The time of year we choose to travel will greatly impact our vacations and travel experiences. Traveling to a destination during peak season will result in higher airfare, higher hotel room and rental prices, and a lot more people interrupting our idea of paradise. Often people don’t think twice because the peak season has the “best” weather and it must be the best season to travel. However, I do my best to avoid the peak travel season for every destination I travel to and I aim to travel during the shoulder season. Let me explain why:
The shoulder season is one of the best times to travel. Generally, it is the few weeks between the off-season and peak-season, It is often April-June and then again in September or October. This varies from place to place but in general it will be a pleasant time to explore a new destination. During the shoulder season you will enjoy adequate daylight, smaller crowds and nice weather.
Caribbean (April-June and September)
If you are traveling to the tropics April is a wonderful month to visit. You will miss the spring break crowds and see prices fall dramatically. The temperatures will not much different from the winter months and you will not hit those high summer month temperatures. The beaches will be less crowded but the bars and restaurants will still have enough people to be social and have a fun night out.
Europe (Early Spring or Fall)
For Europe, avoiding peak travel times is welcoming because fall or spring are wonderful times to visit and the weather is cooler as well. This can vary greatly from place to place in Europe depending on the climate and the month. For example, Mediterranean destinations may experience increased crowds in the shoulder season just before summer and again at the end. This means you may need to consider an early spring trip before the early summer crowds hit the beaches.
However, Paris can be quiet in July and August as many head south to the beaches. Each country has different peaks depending on it’s location. Be sure to research the peak travel seasons and aim to get there just before or after.
Rest of the World
I could go on and on about each country since no two are alike but that would be a long read. Keep in mind there may be rainy seasons, dry seasons, hot seasons, and snowy seasons. Just know what your plans are when you get there. If you are a hiker fall is probably idea in Europe. If you are planning to explore temples in SE Asia you may not want to be caught in the rainy season. Research is critical for an enjoyable trip.
Best Reasons for Avoid Peak Season
- Cheaper sleeps
- Cheaper eats
- Shorter lines at museums
- Beaches are less crowded
- Avoiding intense heat of summer
Why You May Want to Travel in the Peak Season
- You love winter getaways from the cold
- Spring break is your ideal vacation
- The Social/bar/club scene is important part of your travel experience
- You don’t mind the higher rates
Reason to Avoid Off Season
- It get’s dark early(less daylight to explore new cities)
- It’s too cold or too hot
If your sole objective is to explore and meet people then it won’t really matter when you travel. If you have one week for the perfect vacation then these are some things to highly consider. It all depends what the primary goal of your vacation is. Keep that in mind when you book your next trip. It may save you some serious cash and headaches.