Hi everyone, autumn has arrived here in England – the leaves are falling from the trees and the weather has turned cooler. It is currently 14 degrees out there and this is an ideal time to visit Europe. Allow me to share with you five very good reasons why you should consider booking a holiday to Europe in the months of October and November!
After a long hot summer, autumn is such a relief.
1. Weather: nice & cool
The weather in autumn is much better than summer actually; it can exceed 40 degrees in some parts of Europe and when it gets that hideously hot, all you want to do is find the nearest air-conditioned place to hide in rather than go out sightseeing. I remember climbing the old fort of Corfu on a day when it was 38 degrees and it made me feel physically sick. I did have fun traveling a lot this summer but there were just too many days when it exceeded 35 degrees. Winter can be a dreary time in Europe I’m afraid – the nights are long and the days are short. If you are very lucky, you can experience snow but you’re far more likely to experience rain. Autumn is a good compromise: the days are shorter than in summer but you will still have enough hours of daylight to do your sightseeing.
I always look forward to the arrival of autumn in early October, when summer comes to an end and it is like someone finally flicks on a big switch and the air-conditioning comes back on. Today in London, the temperature will hit a high of 15 degrees and a night time low of 9 degrees. It is cool but not cold, so you won’t need the heavy duty winter clothing yet. I was pleasantly surprised at the gym the other night when I could work out without dripping in sweat and when I left the gym, I even had to put on a jacket as it was delightfully cool outside. I love the way the cold air in the morning wakes me up instantly as I leave my home – washing one’s face with cold water in Singapore just doesn’t quite have that same effect on me.
|Planning to do a big trip across Europe? Do it in the autumn.|
2. Prices: Lelong lelong bargains
Now the vital piece of information for you to bear in mind is that the students in Europe have very long summer holidays – the schools break up around early/mid July and the kids have their summer holidays until the beginning of September. That means that the summer period of July to early September is considered peak-season where everything from flights to hotels cost considerably more, sometimes as much as double. Parents are unable to take their children on holidays during term time, thus there is this mad rush for families to go on holidays the moment the school holidays begin. The peak-season prices are just crazy. For example, in November, you can get from London Stansted to Basel in Switzerland for as little as £16 return (including taxes, that’s just S$32.81) but the same flight in August would cost you in the region of £120 to £150. That’s a massive saving!
There are great bargains to be found for everything from hotels (which are half-empty in autumn and desperate to fill their rooms) to theme parks (which again, are half-empty in the autumn months). We’re talking half price discounts, 2-for-1 offers, free upgrades – anything to get you in the door. These places know that they don’t need to make any efforts during the peak season when the families on holidays are going to turn up, but the moment the kids are back at school, that’s when they will have to try extra hard to compete for the far smaller number of tourists who do visit during the autumn months.
|You can move around Europe very cheaply in autumn.|
3. No kids, no queues
I want you to imagine this: you turn up at an attraction like Disneyland Paris, only to discover that you need to queue for at least 45 minutes to get onto any ride. Even when you go to the restaurant to get some food, you need to wait 30 minutes to be seated and even longer to be served. When you go to the gift shop, there is a queue of about 10 people long waiting to pay for their souvenirs. You may have visited Disneyland Paris, but you have spent most of your time there waiting in line. That is the kind of horrible experience you will have if you visit Disneyland Paris during the summer peak-season period when it is full of children on holiday. Don’t do that.
If you were to go in October or November, however, the kids are back in school already and if you were to turn up at Disneyland on a Monday morning – whoopee, guess what? There will be very few kids around and you could have the place pretty much to yourself (well, along with other tourists who are smart enough to figure this out). You barely need to queue for anything at all and you will get far more out of your day at Disneyland because of the absence of queues (not to mention screaming kids). You will get so much more out of your holiday when you don’t have to waste precious time queuing.
Don’t like crowds and queues? The autumn is for you.
4. Autumn foliage can be pretty
Disclaimer: there is no guarantee that you will see awesome autumn foliage when you do visit Europe in the autumn, but with a bit of luck, you could walk into a park and see a sea of bright reds, golden brown, orange and yellows. It is quite a surreal sight that only lasts a couple of weeks as the trees shed their leaves for winter. Ideally, you need a few nights of sharp frosts and bright days early in the autumn, the night time frosts will be a shock to the tree’s system, triggering a sharp change in colour in the leaves for the most vivid colours (as the frost breaks down the chlorophyll). It doesn’t often happen but with a bit of luck, you are in for a treat.
Autumn colours can be very vivid.
5. You will be treated better by the staff in autumn.
Now I can’t guarantee this of course, but during the summer, the staff at restaurants, airports, tourist attractions and resorts are rushed off their feet, dealing with very high number of tourists. Such is the nature of tourism: it is very seasonal work. During peak season, they work extremely long hours and often become very stressed – but who can blame them? I remember witnessing a tourist being extremely rude to a flight attendant on a delayed flight – we were all tired and frustrated about the delays, but there was really nothing the flight attendant could do about the delay but the tourist chose to take it out on her. That is the kind of crap you get during peak season which puts everyone in a bad mood. Once the summer peak-season is over, the staff in the tourism industry have less to do as the number of tourists drop dramatically and as a result, they will probably be in a far better mood when they serve you, engage with you and chat with you. Everyone is just a bit more relaxed and cordial in the autumn as a result.
You will be treated better by the staff in autumn
So there you go, if you can come to Europe this autumn, then what are you waiting for? Get booking already. You now have five great reasons to come.