Using Shoulder Seasons to Book the Best-Priced Holiday

Using Shoulder Seasons to Book the Best-Priced Holiday

 

Perfect in shoulder season - less crowds!

Perfect in shoulder season – less crowds!

Like a delectable chocolate treat, shoulder season is so sweet. Sandwiched between the painfully high prices and overwhelming crowds of the high season, and the often miserable weather of low season. Shoulder season is the perfect time to travel. Typically, hotel rooms are cheap, crowds are thin, and the weather is mild. You’ll notice a warmer welcome, too, when you travel off-peak. Locals, who may grow weary of crowds in peak season, have time to relax in shoulder season. For instance, an afternoon in early May is an ideal time to linger at an outdoor café in Rome and people-watch, before the summer tourists descend.

No significant shoulder seasons fall within January, February, July, and August, but prices drop immediately after the holidays in January.

But shoulder season for Paris doesn’t fall on the same dates as shoulder season for Tokyo. So here’s a shoulder season calendar for some of our favourite destinations for easy reference:

January

Mid: North Africa. The Christmas travel crowds are gone and the weather is warm.

March

Early: Hawaii

The big waves have subsided, along with the winter beachgoers; resorts are also bringing down rates. Through May

Early: Rio de Janeiro

Carnival has come and gone, which means hotel rooms are easier to find and less expensive (by as much as 60 percent).

Mid: Ireland

It’s warming up and wildflowers are beginning to bloom; a perfect time for exploring the countryside. Through April

India: Hotel rooms and airfares are lower if you can locate these between celebrated holidays.

April

Early: North American Rockies and European Alps

Late-season skiing is still excellent in high-altitude destinations like Whistler, British Columbia; Vail, Steamboat, and the Arapahoe Basin, all in Colorado; and Tignes, France.

Early: Australian Outback

With average temperatures now cooling to between 80 and 86 degrees, you can visit Ayers Rock without risking heatstroke. Through May

Mid: European Cities

Western Europe. Rome, Barcelona, Paris, and London will still be cool and you’ll have your chance of rain, for sure, but the crowds are thin and prices go way down. Outdoor café culture is picking up, but the summer crowds won’t arrive until early June. Get here before they do.

Mid: The Caribbean and Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Room prices fall as much as 30 percent after Easter, and hurricane season is still weeks away. Through early June

May

Early: Japan

Peak hotel rates have come down after last month’s cherry blossom celebrations, and the humidity has yet to kick in.

Mid: Mediterranean Cruising

The weather’s warming, but prices remain as much as 20 percent lower than in the summer high season.

Mid: Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Airfares from the States are at their lowest, and in Australia’s north, days are full of sunshine. Through August

June

Early: Thailand

April and May are sweltering, but the rains cool things off in June. The tourist crowds won’t arrive until next month. Through June

Early

Baja California Temperatures have yet to soar, but resorts are offering bargains in anticipation of the hot months to come.

July

Early: Northern Caribbean. (But avoid hurricane areas.)

September

Early: Hawaii

Room rates and airfares drop after Labor Day. Through September

Early: Montana

Days continue to be sunny and dry, and dude ranches are offering discounted fall rates. Through September

Early: South Africa

It’s early spring in South Africa, and prices are low on game drives. You’ll also find foliage is less dense making it easier to spot the “Big Five”.

Prices at safari lodges are lower and the foliage less dense, making it easy to spot the Big Five. Through early October

October

Early: Mediterranean Resorts

Southern Europe. The weather has turned chilly up north, but around the Mediterranean, you’ll usually still find warm temperatures… and good travel deals.

Rates have started to drop, but you’ll still find ample sun on islands such as Crete, Ibiza, and Sicily.

Early: Dubai

Days are cooler, and camel-racing season has begun. Hotels, meanwhile, are enticing travelers with bargains. Early September through October

Mid: Vancouver Island, Canada

Room prices have dropped by nearly half, and it’s still warm enough to enjoy wine-tasting at the island’s many vineyards. Through November

November

Early: Tahiti, Fiji, and the South Pacific

The water is crystal clear before cyclone season, making it a great time for diving and snorkelling. Christmas is high season in these warm destinations. Try to get your beach time in before the rush.

Mid: The Caribbean and Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Before the holiday rush, beaches are empty and it’s easy to find hotel deals. Through mid-December

December

Early: North American Rockies and European Alps

The snow has returned, but the winter season is just beginning. Late November through mid-December

Early: Costa Rica

After months of rain, the clouds are thinning. Through mid-December

Let us know your shoulder season travel tips?

Happy Travels

Julie