Now that the world has reopened its doors to travelers, it's time to plan your next adventure. If you love the idea of a Eurosummer or soaking up the summer in a warm destination, you may be asking yourself, “why travel during shoulder season?” Honestly, there are so many advantages to traveling during this off-peak time. If you hate dealing with crowds, enjoy better deals and better weather, let’s get into why shoulder season is the best time for travel (especially for photographers!)
First of All, What is Shoulder Season?
Simply put, shoulder season is the time period between peak season and off-season. For most destinations, peak season is summer and off-season is winter, meaning shoulder season usually just refers to spring or fall travel. This may vary slightly by destination, but for the Northern hemisphere, think March, April, May and September, October, November.
One of the most significant advantages of traveling during shoulder season is the relative absence of crowds. Have you ever been to a dream destination of yours only for it to be swarmed by tourists? (If you haven’t, I suggest looking up the “Instagram versus reality” of hot spots like the Amalfi Coast!) However, during shoulder season, you can explore famous landmarks, museums, and natural wonders without the stress and the crowds. If you’re traveling for photography, you'll have a much easier time getting around, having access to certain places, and taking photos without a swarm of tourists in your shot!
Traveling during shoulder season often means more affordable prices on hotels, flights, cruises, and even tour packages. It’s a simple case of supply and demand. With fewer people vying for the same accommodations and activities, vendors drop their rates to attract more tourists. This means you can save money overall or splurge on that unforgettable photo op - like helicoptering over glaciers in Alaska!
Shoulder season boasts mild and pleasant weather, making it an ideal time to travel. Whether you're seeking a beach getaway, a hiking adventure, or a city exploration, traveling during shoulder season allows you to enjoy comfortable temperatures without the scorching heat or freezing cold that can accompany peak or low seasons. These weather conditions create the perfect setting for outdoor activities. Spring flowers and fall foliage are a welcome bonus and add a stunning backdrop to your destination photography.
As you start booking travel, check to be sure that the activities you want to do or places you want to visit are open. In some places, especially the more touristic locations, shoulder season is when the locals go on vacation, meaning many shops, hotels, and tours are closed.
The Bottom Line
While peak season may have its allure, traveling during shoulder season offers a lot of advantages that can enhance your travel experience. Escape the crowds, enjoy better prices, and have a more authentic experience by going during shoulder season.