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Fair Weather Travel

Please note: This post is a work in progress.. just like my life.

I fully admit it, I'm a fair-weather, tropical-paradise-hopping, sun-seeking addict.. I pretty much exclusively follow the seasons when I'm traveling long-term.. And why not? If you're lucky enough to be able to travel long-term.. and you have all the freedom in the world... why go somewhere cold??

That is, of course, an over-simplification and (for many) an unrealistic approach to travel; we take the vacation time we get and we go where our friends/partners/families want to go; or we're promised perfect weather and we still end up in a shit-storm.

But for those of you who are traveling alone, and who do get to choose when and where you go... these are my arguments for chasing the summer sun.

1) First and foremost, Summer is just better..

I don't know that I have to belabor this point too much... but the sun is shining, the days are longer, people are happier, it's just better. The only downside to summer travel, as far as I can tell, is that everything is busier... and that can be good or bad, depending on who you ask..

2) Perhaps an obvious one, given the theme of this site, but you can pack SO much less..

I'll never forget visiting California for the first time (as a Minnesota native)... I looked in my buddy's closet and saw, what was in my opinion.. almost no clothes.. just shirts and shorts.. a few pairs of pants.. and wait? What? No jacket?!?

It had never crossed my mind before, but it makes sense, when you live in an ocean-moderated, sunny-year-round climate, you only need summer clothes.. Of course, you might have hundreds of variations of summer gear, but it's all summer gear.

Our family kept our winter stuff in storage during the summer, and then rotated out our summer clothes for winter clothes when the temps started dropping, usually around mid-summer (kidding).

But the point is, packing for a single season, or even two seasons, is infinitely easier than packing for every conceivable location/climate/temperature, etc. And if you're travel plans are flexible, and the simplicity of minimalist travel is on your radar, it makes sense to do yourself the favor of single-season packing.

3) Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, and maximizing your time in the sun can do wonders..

This may not apply to everyone, but if you do suffer from seasonal depression, then your winter may be a great time to visit the other side of the world's summer. I use my longish trips to get away during the coldest months of winter; maximizing my time in the sun, while still getting to enjoy spring, fall and summer in a city I love.

4) The tropics are beautiful...

There's no denying it, some of the most beautiful places in the world are also, conveniently, located along the equator, with beautiful to moderate weather all-year-round. Of course, you don't want to limit yourself to the tropics, but wouldn't they be a great place to visit while the rest of your friends are suffering through winter??

5) It may be necessary to keep your pack small

If you're using minimalist travel as a way to disconnect and get back to a simpler life, then, by nature, summer travel allows you to carry less stuff.. If you're really getting into minimalism, there's no better way than to go to a place where you can wear the same shirt and shorts every day. What better way to disconnect than by leaving most of your stuff at home??

6) People are happier, and you'll meet more people..

There are simply more travelers and more people out and about over the summer. Again, this may or may not be your thing, but there are noticeably fewer people traveling during the heart of winter, and if part of your journey is the excitement that comes from meeting new people; you may want to consider timing your trip to coincide with your priorities.

Reason's not to chase the sun: fewer tourists; some destinations are meant to be visited in the winter; some activities can only be done in the winter; it makes more sense financially/logistically to start or end in cooler climates; you don't have a choice; you don't like the summer, or you simply don't care.

In summary, there are many benefits to fair weather travel, and it's something I wish I'd given more thought to before spending two months in Eastern Europe during their winter; perhaps you wouldn't be as miserable as I was, but hopefully this at least gets you thinking about the pros and cons of seasonal-travel.

Warm or cold, your trip will be amazing - and maybe slightly more amazing if you're not caught cold-handed. :P


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