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Traveling for Night Owls: How To Get the Most Out of Your Trip

For those of us who love the life of a night owl, planning the perfect getaway means a lot of preparation and research on Google. So I know the pain when you plan the whole trip, book the hotel and flights, and still feel unsatisfied at the end because you didn't consider your preferences. 

Wherever we travel, the most interesting thing is our ability to discover the places in our own ways. Has it happened to you when two friends told you about the same country, and it felt like they were discussing completely different destinations? That's not a strange thing; neither of them grasped the cultural uniqueness in the wrong way. To keep it simple, everyone experiences their travel individually, and if for me Venice can be a romantic city, for others, it may be an amazing place to experience the best nightlife.

The Moulin Rouge in Paris offers travelers a fun nightlife experience.  (photo: Lola Delabays).
Moulin Rouge, Paris (photo: Lola Delabays)

There you go, speaking about nightlife and night owls. Some time ago, I realized that being a nightlife person is a bit challenging. The principal guides on websites are for daytime activities and family trips, but don't worry—we will cover this. The article is about getting the best out of your trip when the adventures you chase are primarily at night.

Europe That Doesn't Sleep

When cool night vibes are the name of the game, trust that Europe's major metros are packing some serious after-hours heat. From raucous festivals to pulse-pounding dance clubs, this part of the continent seriously slays when the sun goes down, and the best nightlife in Europe welcomes tourists and locals alike.

Believe it or not, the party seldom stops in tourist cities like Berlin, Barcelona, and Budapest. Having been fortunate enough to experience the latter's legendary nightlife scene, I can attest that this underrated gem is a playground for vibrant public gatherings.

But the nocturnal jam-packed agenda continues beyond there. All across the European landscape, each calendar cycle brings world-renowned festivals and cultural happenings that completely upend the sleep schedules of locals and visitors alike. Think of Carnival's undying vivacity in Venice, Oktoberfest's frenetic energy in Munich, and the unparalleled spectacle of Estonia's medieval folklore festivals. Your weary daywalker souls just wouldn't be ready!

Traveling in the Daytime

First, I get it – as a dyed-in-the-wool night owl, mornings and you are decidedly not besties. But hear me out here: strategizing your travel times and flights can seriously upgrade your evening antics once you hit your destination.  

For instance, if you want to maximize those first crucial night-out hours upon arrival, opt for an afternoon or early evening departure time. Those cross-country redeye flights might seem convenient on paper, but all too often, they'll have you stumbling into your hotel lobby well after the real party has started popping off. It's not ideal for chasing down those long-awaited magic hours.

The better play? Departing on an afternoon-ish flight schedule that gets you boots on the ground in your night owl promised land right around evening-time. That way, you can check in, refresh, and hit the streets bright-eyed to dive into the late-night scene.

Plus, this approach generally allows you to score cheaper flight rates compared to those super early AM trips most folks sign up for. The average domestic late afternoon/evening flight on Wednesday or Sunday will cost you approximately $100 less than those aforementioned alternatives. So you're saving money while maximizing your night hawk hours – that's a prime travel tactic.

Is Solo Traveling a Good Idea?

Dancing at a Paris nightclub (photo: Peter Bucks)
Dancing at a Paris nightclub (photo: Peter Bucks)

I don't know whether this will be a newsflash for you, but more and more wanderlusters prefer to travel solo these days. One of the data sources mentions that 25% of Americans identified as “solo travelers” who took on at least one adventure entirely by themselves over the past year or so. 

Well, let's break down the advantages and the downsides: For one, solo journeying allows you to live on your own schedule without compromise. You can stay out into the latest hours, keeping an ear on the city's pulse, then sleep in as late as you please the next day to recharge those night hawk batteries. Moreover, especially for slow travelers, being solo is the perfect condition.

Additionally, flying 100% solo opens you up to more spontaneity while navigating new neighborhoods and nightlife districts. You're free to wander and embrace unplanned experiences, following your senses toward whatever sights, sounds, and scenes enliven your senses in that particular moment. 

On the contrary, hitting the town alone at night can pose some safety concerns for solo travelers. But with some basic precautionary savviness like sticking to well-lit areas, avoiding sketchy situations, and not overindulging, you can minimize risks and fully immerse in the nocturnal delights of your dream destination.

At the end of the day, whether you roll solo or not boils down to personal preference and comfort levels. But make no mistake – both paths can be incredibly rewarding for the nighthawk traveler in unique ways!


This story is brought to you in partnership with Adventures & Sunsets.

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