Which sounds more tempting? Sipping hot chocolate in front of a log fire while watching snowflakes fall on the pavement OR wiping your sweaty brow and constantly checking your arm pits for any traces of (god forbid) body odour during a long summer’s day? It’s obvious as to which season I prefer!So I was surprised when I was constantly asked why I wanted to travel through chilly Europe and miss out on Australia’s summer. My offline career allows me to take holidays during our summer, so it makes sense to travel long distances during this time. But for all of you dear readers out there climbing different career ladders, I am here to show you why you might prefer trading in your summer send-off for a winter wander!
If you’re struggling to fund your first overseas adventure or you’d like to have some more spending money, then travelling to a wintry destination may be for you! My self-guided America trip was cheaper in January than during July or August.
Similarly, I saved a packet on my winter tour through Europe in February. When I did the comparisons, a similar 24-day tour with all accommodation and some meals included would have cost me over $1000 more during the summer. This huge saving allowed me to do lots of optional extras – the Moulin Rouge in Paris or a gondola cruise in Venice anyone?
No lining up for the impatient
If you’re anything like me, then just lining up a supermarket annoys you. Multiply that line by hundreds of eager tourists, and that’s what you’ll have to wait behind to see the major attractions in summer.
But in winter? No problems! In Paris, my travel buddies and I walked straight into the Louvre and met Mona without having to wrestle through a room full of budding artists and bucket-list tickers.
Likewise in Washington DC, my fiancé and I had the Smithsonian museums to ourselves. I certainly didn’t have to fight any wicked witches for my photo in front of Dorothy’s red sparkling shoes (it was minus 10 degrees Celsius on this particular day)!
Different activities and events
Riding in a dog-sled. Skiing in the Swiss Alps. No trip to the Northern Hemisphere in winter is complete without trying something wintry and wonderful. Ice skating in the glorious Central Park is something I’ll always treasure. I felt like Kate Beckinsale in Serendipity.
A visit to the various European Christmas markets is also a must. I managed to visit both the Krakow (Poland) and Budapest (Hungary) markets during one European trip, and stocked up on traditional foods and local produce as well as beautiful arts and crafts that I purchased for gifts. Another one of my fondest memories was spending New Year’s Eve in Budapest, where I sipped on mulled wine, sampled delicious desserts, and almost got hit by a wayward firework…
Heart-warming food will have any Instagram-phobe uploading non-filtered pictures in seconds. My favourite dishes were:
-Pierogi (amazing dumplings) and stew in Poland.
-Fresh baguettes with cheese in Nice.
-Brewed tea and homemade scones in England.
-The biggest buffets you’ve ever seen in Las Vegas.
-Cheese fondue in Switzerland.
-Fresh pomegranate juice in Turkey.
Are you hungry yet?
Okay, so you may regularly have snow where you live. But for Australians who don’t ever see snow, sticking our hands outside our hotel window to catch a snowflake, or ditching a snowball at an unsuspecting friend are experiences we treasure. Not to mention how beautiful buildings and mountains look when blanketed in snow…
So have you decided travelling in winter is for you? Here are some more tips to get you started:
-Some tours do not run during winter or skip certain cities. Double-check websites/email tour operators while planning your trip.
-Winter clothing takes up more space. I wore old clothes so I could simply throw them out at the end of my trip to make room for my new purchases. I also invested in one down jacket which folded up into a little bag.
-Fly in to/begin your tour in warmer destinations, where snow is less likely to be a problem. The last thing you want is your trip to be delayed because of a snow storm!