Savvy travellers can beat the crowds and score big savings by scheduling their holidays during shoulder season or low season. During off-peak travel times, Globetrotters can see the world’s best spots when everyone else isn’t. Access to top attractions, fine hotels, and acclaimed restaurants is easier, travel fares are lower, and weather can be near-perfect. The atmosphere in many destinations becomes more laid back in the off-season, and crowds can be so small that you start to feel like you have the place to yourself.
No matter what time of year you decide to travel, it’s off-season somewhere. Here are our top tips for taking advantage of travel during off-peak seasons around the world.
It’s All About Geography
While weather may be less than ideal in one part of a country, it can be picture-perfect in another. From May to October (Australia’s winter), days are full of sunshine and warmth in northern parts of Australia. Tropical weather reigns in Queensland, Northern Territory and parts of Western Territory. Temperatures at Uluru (Ayers Rock) are blissfully mild and it’s dry season in the rainforest-rich Kakadu National Park. During Australia’s “winter,” the warm seas of the Great Barrier Reef become crystal-clear and are ideal for diving and snorkelling.
Getting tickets for top attractions, museums, and historical sites can be much easier (and cheaper) in the off-season, and a reservation at that coveted restaurant on your bucket list can be much easier to snag. In New Zealand, April and September are great months to travel, since the high season crowds have dissipated and temperatures are still pleasant. Reservations at legendary spots like the Sky Tower’s revolving Orbit restaurant in Auckland can require less planning. In the event of any wind or rain, there are a ton of indoor restaurants, zoos, museums and art galleries across New Zealand that will keep the whole family entertained.
Sometimes the most extraordinary things happen when no one’s watching. Though Botswana’s off-season (November to March) sees fewer visitors, the “Green Season” bears witness to some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife interactions. During Botswana’s rainy season, scores of baby animals are born amid lush grasslands, delighting spectators with their endearing antics. Long-toothed predators such as lions and cheetahs come out to hunt, allowing travellers to witness predator-prey interactions at their most dramatic. During the off-season, the amount of rain that the country receives is minimal (less than London or Melbourne) and travel rates are up to 40% cheaper than in high season.
In late March, China’s landscapes come alive with blooming peach flowers and wild apricot trees. The ornamental gardens in Suzhou (known as “Venice of the East”) are in brilliant full bloom, and the Great Wall is surrounded by lush greenery, and there’s very little humidity. Early November is another great time to visit China, with rich fall colours displayed across the country. The big bonus – during late March and early November, the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace are almost entirely crowd-free.
Anyone who has travelled with a camera knows how tricky it can be to capture that postcard view amid throngs of tourists. Low season offers the perfect opportunity to explore and capture some of the world’s most fascinating sites. During Jordan and Israel’s low season in February and March, the weather is still lovely and the countryside is green and beautiful. Crowds are much thinner, allowing travellers to have a much more intimate experience at historical sites, and a perfect opportunity to capture that prize-winning photo.
Year-Round Good Weather
In some countries, the off-season weather is still amazing, making it worthwhile to look into the seasonal weather forecast in your desired destination. Low season in Tahiti takes place from January to April, but the weather there is relatively consistent, and the dreamy island is warm year-round. Though humidity and rain are slightly more common in the low season, prices can drop, and many hotels include free meals.
For more information on off-peak travel options check out our Special Offers or call 1.800.557.2841.