As part of our recent move, my wife and I are trying to declutter our house. In the process, I came across about a bazillion Money magazines from a couple of years ago. When I get to an article of interest I dog-ear the page and move on. I figure that I’ll go back and write about it someday.
Well, a couple of years later, it’s time to cash in one of those pages that caught my eye. The article was about 3 Fall Travel Deals… I know it’s not exactly “first day of Spring” blog material, but bear with me a minute.
The article caught my eye because it mentioned traveling during the “shoulder season” of a destination. We know there are peak seasons to travel to certain locations, but those are going to cost money. Think about flying anywhere around the holidays. It’s simple supply and demand. The shoulder season is an area of time when the experience is still good, but the costs are way down, because most people want to travel during the optimum time. Typically this means the ideal weather for the location.
Before coming across this article, I had never heard of “shoulder season.” However, traveling during it can save you 30% on airfare and hotels. Is it worth it? I think that depends on your budget and your goal of travel. Personally, I imagine that the Louvre is just as good in the spring as it is in the summer. It is probably even better due to less foot traffic in the off-season. (Sorry about “imagining”, but I don’t have real world experience as I tend not to travel a lot. However, my wife has been to France in the winter and says it was a positive experience.)
The trade-off is that the Eiffel Tower might not be as much fun when it is 45F degrees out than when it is 72F (though I’ve seen some amazing snow-covered Eiffel Tower pictures). When I expect to really start traveling in 10 years or so (I want to show Little Man the world, and experience part of that myself), I equate saving 30% on travel with seeing 30% more of the world.
This lead me to do a few more searches to find out if “shoulder season” was really a thing that travel experts talk about an analyze. It turns out that it is a real thing.
Again, since I don’t travel much, I’ll present you with Travel and Leisure’s shoulder season secrets (I dare you to say it 5 times fast). It covers just about any area that you would ever want to travel to. (This obviously excludes New Jersey, but I still love Chris Christie for putting his constituents first). The downside is that they push you to a long slideshow instead of giving you the meat of the message.
For saving a thousand dollars or more, I can living with that. How about you?
I totally did this when I went to England. Went in early March, the weather was ok, it rained a couple of days but didnt keep me from doing anything, a few of the seasonal things were not opened yet and generally had fun, not too many crowds, except in London, which for some reason was overrun with French people the weekend I was there.
Gearing up for Opening day. How bout you?
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We like to travel during the “shoulder season” not just to save money but also to avoid the large crowds. We’d rather be a little less comfortable (in terms of weather) but have the place to ourselves.
I am a fan of that to some extent. We’ve done Alaska in September and Las Vegas in August and they were both spectacular. I would never want to certain places like Africa, Australia or Israel in the summer. 100+ degrees and oppressively humid would make the 30% savings meaningless. I also think, generally speaking, that if the shoulder season makes it a tad cooler it is that much better than it making it hotter.