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Last updated February 07, 2016. 

When To Travel


Determining Your Itinerary When to Travel 
(high & low seasons)
Sample Itineraries
(work in progress)
Country Info Travel Books On-line info


[Peak 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 November-March).

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 in London).

Pros and Cons of Peak Season Travel (May-Sept.) 


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 backpackers/travelers.
5.  The weather is warmer, depending on where you travel (swimming and sunbathing!).
6.  You won't have to pack heavy winter clothing.


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 domestic travelers.
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 restricted hours.
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.



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