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‘Coolcations’ Are On The Rise This Summer. Here’s How To Take One.

Travel'Coolcations' Are On The Rise This Summer. Here's How To Take One.


Air and water temperatures are both getting warmer and warmer, thanks to climate change, and frequent heat waves are disrupting day-to-day life for many people throughout the world.

Even when this higher heat isn’t dangerous, it can be can be uncomfortable, leading many people to seek out cooler weather whenever possible — including when they travel. Enter “coolcations,” a travel trend that lets people escape the heat yet still travel to fun destinations.

“A coolcation is one of the newer post-Covid travel trends — people seeking out cooler-climate vacation spots, especially during the warmer summer months,” Gabe Saglie, a senior editor at Travelzoo, told HuffPost via email.

“Some popular travel destinations are seeing rising temps, making them too hot for comfort for some, so heading to alternative places that see more pleasant daytime temps is gaining in appeal,” Saglie added.

Countries including Italy and Spain (two historically popular summer vacation spots) have seen record-breaking heat waves in recent years, making it hard for travelers to actually go out and enjoy the sights they traveled thousands of miles to see.

For a growing number of people, many popular destinations — especially in vacation hotspots across the U.S. and Europe — may feel increasingly uncomfortable during the summer months, when temps may sporadically spike,” said Saglie.

What’s more, some places that haven’t historically been hot but now experience high temps — like the English countryside, Scotland and even the Swiss Alps — often don’t have air conditioned hotels or airports, said Ashley Ganz, the founder and CEO of Artisans of Leisure, a travel company that arranges private customized luxury tours.

“A lot of the hotels are kind of scrambling to deal with this … because the climate is now much hotter than it used to be,” Ganz explained.

So opting for a colder destination can be a way to escape any too-hot accommodations, too.

Coolcations are also a way to avoid peak season crowds.

If you’ve ever felt annoyed about the long line to get into the Colosseum or frustrated that the must-visit restaurant in Mexico City has no available reservations, an off-season coolcation may be the trip for you.

Another way to approach a coolcation is to travel in your favorite destination’s ‘shoulder’ and off-peak seasons,” Saglie said, “Italy in the fall is bound to offer more pleasant daytime temps than Italy in the summer.”

Shoulder season depends on the destination, “but it’s essentially a time period that’s not peak dates in terms of rates and crowds and overall demand,” Ganz said.

For example, you could travel to Italy or Greece outside of the peak summer months, yet still enjoy your hotel pool and other outdoor happenings in mild autumn temps, Ganz stated.

You could visit Tokyo during its shoulder season in September and October, instead of cherry blossom season in the spring, or try Portugal in March, before the summer festivals and beachgoers arrive.

For many people, coolcations aren’t even about the chillier weather, but are instead just about getting to explore a bucket-list place without thousands of other people around them.

“A lot of my clients who are empty nesters and have total flexibility with when to travel are opting for late spring or autumn,” Ganz said.

Beyond being less crowded, many coolcation destinations are more off-the-beaten path, Joan Roca, the CEO and founder of Essentialist, a members-only tech-forward travel service, told HuffPost via email.

Oleh_Slobodeniuk via Getty Images

Nordic countries offer cooler temperatures than most of the rest of Europe, making them a great coolcation destination.

Want to plan your own coolcation? Here’s how:

“The easiest way to map out of colocation is to think about … flipping the seasons,” Saglie stated.

To do this, pick locations that aren’t in the middle of their peak demand months, he said — whether that’s Oaxaca well after the Day of the Dead crowds or summertime in Ireland.

“When it’s late spring and early summer in the Northern Hemisphere, pick a spot in the Southern Hemisphere, where fall is ending and winter is on approach; temps will be milder, odds of nice weather will be good and vacation crowds will be thinner,” he said. This could mean going to Australia in the summer instead of Croatia or the Grand Canyon.

Scandinavia and Nordic destinations (like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland) are also good coolcation trips because of their higher latitude — these countries are usually quite a bit cooler than other popular destinations, Ganz said.

“We love to recommend the Norwegian fjords [narrow waterways] with stops in Oslo and Bergen as well, to get a feel for the local culture. Bodo [Norway] is also the cultural capital this year so there are plenty of activities to enjoy in that part of the country as well,” Roca said.

“For a coolcation a little further afield, [the] Faroe Islands is having an increased interest for a wild destination, far from the crowds and with a spectacular natural landscape,” stated Roca.

Or, you could go below the equator in the summer months to enjoy some chillier temperatures. “Another option that is worth considering is Argentina or Chile — with plenty of choice, from skiing to glacier walks — it’s a beautiful time of year to visit the Southern Cone as well,” Roca noted.

Make sure you plan appropriately for this colder, off-season trip.

While it’s fairly easy to throw some bathing suits, shorts and T-shirts into a carry on for a warm-weather trip, careful planning is necessary for a vacation to a cold climate.

“Going on a colocation will mean packing differently — bringing along bulkier clothes and, therefore, larger pieces of luggage,” said Saglie. “For some travelers, this will mean budgeting for checked luggage, especially for international trips,” he noted.

What’s more, some attractions may be closed during off-peak months, and there will also likely be fewer events and festivals, Saglie said. So, plan accordingly if you do decide to visit a bucket-list place during an off-peak time — you don’t want to come home disappointed because your must-do tour doesn’t operate in the off-season.

It’s also important to keep travel time in mind to off-the-beaten path locations or off-season locales, where transport may be less frequent. “Some of the coolcations are in destinations that are more remote and harder to get to, so in some cases, logistics and travel times are a factor to consider if the trip time is limited,” added Roca.

While it may take some additional planning to book a coolcation, it’s worth it, said Saglie.

“You could be looking at bigger values and smaller crowds, not to mention having better access to locals and inevitably traveling to new destinations that would have previously been off your radar,” he stated.



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