Plan Early to Avoid Worst Travel Months

At the start of a new year, people are busy thinking of ways to stick to their resolutions and planning the best time to take a break from their routine life and work. A recent survey suggests it would be better to avoid early May, September and October.

According to a survey of 1,000 people conducted by the Korea Tourism Organization in December, early May, September and October will see the largest crowds getting ready to fly at airports in Korea.

Starting from this year, substitute holidays add a day off on Friday or Monday if a statutory holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, so many Koreans will be able to enjoy long weekends in May, June, August, September, October and December.

Some 44.4 percent of respondents said they plan to travel overseas in early May, when Children's Day and Buddha's Birthday make for a long weekend. Some 26.1 percent said they would leave in early October when they can stretch out their holidays to enjoy long weekends on National Foundation Day (Oct. 3) or Hangeul Day (Oct. 9).

Another 23.8 percent said they plan to travel over Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving, in September as they can enjoy five or six days off this year by merging their holiday with the adjoining weekend.

The survey shows that fewer people will head overseas this year during the peak summer season as they choose to shift their trips to other times of the year. A mere 20.4 percent of respondents said they plan to take a break abroad in July and 22.5 percent in August.

Although many respondents said they dream of heading to exotic or far-flung destinations like Australia or France, the majority said they will likely end up taking short-distance trips to Asian destinations like China, Hong Kong or Japan. On average they plan to spend about a week away on a budget of W2.25 million (US$1=W1,068) for their overseas trips, with older people spending more time and money.

The most popular reason for traveling abroad was to try new food, cited by 61.5 percent of respondents, mostly those in their 20s and 30s, followed by soaking up exotic scenery and culture (48.4 percent).

Touring historical spots proved a much bigger hit among people in their 50s, while women in this age bracket also showed a greater interest in trying beauty and spa treatments in foreign countries.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 08, 2014 10:43 KST