By Lilian Gaitho
Happy New Year!
If you just unpacked your rucksack from your Christmas vacation or still looking back and wondering ’how time flies’, then it’s time to think about your next adventure! I can already draw out the responses about school fees, pending bills and even inevitable dowry payments! However, the lining in the cloud is that flight and hotel rates are already taking a dip to where we all think they ought to be all year long. It’s off season in Kenya, and in most parts of the world, just the time to build up on the benefits of traveling low season, as listed below.
You can now fly!
Perhaps the only thing that stopped you from blowing new year fireworks in the exotic islands of Djerba in Tunisia are formidable flight charges? You’ll be surprised to realize that in a week’s time, and just before the Valentine Day fever hits folks, the same flight charges might go down by a good half! Early booking will even get you better rates, and as you may know, purchasing your order on an odd day, let’s say, like a random Tuesday will even get you bigger bargains depending on your airline of choice and desired destination.
Even upgrade to the presidential suite!
I do not mean to say that you should blow all your holiday savings on accommodation, but chances are the hotels will be half empty at the time of your check in, and what better time than this to sweet talk your way into an upgrade? I am of the thoughts that market demand and supply is the only rule that governs accommodation, save for dollar fluctuations. All factors constant, your ability to say the right things to the right authorities could end you up in the corner suite that would have remained a vague dream in the peak season.
No overcrowding- enjoy your space
Cyrus Onyiego, country Manager for Jumia Travel believes the greatest benefit of jaunting off-season is the ability to walk, march and dance freely; without any mortals pushing over cliffs, or having to crane your neck all day long as the tour guide issues his monologue on the history of Fort Jesus! This is extremely liberating for parents and adults tasked with the uphill duties of keeping up with super energetic tots. Again, the lesser the crowds, the more you will be able to fully immerse yourself in activities, take time to enjoy sceneries and keep communication flow less tedious.
You get all the attention!
We all want the best of customer care and service all year round; from telesales team, to reception and reservation, security and all. Unfortunately, and most definitely not a valid reason, most companies readily let go of their professional customer handling skills as soon as the peak season kicks in. Such that, campsites hitherto known to call the room just to wish guests a beautiful night’s sleep do not even find a second to attend a query or offer directions. The fully-booked syndrome can be anything from bad to detrimental, mostly forgetting that shoulder and low season awaits ahead! A major plus of vacationing off season is that you get to enjoy full attention, and royal service as you feast on every service to the fullest!
This may actually be the best time to visit
The hype of the high season is sometimes too glittery to be true; such that visitors do not realize that the season may not be the most favorable for particular visits and sightings. For instance, while the Kenyan Coast is known to burst its seams through the festive period, a brief guide by African Mecca Safaris reports that scuba divers and snorkelers are better off planning their trip during the the months of April to October, while whale enthusiasts should mark their travel calendars any time between June and December for a good glimpse of the humpback whale. It’s therefore important to check the weather patterns, forecasts and also consult with your travel advisor if you have specific events that you want to catch in particular destinations.
More opportunities for eco-friendly tourism
Just the fact that there won’t be hundreds of your flocking tiny islands, or forcing your way through mountain paths already sends a good vybe to mother nature. The other plus is that the low season gives you more options to chose and lodge in eco-friendly accommodation, as most rates will have dropped down from their sky-hugging rates. This could be your best time to learn and master the art of travelling responsibly, and appreciate landscapes in their most pure nature.
Locals will be more friendly
Like is human nature, hostility and animosity may brew from the mere perception of invasion by strangers. It’s no wonder you notice that any time a small town is swarmed up by hundreds of foreigners-be it tourists or on other missions, the locals tend to gang up together as if to protect their own from the unknown. This may result to visitors lacking opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the new culture by engaging and participating in the daily routine of their hosts. The low season is however free of such troubles; people will find it easier to handle small doses of language barrier, nosy visitors and eager to learn travelers!