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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shoulder Season travel secrets

Many tourists complain of a poor travel experience due to the humongous crowds, serpentine queues, grumpy tourists, overworked staff and the exorbitant costs of travelling during the high seasons. The heat, crowded airports and hassles associated with high seasons also make high season travel extremely popular among tourists who are not bound by the vacation timings of their children. The alternative to travelling during the high season is to plan your journeys for the shoulder seasons. The shoulder seasons offer a far pleasant experience and the pleasant weather conditions ensure that the temperature and humidity levels are just about perfect. What makes shoulder season travel even more alluring is that you don’t feel the emptiness of the off seasons and you can save yourself from the chaos of the high seasons. The crowds are just about perfect.

What is the shoulder season?

Shoulder season is considered to be the best time to visit a destination that you would otherwise want to avoid due to the exorbitant costs or large crowds. The shoulder seasons refer to the periods just before the high season or immediately after the high seasons. Some of the main characteristics of travelling during the shoulder seasons are lesser crowds, cheaper options, lower air fares, greater availability and an extremely pleasant experience. Travellers can also expect a warmer welcome from the locals during shoulder seasons as most of them can get tired of the huge tourist crowd that the high seasons bring into the city.

Advantages of travelling during the shoulder seasons

There are a number of advantages of travelling during the shoulder seasons. Firstly, travelling during the shoulder season can be extremely economical. Secondly, you face a lot lesser tourists and can therefore enjoy yourself on your holiday without prying eyes and without the chitter chatter to bother you at every step. Thirdly, you can also experience some of the best festivals that the country has to offer during the shoulder seasons. For example, the world famous Oktoberfest of Germany, the International Jazz Festival of Barcelona and the Art fair of Lisbon all take place during the shoulder seasons. Fourthly, the popular sights and attractions are not as crowded during the shoulder seasons. As a result, you can actually spend time at the places you like the best and explore them at your own space rather than just being pushed by the person behind you. Finally, the weather conditions are far better and much more bearable as the shoulder seasons normally fall around the spring/ fall seasons.

How to find the right shoulder season deals?

Finding the right deals during the shoulder seasons is actually quite simple. All you need to do is follow these 5 tips. These tips can help you ensure that you are aware of the best shoulder season travel secrets and can therefore plan that perfect holiday itinerary.
- Choosing the right time – Many people go wrong in trying to explain the right time for a shoulder season. You need to understand that the shoulder seasons can differ from country to country and region to region. Simply put, figure out the high seasons (best time to visit) and the low seasons (worst time to visit) for the country that you plan to visit. The days which lie in between these two seasons fall in the shoulder season category.
- Predicting the airfare – There are a number of sites which can help flyers to predict the air fares. These sites can offer tourists with a rough estimate of how much will the airfares fluctuate between any given point of time. You can also use these sites to obtain the sweetest deals.
- Checking out rental villas – Most villas and homes that are available on rent have separate rates for the high seasons and all other seasons. By simply shifting your itineraries by a week or two, you can ensure that you do not have to pay the exorbitant high season rates. Moving your itineraries by one month can help you cut down the price to half.
- Choosing an off the beaten path – Why not consider doing something different? There is no mandate which states that the best experiences are only found in places where tourists frequent day in and day out. In fact, some of the best travel experiences come when you venture off the beaten path.
- Having an open mind and a flexible schedule – Try and be flexible about your dates as this can be the make or break criteria between getting average fares and tariffs or extremely cheap prices. Being open to various places and choosing alternate destinations when your preferred destination becomes too expensive also makes sense.

The best countries to travel during the shoulder seasons

There are a number of countries around the world that offer a much better shoulder season experience than the rest. Some of the ideal destinations to visit include –
- Hawaii (Early March/ Early September)
- Ireland (Mid March)
- Australian Outbacks (Early April)
- The Caribbean (Mid April)
- Japan (Early May)
- Great Barrier Reef, Australia (Mid May)
- Thailand (Early June)
- South Africa (Early September)
- London (Early October)
- Dubai (Early October)
- Greek Islands (Mid October)
- Vancouver Island (Mid October)
- Tahiti (Early November)
- Paris (Early November)
- Costa Rica (Mid November)
- Fiji (Early November)
- Costa Rica (Early December)

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