Reward True Stories: How to get more for less in the off-season
Lina Qvale has forty different countries on her bucket list and, if she can, she prefers to travel in the off-season. Here’s why…
You don’t need to wait until peak travel season, and you don’t need to wait for a travelling companion, either. Just travel when you want, and travel alone.
Waves are all I need
Waves are all Lina needs. She can find them all year round, all she needs to do is get on a plane.
“I usually travel in the off-season,” the 32 year old tells us, “then I get the best of both worlds.”
Her full-time job as an engineer doesn’t stop her from squeezing in at least four or five surfing trips a year. To pull that off, she happily gives up her place in the queue to colleagues with children when holidays from work are being booked.
Working during the high-season
“I only have the typical 25 days holiday, but I usually offer to work through the summer, so that I can go surfing during the winter,” says Lina.
It’s the dream of waves beneath her surfboard that calls Lina abroad, and Portugal has been our surfer’s favourite destination these past few years.
Lina manages to fit in one surfing trip in late autumn and another one in January. And with Lisbon’s 290 days of sunshine a year, it’s the perfect setting for those who enjoy the beach and the waves.
Autumn is perfect for surfing
Lina recommends the autumn for off-season travelling, especially in Portugal.
“My favourite time of the year is September-October. The great majority of tourists have taken their annual leave by then, and the Portuguese have grown fed up with life on the beach,” she smiles. The temperature is comfortable, often around 25 degrees Celsius, and the strong northerly winds that blow throughout the summer have diminished. “So for surfing and life on the beach, this is the optimal time for me,” says Lina.
Lina sees only benefits with off-season travel. “First and foremost, flights are cheaper,” she asserts. “That gives you more to spend on other things. And then there are fewer people at the typical tourist resorts, so it’s even easier to make contact with those who actually are there.”
Lina started travelling at a young age. Her parents were very fond of travel and always took the kids with them, even when they were very small. Since the age of 19 she has travelled a lot on her own, and that has never been a problem for her.
“I either travel with a girlfriend, or I travel alone. No problem.” she stresses. “It’s much easier to make contact with people when you travel alone. And there are lots of other people who travel alone, too.” she adds.
Cheaper hotels and cars
When travelling in the off-season most things are cheaper. You can travel more for less.
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Takes things as they come
In some cases you might think it would be necessary to plan ahead that little bit extra. But Lina is quite happy doing the opposite,”I have to book flights, of course, but then I just set off and see what happens on the way,” the globetrotter reveals. “I have been on trips where I have had no idea what I was going to do, and they have proven to be very enjoyable trips indeed,” she says.
Her passion earns her CashPoints
Lina flies a lot with Norwegian and also makes sure that she collects all the CashPoints she can while travelling. She’s now well on her way to earning points for her next trip, “Because most of my CashPoints were spent on this autumn’s Portugal trip,” she laughs.
Lina’s surfing tips for the Lisbon area
Lina has lived and worked in Cascais, a pleasant half an hour’s train journey from Lisbon, and recommends her former place of work, the Surf Cascais school of surfing. “Surf Cascais is a school where the primary focus is teaching people how to surf properly. South and west-facing beaches are easily accessible in Cascais, so if the waves are too big on the west coast, you go to a south-facing beach for smaller waves,” Lina informs us.
On the west coast there’s a beach called Guincho. It’s located in a nature reserve at the foot of the hills of Sintra. “This is probably one of the loveliest places I know, and it’s right next to Cabo da Rocha, which is mainland Europe’s westernmost point,” says Lina.
“In addition to Guincho, there are lots of other great surfing beaches on the west coast around Cascais and Sintra, but you’ll need your own gear then, together with a little practical experience,” she advises.
“One very popular beach is Carcavelos. It’s south facing and offers protection from the swell that often comes from the west. Carcavelos is only about 20 minutes from Lisbon and 10 minutes from Cascais. Between Cascais and Carcavelos there are lots of places where you can surf, but again, you’ll need your own gear at most of them.
All in all, whether you’re a surfing fanatic like Lina, an urban explorer, a sun-worshipper or just simply someone who likes to travel on a budget, taking trips in the off-season definitely gets you more bang for your buck.