Traveling during Europe’s off season, from September to May, means a more relaxed trip with fewer tourists, less expense and a greater opportunity to enjoy the culture of the cities you choose to visit. However, you will have more rain, less daylight and have to pack heavier clothing. To enjoy the off season you have to overcome the few disadvantages and enjoy the overwhelmingly positive aspects of traveling during this time.
Researching European countries and cities before you go will help to better guarantee your satisfaction. For example, off season for the Mediterranean means the rainy season with a lot of daylight showers. Some European cities, like Italy’s Bologna have overcome this with an system of covered streets so tourists can go from one side of the city to the other without getting soaked. Germany and Switzerland are beautiful winter destinations. The Internet offers abundant information on where to go and what to see during the off season.
European travel during the off season is much easier than during the tourist season. The Rail offers a great way to travel Europe, while stretching your legs in ample space or taking a nap in a sleeper car. The cost will be less in off season, too. You can buy a travel pass for weeks or months depending on your needs. If you don’t want to foot the bill for the Rail, the bus is always a good choice, less luxurious than the Rail by far, but very accommodating. You can even hop a flight between countries for less than $100 during the off season.
Off season travel provides many opportunities for cultural interactions with the locals because there are less tourist to clog up the works. Europe doesn’t shut down because there are fewer tourists. In fact, they crank up some of their own cultural activities, such as the winter opera season and winter festivals. The museums still offer wonderful exhibits and they are a great way to escape the weather on a cold, rainy winter’s day. The off season takes a bit of creativity to maneuver but many travelers prefer it that way.
The off season can be a bit unsafe when traveling to European countries, because of the weather. It is highly recommended that travelers purchase travel insurance before they go. Being injured in a vehicular accident because of bad weather can cost a big price for emergency services, care at a hospital, or even medical evacuation back home. Travel medical insurance will take care of the costs if you are unfortunate and have an accident during your European vacation.