Archive for July 27th, 2008

There is no one "travel season".

There is no one "travel season".

With destinations in mind it is now important to figure out how long the trip will be and what time of year to travel. The length of the trip could be determined by how much vacation time is available (be it from a job or from a school) or by how much money is available. When I traveled I was limited by time, I left after classes finished and had to return when final exams started. Others who I met (mainly Australians and New Zealanders) were traveling around until they ran out of money. I am writing mostly to those constrained by a time limit more so then a monetary limit but I will write about it towards the end of this series.

When you place your trip could already be determined or slightly flexible. If it is already determined then the direction of the trip becomes important. My trip through Europe started on Easter and ended in April. I could have started in the north and worked my way down to Italy except that I had two seasonal events determine the flow of my trip. The first was that I wanted to be in Italy (Florence in particular) for Easter and the second was that I wanted to be in The Netherlands when the tulips were blooming (mid April). So these seasonally dependent events determined the flow of my trip. So when picking out destinations look for festivals or holidays in those locations and plan the trip to follow those events.

Some events to consider:

Those are the ones I can recommend from going myself of being there near those dates. Since I was not in Europe during the summer I don’t know good events around then.

If you are able to pick when your trip will take place then seasons and weather patterns might guide when you go. Since I did not have much choice of when to go I could have had bad luck but I almost always had good weather. Any weather can be good weather if you are prepared for it. I visited Copenhagen in December, it was 1 degree Celsius (34 degree Fahrenheit) the entire time. It rained the entire time I was in Italy and Florence in March. I was rained on at St. Andrews. But I was prepared for bad weather in each case and still had a great time. I have never really had the opportunity to travel “in season”, I have mostly gone out in the shoulder or off seasons. With the right clothes and maybe an umbrella or two traveling to Europe can be done any time (though some places do close in winter due to snow). 

In some countries, such as Scotland, the possibility of rain does not really change at any point during the year. Weather also changes faster then normally expected (for me at least). So if the day starts of clear and sunny rain may still be on its way. Every day for nine months I carried a small umbrella with me just in case, I never regretted it.

The best tip I received was to have militant optimism while traveling. Everything is an experience.

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