The last thing I want to do on vacation is pay inflated rates and stand in line with a hoard of other sightseers. Over the last few years, I’ve become a big fan of low-season travel and my latest trip is the perfect example.
After realizing that a roundtrip ticket to Istanbul would cost less than going home to the West Coast for Thanksgiving, my mind was made up. Visiting Turkey over the holiday week meant three things: 1. Fewer vacation days needed; 2. Fewer crowds; 3. I got to tell people that instead of eating turkey, I was going to Turkey (priceless).
One of the first things I looked at was the weather. Being a New Yorker, Istanbul’s mid 50s (10 ºC) climate didn’t seem so bad for November. While Turkey happens to have a relatively mild climate, other destinations can have extreme weather in the low season. Make sure to check the average temperatures for the destination you have in mind and be realistic about what you can handle.
If you like to travel in style but you don’t want to pay premium rates, the low season is the time to go. I love a bargain so staying at luxury hotels all across Turkey for an average of $100 per day was a huge bonus, especially since those same hotels charge $300 or more per night in the crowded summer season.
Finally, even the most popular sites were a breeze to get in to. I covered three of Istanbul’s top attractions in the same day with no more than a five-minute wait at each. I was able to walk through the ornate mosques and sprawling museums without having to dodge tourists at every turn.