Expat Explore has brought you the good news of shoulder season travel and now we are here to answer all your questions! “Shoulder season” is a general travel industry term, but not commonly used across the world. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, welcome! Below are the most common questions we’ve received about this season of travel (from travellers from all around the world) and the answers from our team. If you have a question that is not addressed, please send us a message on Facebook or via our site, and we’ll get back to you!
‘Shoulder season’ is a travel industry term used to describe the off-peak months of the year. More specifically it’s the period between high (most popular) season and low (least popular) season. Depending on the country, peak season can be in winter or summer. Winter peak season can be due to winter sport in countries like Switzerland, or milder weather conditions in places like Egypt.
It’s during this time that you could find the perfect medium, idyllic weather and prime flight and accommodation prices.
Here is an overview of shoulder season destinations we travel to:
Southern Europe (Rome, Italy)
March – May (High 24°C, Low 6°C), September – November (High 20°C, Low 10°C)
Western Europe (Wilderswil, Switzerland)
February – May (High 19°C, Low 1°C), September – November (High 15°C, Low 8°C)
Northern Europe (Dublin, Ireland)
March – May (High 15°C, Low of 3°C), September – November (High 17°C, Low 10°C)
Eastern Europe (St Petersburg, Russia)
March – May (High 16°C, Low -5°C), September – November (High 15°C, Low 8°C)
South Africa (Cape Town)
April – June (High 12°C, Low 9°C), September – November (High 24°C, Low 14°C)
April – May (High 22°C, Low 19°C), September – November (High 25°C, Low 13°C)
Israel (Tel Aviv)
April – May (High 27°C, Low 14°C), September – November (High 31°C, Low 15°C)
February – May (High 28°C, Low 5°C), September – November (High 31°C, Low 10°C)
March – April (High 32°C, Low 9°C), October – November (High 30°C, Low 26°C)
The two major upsides to shoulder season travel are :
1) Inexpensive holidays that don’t feel cheap.
2) Shoulder season automatically means fewer tourists.
So in short, you get a rich travel experience for a much more affordable price. The weather is also not as hot or as cold as it would be in the peak season. So, the locals are still in town and the sights are not swamped by tourists and the lesser demand means cheaper everything.
Mostly, due to the fact that peak seasons are always the more popular time to travel. It’s a common misconception that travelling outside of peak season is not as ideal or rewarding. We’re here to tell you that peak season is not the only season to travel in!
The days might be shorter over spring or autumn than they would be in the middle of summer. And even though the weather is, in many travellers’ opinion, mild and lovely, it can be mixed and unpredictable. But it’s still possible to plan your trip with this mind, prepare adequately and go where you’ll find the most sunshine (read: Italy and Spain). Wherever you end up travelling to, just be sure to pack for all seasons.
Related: These are the best European destinations for an autumn break.
Yes. It depends largely on the location of the country and the continent. Shoulder season falls roughly two months before or after peak season – which might be summer or winter depending on the country and region. The in-between seasons are rarely peak season unless there are specific attractions like festivals, spring blossoms or other main sport or cultural events.
Related: Discover Europe’s top spring destinations!
In more ways than one! You can read this blog for more info on how it saves you money.
Depending on where you want to go, you can experience warm, cold, wet, dry and everything-in-between weather. In most parts of Europe, the weather is not too cold and not too hot; some would say it’s perfect. But there are always extremes too. Some places in Europe, for example, can get cold fronts till late in the winter. And some places in the Southern hemisphere can be still hot late in summer and autumn. Regardless of anything we say here, shoulder season weather can be unpredictable. We recommend you keep a close eye on trusted weather sites before you depart, like Time and Date.
It depends on what type of experience you’re looking for. If you want sun, look at countries in Southern Europe like Italy, Spain, Portugal and Croatia. Or, incredible African countries like South Africa and Egypt that never cool down quite as much as Europe. Spring or autumn in South Africa, for instance, can mean anything from 20° to 28°. In Egypt, Israel and Jordan you can expect temperatures ranging between 22° and 36°! If you want cooler or cold weather, countries in Northern Europe like UK and Ireland or Scandinavia’s Finland or Norway is your best bet for chilly shoulder season weather.
Related: Why shoulder season is the best time to visit Turkey!
Simply put, you will save time. There’s definitely a perk to not waiting for a scoop of gelato, or having the Sistine chapel all to yourself for just a moment. Public transport is a breeze and you get more attentive service in restaurants and hotels. Some people like the buzz of crowds in peak seasons, some people don’t – different traveller, different experience. That’s why we have tours departing all year round!
Ready to begin your shoulder season adventure? Have a look at Expat Explore’s upcoming tours to find your dream destination departing on your ideal travel date!
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