Traveling to Europe in the summer and fall can be great. Well, let’s be honest, traveling to Europe any time of the year is great-but going there in the spring can take advantage of some opportunities that the mass of tourists in the summer and fall miss out on. My last trip to Europe was in April when I was on our Portugal Explorer trip and I discovered the advantages to early season travel. Here are my top reasons to hit Europe in the springtime.

1. Fewer People

This is the no-brainer. “Off-season” travel means you won’t be held up by obnoxious lines at the ticket window, waiting endlessly to get that perfect picture, or turned away at the hot new restaurant. In fact, you’re more likely to have your choice of restaurant and reservation time by traveling in the spring. This even spills over to getting rooms at the best hotels with the best rates. In general, the hospitality industry will show their appreciation to tourists who visit outside of their peak months.

2. Airfare is Cheaper

Along with the hospitality industry, airlines will offer steeply discounted tickets to encourage people to travel outside of the peak months. Use this to your advantage! Have a few destinations in the back of your mind so when you see a deal pop up, you can jump on it and already have an idea of what you will do.

3. The Weather Might Suprise You

A common hesitation we hear about spring travel is the belief that the weather won’t be ideal. It’s a myth! There are plenty of days in July, August, and September that have lousy weather. Plus, the more mild temperatures in the spring are PERFECT for riding. And if your biggest fear is rain, rest easy. A few extra pieces of riding gear and a positive attitude will have you riding carefree and feeling like a kid again. Still not convinced? You can always skip the ride and spend some time at the spa or exploring some indoor attractions. Just let your guides know what you’d like to do and they’ll make it happen for you.

4. Everything is More Affordable

The savings goes beyond the airfare when you do Europe in the spring. Hotels, entrance fees, rental cars and even restaurants often have off-peak pricing to encourage tourism throughout the year. If your dream vacation and your budget don’t see eye-to-eye, traveling in the spring might finally bring the two together.

5. Meet the Locals

You might not notice it right away, but locals tend to disappear in the high travel months. I can’t blame them, their city is taken over and the prices on everything can go sky-high. They slowly return to the coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants throughout the winter. When you visit in the spring, you get to strike up conversations with them, learn about the best cafe in town, and they tell you where their favorite restaurant is that hasn’t made it on all of the travel blogs yet. These chance encounters are often left only to those who choose to travel when most others don’t. The locals recognize this, and you get a sense of their genuine appreciation for your visit and their vested interest in you getting to know the area. You see the pride they have for their city and often get a better look at the town than a book or blog could ever give you.

Find your European spring getaway.

See trips