Season Pros & Cons] | [Off Season
Pros & Cons]
In planning my
"adventure," I came to the conclusion that the best way to avoid many of the
pitfalls of a first time backpacker is to travel in the off-season. Most backpackers
travel between the months of May-September (peaking in July). I decided the best
time for my trip would be during the fall months (September, October, and November).
The early spring months are also a good time for this type of travel (March, April,
May). Not only are there considerably fewer tourists during this time period, but
also many off-season discounts are available to travelers (especially in the months
One potential problem with
traveling during the off-season is that some attractions are closed or have restricted
hours. This I believe is only a minor setback, however, and can be easily overcome
with careful planning.
In planning your trip make sure to note when
attractions/sites will be open (most guidebooks will supply you with at least some of the
information you will need for this type of scheduling). If don't have the time to
thoroughly organize your trip, then try to be flexible with your time table (thereby
avoiding the disappointment that will come when you find that the changing of the guards
at Buckingham Palace will not take place the one day you have allotted yourself to spend
Pros and Cons of Peak Season
1. All attractions are open; many even
have extended hours.
2. All hostels are open; many have extended
curfews and open hours.
3. Frequent trains and buses.
4. You'll meet lots of fellow
5. The weather is warmer, depending on where
you travel (swimming and sunbathing!).
6. You won't have to pack heavy winter
1. Attractions are crowded.
2. Hostels are crowded and usually cost more.
3. Crowded trains and buses, and costs more
than in the off-season because some seat reservations will be needed.
4. You'll meet lots of tourists.
5. The weather will be warmer, depending on
where you travel (prepare to sweat!).
6. You will probably have to do laundry more
frequently (sweaty clothes--yuck!).
Pros and Cons of Off-Peak
Season Travel (Oct.-Apr.)
1. Most popular attractions are open and
less crowded; many have a reduced price.
2. Hostels are less crowded and often have a reduced price.
3. Less crowded trains and buses (less money
to spend on reservations!).
4. You'll meet lots of world-wide and
5. The weather will be cooler (not as much
sweating carrying that heavy pack).
6. You shouldn't have to do laundry as often,
if you aren't stinking up your clothes with sweat.
1. Some attractions are closed or have
2. Not as many hostels are open and sometimes
curfews are earlier.
3. Less frequent trains and buses.
4. Not as many backpackers--more groups
of rowdy school kids in hostels and at museums.
5. You'll need warmer/heavier clothes, which
can be bulky to pack.
6. You'll need to bring more clothes so that
you can layer up for warmth.