What Are the Best Times of Year to Travel?
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What Are the Best Times of Year to Travel?

Zoe Kramer January 1, 2023

If you’re in the beginning stages of planning a trip, you might run into the conundrum of deciding what time of year to book for. Do you book for the tourist season when the weather’s nice but prices are high, or do you book for the off season when the weather is less nice but you can avoid the crowds? The optimal time can be dependent on a multitude of factors, including the climate where you’re going and major events in the calendar. But if you time it just right, you can find a middle-ground to have the optimal travel experience.

What is the Shoulder Season?

The ‘shoulder season’ is the period of time that falls between the peak season and the off season. It can often be an advantageous time to travel, because flights and accommodation are typically cheaper than they would be during the biggest travel times, and you’re less likely to run into crowds. The weather conditions tend to be moderate, and more pleasant than the off season, which tends to be the colder months of the year.

Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash

See also: What To Ask When Planning A Skiing Holiday As A Student?

There are some types of vacations where shoulder season is not the optimal time to travel. For example, if you’re aiming for a sunny beach vacation, you won’t want to schedule it for the fall. Equally, if you want to go for a ski vacation, you’re limited by temperature, and you can’t go after the snow has melted. But in general, shoulder season can be an advantageous time to travel, especially on a student budget.

How To Tell When Shoulder Season Is

Shoulder season is different depending on where you are in the world and what the main attractions are. Here is a basic guide for when to aim for booking depending on where you’re going.

If you’re planning a trip to Central Asia, shoulder season is usually July-August when it’s hottest. For Southeast Asia, aim for March to May and November. For West Asia, aim for March to May and September to November.

If you’re going to East Africa, it’s best to go in the fall, usually October-November. North Africa also tends to have its shoulder season in October-November. If you’re traveling to Southern Africa, plan for April and September-October. West Africa is May and October.

If you’re traveling in Europe, you’re likely to get the best rates from March to April and in October.

For a North American trip, aim for March-May and September-November.

If you’re headed to South America, plan for March-May or September-November.

Finally, if you fancy a trip to Australia and New Zealand, travel in February to April or September to December.

See also: Building Up To Solo Travelling Abroad

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Zoe Kramer has been writing for GRV Media’s student-centric website Freshered since October 2022 and is now also contributing to HITC. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2022 with a BA in Journalism, Media and English Literature. During her time in university, she worked for her student newspaper as well as completing an internship with a book publisher. She has also written and continues to write book and theatre reviews. She is excited to now be pursuing a career as a journalist and learning something new every day. In particular, she loves writing about student life, books, the Internet, and travel. Originally from the United States, she is enjoying living abroad in the UK.