Updated: Dec 4, 2022
Many travelers choose to travel in peak season when the weather conditions are optimal. Traveling during this time leads to long waits in airports and lineups outside restaurants, with tickets for popular attractions sold out, not to mention higher costs. The ideal way is to consider traveling in shoulder season.
What is shoulder season anyway? During this period, it’s between peak and offseason when tourism at a destination is not at its peak. Sometimes spring and fall depending on the destination. You won’t find any worldwide holidays or popular festivals this time of year. However, tourism is slower during this time, and many people consider this the best time to travel to tick off bucket list experiences.
Here are 6 reasons why you should consider traveling in shoulder season.
Lower airfares than peak season
Besides accommodations, another significant expense to vacation budgeting is airfares. On average, tickets are 23% cheaper during shoulder season than peak season. During peak seasons or holidays like Christmas, typically higher prices stem from supply and demand.
Starting in January, prices decrease after the first week. You can spend that money on fun activities or fine dining by saving on airfare.
Less competition at hotels and restaurants
Let’s face it! It’s disappointing when your top-pick resort is unavailable or overrun with guests. Maybe a restaurant you’ve been dying to try is fully booked.
I can’t think of a better time than traveling in shoulder season to secure an upgraded room at affordable rates or dine at a Michelin Star restaurant without booking months ahead.
Not many offseason closures
Consider traveling in September with fewer crowds, but most amenities remain open. When the demand drops, the off-season places you want to visit are closed. Also, hotels close for renovations during this slow time. In some countries, tour companies close due to inaccessible road conditions or a lack of travelers.
Experience the unique local events
Trying to get tickets last minute is virtually impossible during peak season for local events. These tickets are expensive, with a rush for entry among locals and tourists alike.
Many destinations host local events and festivals each year. For instance, Lisbon has a variety of free outdoor concerts between May and September. Another popular event is the Madeira wine festival from the end of August to mid-September-ideal for wine lovers. I recommend checking the destination’s main website and searching for events.
The weather is generally good
Have you been to Florida’s theme parks during the summer? I have, and the temperature during the day was 40 degrees and very humid.
It might not be beach weather, but it’s perfect for hiking or biking on trails. In some cases, shoulder season weather is better than peak season.
Easier to get around
Trying to hail a taxi during peak season can be challenging and expensive. Often, hotel shuttle services are crowded with tourists, making it difficult to get to the airport on time.
Also, train tickets between locations are hard to purchase at this time. These issues are minimized or eliminated during shoulder season, making it easier to get around.
Contact me to find out when your destination’s “Shoulder Season” begins!