Unless you’re reading this article on a plane to South Korea right now, it’s safe to say you missed the 2018 Winter Olympics. Don’t sweat it — all you did is save yourself a pile of dough and some frost-nipped fingertips. In fact, if watching grand slalom and reading about snow crab feasts have gotten you stoked to check out South Korea at some point in your life, this is an unexpectedly great moment to book a trip.
Most of the time when a city hosts an Olympics — this year, in the recent past, and for future Games (we’re looking at you, Paris and LA) — a visitor is going to find some ridiculous upgrades, in every sense of that word. It’s also just going to feel different. Korea’s going to be a changed place for the next few months, and possibly for as long as you want to snowboard on slopes that the world’s best athletes just ollied their way down. The savvy traveler knows to sniff around post-Olympics cities for deals — and to look for something intangible that gives these cities a certain afterglow.
“It just seemed like it didn’t stop. That buzz and that energy continued after the games,” says Helen Pratt, an executive at Fairmont Hotels who during the 2010 Vancouver Games was the director of sales and marketing at the then brand-new Fairmont Pacific Rim. “It’s a great time for people to travel because all those venues are now built and that buzz is still there. You can still feel that buzz, but of course, not at Olympic prices.”