Ok, ok I know this is a bit controversial. Why on earth would you choose to travel to a popular destination at the same time as the world and his wife? And (worse still) their feral kids? With the entry of Thing 1 into mainstream education last year we resigned ourselves to restricting travel to (mainly!) school holiday dates. This means higher-priced flights and accommodation. It means crowded resorts and long, long queues at the popular tourist attractions.
There are some upsides (bear with me here). Having just spent 4 days in the Maldives in low season, it struck me that there are still benefits of visiting places during peak season. Here are 5 brilliant reasons to travel in peak season (if you have kids):
1. They are ready for you!
Many hotels and, indeed, locations take the opportunity of fewer visitors to do some much-needed upgrade and maintenance work. Granted you can get some better deals in exchange for staying while this work is being completed but you still have to see it all happening around you. Staffing levels in low season often tend to be lower to allow employees to take their own holidays and to account for the lower levels of visitors. The ratios aren’t always quite right and the pace can often be quite different.
My hometown – Tavistock – and the place we lived last – Wimbledon – both spruce themselves up for summer months with beautiful hanging baskets lining the streets and well-manicured parks to hang out in. Our stay at the Sheraton Full Moon and Spa Maldives was the total opposite. They gave us fair warning that there would be ongoing construction at the time of booking. And I didn’t mind, really I didn’t. But it did detract from the overall impression of the property for us.
2. Other kids and families
Now lots and lots of people is definitely NOT my idea of a good time and if we could have planned to go to Disneyland at a different time we totally would have.
That being said, my Things need so much stimulation these days. With the best will in the world, and recognising that they love us to pieces (usually), they crave socialisation and interaction with other Things. They even made friends with a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old when we were in Lake Como.
They usually love love love kids club and were desperate to go to this one but it was just a bit of a let down when we got there. It was a far cry from the club in Kurumba or in Nusa Dua where there were exciting activities like sandcastle building, pizza making, and mini-golf. Or the club in Ras Al Khaimah where they had their friends to play with and we came back after 30 minutes to find them with their faces painted. All those clubs had an army of staff and a critical mass of Things to make it exciting and interesting for the Things.
This one was DESERTED. There were no other kids and only one adult in there. Even at breakfast or on the beach we struggled to even see any other Things their ages let alone try and make friends with them.
3. Better weather
Now, I’ll grant you that this isn’t the case everywhere.
You could easily go to Devon for a week in August and with could pour with rain. For the whole week. Or you could go to the Maldives as we did last week and it could be beautiful the whole time you are there.
But, generally speaking, there are high and low seasons for a reason. The South of France is going to be nice and warm in the summer months but still quite cold in the winter. Ski resorts will have a winter high season to give you the snow experience you’re looking for.
4. Everywhere is open
It’s not just the towns and hotels. Attractions often close in low season either to save money on staffing or to undertake their own upgrades. If you haven’t got much to do with your Things without them making their own little Thing friends then you’ll have even less to do without a waterpark / Legoland / Peppa Pig World to take them to.
Here in the Middle East we often find restaurants are closed for the summer months. The same was the case last week with one of the main restaurants having refurbishment work done.
5. Its when the best things happen!
Some places have a high season for a reason. Wimbledon is popular for 2 weeks in June / July for…well, Wimbledon. Want to see the Grand Prix in Singapore? Then you have to go on the weekend when it is on. If you want to get the best snow in the Alps then you have to go in the core winter months when you can get guaranteed snow.
So what do you think? Do you travel at peak times?