With the temperatures we have had this week it is tempting to think of places we would rather be. The inland waterways of Alaska, the mountains of Switzerland, and the fjords of Norway all sound like pleasant alternatives to this heat that withers and humidity that steam cooks you even if you are sitting still. But we know, at least in New England, that heat like this does not last long. There are ice cream stands, shady porches, and ocean breezes enough to shelter us until the heat passes. Then life can resume as usual during this, the best of seasons.
Besides, it would cost a fortune to make arrangements to travel today, before the weather changes, to get someplace cooler. And who knows if your destination will be better when you arrive? In any season there will be variations of weather which will surprise, delight, or dismay you, whether you are at home or abroad. If you want to make travel plans based on expectations of temperature and precipitation, it is better to plan for Seasonal Weather and hope that rules of probability bring you daily forecasts which match. My own experience in Alaska is a good example. I remember standing in a gift shop in Juneau in May one year; the temperature was over 80 degrees and they had all the available fans blowing the warm air around. Another year we traveled the Inside Passage in July, and the predicted high temperature in all the ports, Juneau included, was 54 degrees. On both trips, I was glad that I brought layers of clothing to add or subtract to adjust to these variations within the seasonal range of expectations.
Summer weather comes and goes, but those short, dark days of winter just seem to go on and on. If you think that winter will see you wishing for a change of weather, now is the time to make plans.
A corollary of seasonal guidelines for travel is the School Vacation Rule. If you are restricted to traveling during school vacation times, it is even more important to make those plans sooner rather than later. Nonstop flights to favorite vacation spots sell out quickly for school vacation periods, and preferred accommodations fill quickly, too. If you can be confident now that by February you and yours will be eager to get out of town, call me now to begin planning.
Another corollary of the seasonal guidelines for travel is the Shoulder Rule. There are very acceptable times to go anywhere that are just before or after the typical “best” season for your destination. If you would avoid the crowds of high season but want weather almost as good – and rates not quite so high – then traveling in shoulder season is your best bet. The first and last cruises or tours in many destinations offer the same sites as those at the height of the season, but they are less expensive and the venues are less crowded. Shoulder season is my favorite time to travel for these reasons.
Whatever the weather is as you read this, remember that it will not always be so. Call me if I can help you be prepared for a different season!
Boundaries divide. Travel unites.
19 July 2012