It’s the phrase you dread to hear when you’ve just booked a holiday ‘peak season’. The thing about peak season is it usually has the best weather and is during the most convenient times of the year to travel ( christmas, summer, school holidays). It’s pretty much impossible to avoid it all of your life and whilst I’m a HUGE advocate for travelling ‘off peak’ (mostly because I’m broke and hearing too many Australian accents outside of Australia drives me mad) the reality is, at some point in your life it will become unavoidable. I recently visited Croatia right smack bang in the middle of peak tourist season and I thought that qualifies me to write a listicle on the topic.
The Survival Guide For Traveling in Peak Season
How to survive travelling in peak tourist season:
#1 Plan ahead
Duh. This goes without saying. If you’re going to visit ANYWHERE in the peak tourist season then you need to be organised. I’m usually a ‘rock up and see what happens’ kind of traveller (which has resulted in nights spent sleeping at bus stops) but visiting anywhere in peak season means you need to plan ahead. Like 2 months ahead. This whole planning ahead concept was relatively new to me but as I watched the amazing places I wanted to stay fill up I realised I needed to get my shit together. Put together an itinerary, book your accommodation and deal with it. If you want the’ free and easy go where the wind takes me travel’ then organise it when the place you’re visiting isn’t full of other holidaymakers. Otherwise it’s bus stop accommodation and long lines for you.
#2 Airbnb all the way!
Staying in a hotel is so 2004. Get with the times and get onto Airbnb. I’ve been able to stay in some incredible locations for ¼ of the price of a hotel in the same spot. Sure, the prices go up during peak season too but only a tiny amount compared to the price jump you will see in hotels. Not only do you get a great deal, but you get to live like a local, enjoy the entire space to yourself and fulfill all of your inner sticky beak desires of looking inside someone’s house. I have a pinterest board of ideas I’ve gathered from staying in different Airbnb’s. There’s also the option of renting a private room in someone's house. This is stupidly cheap and also a great way to see how the locals live and have a local show you around. I’ve made some great friends through this process. Airbnb seems to attract decent people. So far, no weirdos for me.
#3 Budget accordingly
Things are always going to be more expensive during the peak season. Heck, if I was a cafe having to deal with 1000 more obnoxious tourists a day I’d raise my prices too! Be prepared to pay a little more for things but don’t waste your money! Shop where the locals shop and try to eat where they eat. The local approach will help you avoid the ‘tourist tax’ so you can spend your pennies on happy hour. ;) The best way to find out where the locals eat? Don’t read the lonely planet! Jump on google and look it up. I find it helps to google ‘best restaurants or markets in *insert amazing location where you are holidaying* but in the local language. You can use google translate to help you. You should find yourself looking at the Broadsheet or Time Out of that particular place and et voila! Local places to eat!
#4 Find somewhere off the tourist trail and enjoy a break
This is the most important tip FOR YOUR OWN SANITY! Tourists are exhausting. They push, take photos of everything, ask you to take photos of them, get in the way of your photos, photobomb your selfies, I could go on and on.. tourists are the worst but hey, you are one so embrace it. If you’re planning a big trip (more than 2 weeks) then chances are you’re going to get pretty tired of crowds and lining up for everything. Schedule some down time in a smaller village or town (depending where in the world you are) and chill. Chances are you’ll have a more authentic local experience and you won’t go completely insane. It’s win win.
What’s your tips for travelling during the peak season times? Share them in the comments below!