Off Season And Not Offbeat Is The New Travel Trend You Need To Follow

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A decade ago hamlets like Dharamshala and Ziro were the offbeat destinations where only 'real' travellers ventured to. These palaces were not on the regular maps and only a few people wanted to explore these off the path getaways. However, with the rise in travel and tourism, hardly any places are really 'offbeat' anymore. From the last village in Indian Himalayas (Chitkul) to the tip of Indian subcontinent (Andaman islands) no place is unconventional anymore. We have gone to all corners of our country and have had the good fortune of visiting every place in this vast country.

So, what is offbeat anymore? How do we enjoy a place without the usual influx of tourists crowding the sights and roads and hotels? How do we get a place, all to ourselves, without the crowds? Your answer lies in a term that has been around for really long, but never utilised - off season!

Reasons to travel during off season

Before 'online' became the norm, off season was something that a lot of people depended on to manage budget travel. Flights were cheaper, hotels were cheaper and the crowds were fewer. But with online booking platforms and offers on stays and modes of transport, people stopped looking at doing anything off season. But I believe it's time to look again at this trend and cash in on it in the best manner possible.

Cheaper accommodations

Yes, there are options of Airbnbs and hostels and other cheap accommodations but you have to agree with me that in peak or high seasons even the local homestays charge higher than usual. When I went to Ziro in September, at the time of Ziro festival of music, the most popular thing to do in that town, a simple homestay with one bed in a room and a shared bathroom was also charging ₹800 - ₹1,000 a night. In contrast, when I travelled to Gwalior, in June, it was off season and a room in the Taj Usha Kiran Palace (5-star Taj property) costed me only ₹4,000 a night for double occupancy, with breakfast.

Photo of Off Season And Not Offbeat Is The New Travel Trend You Need To Follow 2/6 by Aakanksha Magan
Taj Usha Kiran Palace, Gwalior. Credits: Booking.com

Friendlier Locals

Over-tourism is a genuine problem that disrupts the life of locals and it can lead to resentment towards tourists. Imagine being a local in Ladakh during the month of June, when every person you can imagine is visiting your small town, wanting to click a picture of you for Instagram likes and then just moving on without giving you a second thought? During off season it's easier to connect with locals because you are not disrupting their routines and they are also happier to share a slice of their life with you.

Photo of Off Season And Not Offbeat Is The New Travel Trend You Need To Follow 3/6 by Aakanksha Magan
Credits: Arian Zwegers

Shorter lines and fewer crowds

If you are visiting places like Paris or Udaipur, where you wish to go see the Eiffel Tower and click a picture of the city from the top of City Palace in Udaipur, peak season is definitely not the right time. The popular tourist attractions are full of, well, tourists and getting a picture might just be the biggest adventure you tackle. Off season guarantees lesser crowds at famous places, no irritating and unasked for photobombs and a calmer atmosphere at attractions.

More flexibility

Traveling during peak season usually means you have to plan ahead and book buses, trains, tours, and even popular restaurants beforehand. Additionally, tickets to popular sites like museums, temples, cathedrals, and tours can be fully booked. When you travel in off season you have the freedom to change your schedule on a whim and not suffer the consequence of paying more for a bus ticket or having to take a 2:00 am train because of lack of availability.

Surprising experiences

Visiting destinations outside of high season means you’re more likely to see a side of that location that many travellers don’t ever get to see. Whether it’s experiencing a tropical storm in Koh Rong, Cambodia in August, or a misty morning in Halong Bay in Vietnam, you are bound to see something most tourists never will. This doesn't necessarily mean that you are missing out on things, it just means that you get to have an offbeat experience in a popular tourist spot.

Photo of Off Season And Not Offbeat Is The New Travel Trend You Need To Follow 6/6 by Aakanksha Magan
Cloudy Halong Bay. Credits: Jody McIntyre

So when’s the off season for some popular Indian destinations?

January to March

January to March are some months when almost all of India is perfect to visit. From the snowy mountains of Gulmarg to the pleasant seaside towns of Pondicherry and the royal vistas of Rajasthan, almost all of India is overwhelmingly covered with tourists. It's during these months that you may find it difficult to have a vacation without the crowds.

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Leh by Aakanksha Magan

So, try exploring Leh in January, where you can walk on a frozen Pangong, or visit Leh’s most famous monasteries Thiksey and Hemis sans any crowds.

Credits: Wiki

Photo of Upper Dzongu Forest Block, Sikkim, India by Aakanksha Magan

Or visit Dzongu, in north Sikkim in February. You can go for an early morning trek with to see the snow covered Kanchenjunga peak or enjoy other local attractions like Rongyung Chu River and the Tholung Monastery.

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India by Aakanksha Magan

Visit Tuticorin in March, when the temperatures just start rising and crowds start thinning. Explore the beautiful colonial architecture, the stunning seaside ports and Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.

April to June

The summer months bring scorching afternoons in central India and hordes of crowd in North East and Northern parts of India. So, avoid the over crowded Himachal and Sikkim and instead opt for the underrated Madhya Pradesh or unexplored Orissa.

Credits: Wikim

Photo of Nicobar Islands by Aakanksha Magan

Visit Nicobar, the smaller island of the Andaman archipelago, in April when the beaches are crowd free and the rich bio-diversity is all yours to explore. Enjoy some solitude by the beach or chill with the Olive Ridley turtles.

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Periyar National Park, Kerala, India by Aakanksha Magan

Visit Periyar National Park in May, when the monsoon are just beginning and the wildlife is easy to spot! Take a boat ride in the Periyar river, through the jungle and spot birds, elephants and other wildlife.

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India by Aakanksha Magan

Visit Khajuraho in June, when the temperature may be soaring but the temples will be practically crowd free. You can explore them at your own pace and without any interference from the regular crowds.

July to September

The monsoons in India are when people flock to Western Ghats and to the drenched state of Meghalaya. So give them a miss and instead visit the royal state of Rajasthan or the coastal state of Tamil Nadu.

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Aakanksha Magan

Visit Auroville in July, where you can unwind and relax, meditate in isolation of volunteer with them. Auroville requires no pre-planning and encourages you to be spontaneous.

Credits: Wikimedia Com

Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Aakanksha Magan

Visit Udaipur in August, when the white city turns green. Periodic showers turn this desert oasis into a green wonderland and the views from Monsoon Palace or Sajjan Garh Fort are beyond beautiful.

Credits: Wikimedia Comm

Photo of Binsar, Uttarakhand, India by Aakanksha Magan

Visit the lazy Uttarakhand hamlet Binsar in September. This sleepy town will be painted is rustic shades of fading sunlights and inky skies. Trek inside the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary or learn the art of doing nothing.

October to December

The last three months of the year offer cooling temperatures and surge in tourists. It is this time when even the most offbeat places like Majuli in Assam or Bundi in Rajasthan witness crowds. So where to go? Read on to know.

Credits: Adam Greig

Photo of HEMIS NATIONAL PARK by Aakanksha Magan

Visit Jammu and Kashmir's Hemis National Park in October. The view of snow covered peaks, rivers and lakes is priceless. It is also the best weather to go for a tough but exciting trek.

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Hampi, Karnataka, India by Aakanksha Magan

Visit Hampi in November when the mornings are pleasant enough to ride a bicycle around town and the evenings are perfect to spend an hour or two lazing on the banks of Tungabhadra River.

Credits: Punit Sharma

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aakanksha Magan

Visit Manali in December when the temperatures are low and the entire city is dressed in snow. You will miss out on Rohtang pass, but places like the gorgeous Solang valley are perfect to explore during December.

Do you have more insights on offseason travel in India? Or around the world? Write about your travel adventures or share your tips on Tripoto today!

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