In Praise of the Off-Season

Having lived in some of the biggest urban centers in the country, I enjoy the seasonal rhythms of cities By: Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro

Having lived in some of the biggest urban centers in the country — including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — I enjoy the seasonal rhythms of cities. In some cases, those changes can be tricky to pinpoint. In Los Angeles, for instance, fall is distinct, although its subtle changes can be lost on newcomers, just as summer in San Francisco sometimes leaves visitors scratching their heads and running to the store for a sweatshirt.

One of my favorite changes happens as August gives way to September. The city feels like it’s hunkering down and resettling into a steady rhythm that continues until the holidays. Traffic is heavier as people return from their vacations and kids go back to school. People refocus, reenergize and get set to take on the challenges of everyday life.

I felt this change most deeply in New York, where August is a blur and Labor Day may as well signal the true New Year. I always appreciated the tourists who would visit the city during this so-called off-season, after summer ended. It seemed to me that these savvy visitors got a true taste of what the city was really like — and were able to take advantage of smaller crowds and off-season deals. I’ve tried to learn from these travelers and often plan a trip for myself in the fall.

In this issue, we take a look at one of the hottest off-season destinations, Argentina. As you can read in the story, “Selling Summer in Argentina,” not only is the country a great place to visit because of the climate, but it is currently benefitting from a combination of low rates, strong special interest experiences, a diversity of unique natural scenery and more. It seems like travel agents owe it to themselves to at least check in with clients who might be interested in taking advantage of these factors, as the thermometer drops in the North and the sun warms up the South.

Regardless of the destination, however, hopefully agents are already aware that the “off-season” is becoming an idea of the past. There are clients who are ready and willing to experience the wonder of travel at any time of year, and it might just be the best way to really get to know a place.

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