It was muddy. It was snowy & cold. Sometimes when the trails were blissfully free of the squelching mud, it was only because we were sinking in snow up to our knees. To make matters worse? It was May 1.
So why did we visit Colorado during the low season? Well, to have one of the best trips we’ve ever taken, that’s why!
Sure the weather was less than ideal, but apart from that, traveling to Colorado during the low season (a destination’s least popular time) was amazing. Here’s why you should consider making your next trip a low season trip:
I’d be willing to bet you’ve learned about supply and demand in school. (If not, I’m definitely not the person to teach it to you, so you should look it up.)
When you travel during the low season, demand for lodging is low. This is great news for you, because you can save quite a bit!
We stayed in a condo owned by my parents, and we were the only people in our condo building. Rental companies and condo-owners don’t want their condos not making money! They want to get some amount of money out of it—otherwise it’s just sitting there wasting away. The same is true for all lodging-owners everywhere during low season. They want to make a profit, even if it’s smaller than during high season.
It’s Less Crowded
Let’s get something straight: I would pay more money for a place to be less crowded, but you get to have your cake and eat it too during the low season! I’ve also experienced the magic of the low season in Disney World. Do you know how amazing it is to be able to go on Expedition Everest three times, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad four times, and Space Mountain twice ALL IN THE SAME DAY?!
And let’s take my husband for example. He loves to go hiking, but he loves hiking best when he feels totally isolated from the rest of civilization. On our honeymoon we visited Rocky Mountain National Park, and since that was over the summer, we did not feel isolated. But this time, during mud season, it was rare to not be able to just stop on our hike and listen to silence.
Authentic has kind of lost all meaning these days, but it really best describes the experiences of a low season trip. One night at dinner we ate at a restaurant where local kids were dining before prom.
And we interacted with several locals on our trails.
(By which of course I mean animals.)
Never before have I been so close to a moose. Not that I wasn’t terrified (though I needn’t have been), but it was certainly something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
It’s a Unique Experience
If I had known the time we chose to visit Colorado this year was called “mud season,” before I booked the plane tickets, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to go. There’s nothing beautiful & striking about a season devoted to mud.
But it was absolutely worth it!
I saw landscapes I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I saw animals up close I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The only sacrifices I had to make were warmer weather and one restaurant I wanted to go to that was “Closed for Mud Season.” To top it all off, I even got that magical feeling of actually getting away on a vacation, instead of that special vacation stress of dealing with crowds. You won’t get all the experiences a high season trip offers, but I guarantee it will be just as wonderful.
The low season of a destination is great, but it does take some extra thought to ensure your happiness.
How Can You Make Your Low Season Trip Better?
1) Do your research. (Or get your travel agent to do the research for you.) There are lots of reasons a destination might be in its low season: weather, typical vacation time of locals. Make sure you are prepared for whatever low season brings.
2) Have a plan. Ever the planner, I think this is important for every trip, low season or not. Stores and attractions might still be open during the low season, but they might have different operating hours. If you’ve got a plan, you won’t be stymied when you learn the place you wanted to go to dinner is only open for lunch during low season. (Been there, done that.)
3) Ask for advice, but take it with a grain of salt. Places that depend on tourism as their main form of income can have virtually nothing else going on when it’s low season. For example, cruise ports during hurricane season aren’t nearly the hustle and bustle you’d be used from the high season. You might prefer the calmness of a low season cruise port, but someone else who’s been before and expected the liveliness might not think it’s worth it.
4) Set different expectations. Low season trips are just as good (and sometimes better!) as high season trips, but they can be worse if you’re expecting the same weather, sights, and experiences. Washington D.C. is very popular in April and May when the cherry blossoms bloom, but if you go in March with the expectation to see cherry blossoms, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
As always, feel free to contact me to start booking your low season (or any season) trip!
Now get out there and go!