall, or the peaceful Cap Ferret villages in winter are definitely worth a visit.

The chance to meet new people and travel like a local, in a relaxed, easy-going way!

Travel off-season to avoid the crowd

The main drawback of high-season travel? The stress of traffic jams on the road, endless queues to get to cultural sites, museums, and restaurants, and exhausted and noisy families and children. All of which are a formidable combination that can spoil a long-awaited vacation!

Fewer visitors means less stress, both for you and for the locals, who will give you an even warmer welcome! It's often difficult for locals to cope with the busy tourist season, and if you're looking for a more leisurely way of seeing the sights, taking your time and meeting the locals, then low-season travel is for you!

Last but not least, traveling out of season also means greater flexibility, as places and activities are less crowded, making it easier for you to plan at the last minute and modify your plans to suit your mood!

Home exchange in the low season

What is home exchanging?

Home swapping with HomeExchange

Home exchanging is a practice dating back to the 50s (!) where people agree to exchange their apartment or house, for a period of their choice.

Thanks to its GuestPoints system, HomeExchange has created the possibility of reciprocal and non-reciprocal exchanges. For example, you could host a Breton family in exchange for GuestPoints, and then in turn use the GuestPoints you have accrued to stay with another host in Corsica.

How does HomeExchange work?

Why traveling in the low season can help you make exchanges more easily

Traveling in the low season can help you make exchanges more easily

During the high season, many families on our site are looking for an exchange, as it's school vacations. As our community includes a large number of parents with children, there is understandably a lot of demand at this time, and therefore more competition for available homes.

It's also possible that members rent out their properties during the high season, particularly in the case of second homes. Even though values of sharing are key in our community, some members may choose to rent out their homes from time to time, particularly to cover utilities, or simply to round off the end of the month.

Going during the low season will therefore increase your chances of finding an exchange, as there are fewer requests and therefore a greater chance of success!

Convinced? Now's the time to find your next HomeExchange... off season, of course!

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