Why You Should Travel During Shoulder Season

Palace of Doges in Venice, Italy

Why You Should Travel During Shoulder Season

The key to memorable trips that are more affordable too

Palace of Doges in Venice, Italy

In need of a quick and easy vacation? Have you been thinking about jetting off somewhere interesting? Well, now is the time to book, apparently. After summer travel has officially wrapped up but before the holiday rush begins, savvy travelers take advantage of what's known in the industry as "shoulder season."

That's because these in-between booking windows (generally from mid-September to early November and then post-new year's January through early March) offer prices that are nearly 40 percent lower than what you'd pay during the peak tourist months. Seasoned travel guru Rick Steves says it makes for the perfect time to take a trip. "It combines the advantages of both peak- and off-season travel," he says. "In shoulder season, you'll enjoy decent weather, long-enough daylight, fewer crowds, and a local tourist industry still ready to please and entertain."

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It's true. These are the trips that promise to be the most memorable, because the the sights are less Instagrammed and the local businesses are not so beleaguered, allowing the proprietors more time to engage with curious travelers. This is when you're told about the locals-only places that lead to the unexpected adventures that always make for great stories later.

What's more, according to Hipmunk, the travel search platform, 2019 offers some pretty sweet deals. Especially on international travel. The company says that while the average booking drops around 20 percent during shoulder season, we're currently seeing significant dips in airfare prices to top destinations in Asia, like Shanghai (37 percent savings) and Tokyo (26 percent less), as well as major European cities like Venice (37 percent savings), Paris (33 percent less) and Prague (33 percent less). And while Hipmunk suggests booking at least a month out, there are also last minute deals to be had because there's less demand. That's the beauty of shoulder season.

Shoulder Season Schedule

To help you find the right place at the right time, Travel+Leisure highlighted off-peak destinations around the world all year long.

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