Alternative seasons to explore the world.
Text: Heather Storgaard
In Denmark and much of Northern Europe, summer holidays are taken by almost everybody at the same time. While this allows for lots of hygge, meeting with family and friends and summer parties, it also causes soaring prices and travel chaos if you want to venture abroad. However, if your work and lifestyle allow for it, travelling outside this holiday season, in the spring or autumn, can offer many benefits.
What are you looking for in a holiday?
According to travel sentiment surveys, the most popular thing Danes say they want in a summer holiday is to feel connected to nature. Whether on a beach abroad or at a summer house in the Danish countryside, nature can easily be disturbed by the crowds that flock to it in July. Now, as the summer retreats and autumn is on the way, nature can really be enjoyed in tranquillity. In the later summer and early autumn, I feel the most at one with nature visiting forests, as the leaves turn yellow and golden, but the sun still has warmth. We are lucky that Denmark is so well connected, so weekend trips to neighbouring Sweden or Germany don't take too much travel time.
Most people say they also want to meet the locals when they travel, experiencing a new culture even if just for a short time. However, in many popular destinations, locals are fatigued from the many tourists who come in July and are not keen to engage with them. I also see this in the nearby town of Ebeltoft- locals' reactions to me speaking German for work or with friends change dramatically during the months when German camper vans descend upon the town! In contrast, if you travel earlier or later in the year, locals are more likely to take the time to get to know you, allowing you a more authentic glimpse into their everyday life.
Cost is also a significant factor in choosing a holiday, and travelling outside the primary July holiday season offers better value deals and availability. For example, if you wish to enjoy boutique hotels or unique experiences, you're much more likely to find them available in the spring or the autumn. The money you have saved can then be spent on cultural events, which typically don't take place during July, when theatres, opera houses and cultural centres also send their staff on a break.
Warm weather is also, understandably, a crucial factor for many people. I may be a little bit too Scottish here, but I have often found myself sweltering in the heat when I try to holiday during the high summer. However, travel to the south of Europe can offer high temperatures for much of the year, without the heat becoming dangerous or inconvenient. In the autumn, the sea will still be warm from the summer in many countries in the Mediterranean.
Major regional and long-distance airlines have been struggling this summer after two years of rollercoaster travel restrictions – it has made it hard for them to retain staff and aeroplanes. Now, it is hard for them to hire new staff, and the existing staff are demanding better conditions and pay as the cost of living continues to rise. As a result, Scandinavian SAS and German Lufthansa are two of the biggest airlines in the region that were striking over the summer. Hopefully, this situation improves as the demand for summer holidays starts to slow down.
Many travel companies offer better deals outside the peak season and will be happy to help you find a perfect destination. If you'd rather figure it out independently, many tourist boards also have content about enjoying their countries during this period. Finally, if you prefer podcasts, Low Season Traveller's Insider Guides podcasts give tips and impressions from travel professionals on precisely this theme!