Just as April showers inevitably lead to May flowers, June brings out the tourists. As a stock photographer with a passion for travel, I always find it challenging to get great shots without my fellow tourists in the way. I work around that by traveling off-season. Travelling in the off-seasons provides me the opportunity to enjoy places without the rush and distraction of a typical tourist’s frenzy.
The first thing to consider when booking a trip is when are the peak times for your chosen destination. For instance, when looking to book a cruise it is best to avoid booking from late-June to early-September. That is if you want to take pictures without the ubiquitous Mickey Mouse ears from wandering tour groups in every shot.
Destination holidays are also becoming very popular. Look to avoid resorts during the weeks of Christmas, Easter, Spring Break, and most national holidays like Thanksgiving. I find that the weeks prior to or immediately following major holidays tend to be much less crowded. As an added benefit, prices are lower on these dates as well!
So what do you do during those peak travel times? Try a Staycation instead. Be a tourist in your own backyard. Find those out of the way museums, zoos, aquariums, etc. that you’ve always wanted to visit but have seemed to have the time fo or simply enjoy the natural wonders in your area.
And there are fewer places on this earth filled with more natural wonder than America’s National Parks. Unfortunately theyhave become extremely overcrowded as a result. Tourists measured annually in the thousands when the parks first opened are now measured annually in the millions. Look to book your trip very early or very late in the season. Just try to avoid National Parks Week where attendance is free in most parks around the United States. Also try to avoid Spring Break and the Easter holidays in the spring.
But careful planning can leave you with the wide-open spaces the parks were designed to enjoy. Check out nps.gov for information on all of America’s National Parks.
Take a contrarian view. Niagara Falls is teaming with tourists during the summer, but provides a winter wonderland for the intrepid traveller who knows how to dress warmly during the colder months. A ski jump in Austria becomes a summer training ground for future Olympians with imaginative uses of AstroTurf and water. A little homework can yield some fabulous hidden gems far from the crowds.
Look to extended beach seasons long past Labor Day weekend to avoid the summer crowds. Temperatures usually remain moderate during the daylight hours through September and even early October– and who doesn’t enjoy a nightly bonfire by the shore after a day in the waves?
So hit the open road, and find your secret getaway when you travel in the off-season. You’ll avoid the hassle of crowds and get to experience wherever you may roam with an unfettered view and at a relaxed pace that makes a vacation worth taking in the first place!
Karen Foley is a professional freelance stock photographer who loves to explore and write about it. See more of her work at Dreamstime.com.