Shoulder Season Around the World

by Jessica

August 26th, 2010

We talked yesterday about why shoulder season travel is a good thing, but if you’ve stopped to think about the way the planet turns throughout a given year you’ve probably already realized that what constitutes “shoulder season” is going to be different depending on where you are in the world. That means you’ll be able to find a destination that’s in its shoulder season no matter when you want to take a trip.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it will get you started thinking about when certain places would be considered shoulder season destinations. If you think we’ve missed a shoulder season bargain, leave your suggestion in the comments below – we’d love for this to be as useful a list as possible so people can plan shoulder season trips around the world all year long!

The seasons listed below are for the Northern Hemisphere, but you can roughly equate them as follows:

  • Spring – March, April, May
  • Summer – June, July, August
  • Fall – September, October, November
  • Winter – December, January, February

Spring Shoulder Season Travel Trips

  • Australia & New Zealand – Spring in the Northern Hemisphere is Autumn for Australia and New Zealand, so you can swap one shoulder season for another.
  • Europe – Later in the Spring prices to Europe go up significantly, but early Spring travel to Europe can be a great bargain.
  • Caribbean & Mexico – When all the people defrosting from their cold-weather homes in Winter are gone, Spring in the Caribbean and Mexico gets much cheaper (and the weather is still lovely).
  • India – Early Spring is one of the best times to get to India, before it gets too hot and the prices are even cheaper than they usually are.
  • Southern South America – As is the case with Australia and New Zealand, South America’s Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring. As long as you avoid the major holidays during this season, travel can be cheaper.

Summer Shoulder Season Travel Trips

  • Caribbean & Mexico – In the early part of Summer the beaches of Mexico and the Caribbean are cleaning up from the Winter visitors and yet aren’t quite flooded with Summer visitors. The good deals are meant to lure you in.
  • East Africa – Book a safari in Kenya or Tanzania after the high season crowds have departed, but before the weather gets too hot.
  • Northern Australia – Head for the Northern parts of Australia to enjoy nice weather during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, while still getting a great deal.
  • Northern South America – It’s Winter in much of South America when it’s Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but in the Northern parts of the continent the temperatures are mild enough that you can still enjoy the beaches and get a good deal, too.

Fall Shoulder Season Travel Trips

  • Africa – In Southern Africa, this time of year means excellent potential for spotting wildlife on safari. In Northern Africa, the weather is cooling down but the Summer visitors have left.
  • Alaska & Canada – Early Autumn is a good time to get a deal on an Alaska cruise or to visit parts of Canada that are too crowded in Summer and too covered in snow in Winter.
  • Europe – As the Summer high season ends in Europe, prices drop dramatically again. Rates can still be high in some popular places in the early Autumn, but mid-to-late Autumn can mean outstanding deals and usually decent weather.
  • Southeast Asia – Before it starts raining in Southeast Asia, Autumn is that ideal mix of good weather and good deals.

Winter Shoulder Season Travel Trips

  • (Parts of) Asia – Yes, some parts of Asia are quite cold in the Winter, but other parts remain balmy.
  • Central America – Beach destinations in Central America, particularly popular spots like Belize and Costa Rica, can be a good deal in the early months of Winter, pre-holidays.
  • Hawaii – Like Central America’s beaches, Hawaii’s beaches also tend to be on sale right before the holidays, and then again later in the Winter.
  • South Pacific – The beaches of the South Pacific are likely to be a bit warmer during the Winter months than the other beach-centric spots on this list, but they might also be a good bargain, too.

photo by AngelsWings

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