When is shoulder season?

Beth has been told that the cheapest time to travel overseas is during shoulder season, but she wants to know what shoulder season is and where and when it occurs.


Q. Beth
Everyone talks about shoulder season being the best time to travel – or at least the cheapest time – but I have no idea when it is or where  and when it happens. Can you give me a list of the shoulder seasons in different countries, so I can decide where to travel on my budget?

A. Shoulder season is a travel industry term and traditionally refers to the period between the high and low travel seasons of a specific destination. The most popular times of the year for travel are during the summer months and the Christmas/New Year season, with a corresponding increase in flight and hotel costs.

There are many benefits to travelling in the ‘off’ or ‘shoulder’ season. Not only will you save money on the costs of your accommodation and transport to your destination, but there will usually be fewer tourists, which means shorter queues and waiting times at popular attractions. The key is to avoid school holidays and obvious busy times, such as festivals.

So, when is the shoulder season for some popular destinations around the world?


  • North Africa, particularly Morocco and Egypt


  • India – between local holidays and before the temperatures start rising
  • Hawaii
  • Fiji
  • Botswana – as the floodplains start to dry
  • Brazil – make sure to book after the Carnival which is held between the Friday afternoon before Ash Wednesday and Ash Wednesday at noon


  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Malaysia
  • Western Europe – Rome, Barcelona, Paris and London


  • Australia – Far North Queensland
  • the Islands of the South Pacific
  • Japan – after the Cherry Blossom festivals
  • Alaskan cruises


  • Australia – Far North Queensland
  • Mexico
  • Southern Europe


  • Northern Caribbean – Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas. Look for islands off the ‘hurricane belt’ – you can find a great deal and still enjoy good weather.


  • Bali – before the rains start
  • Hawaii – as the summer crowds are departing
  • South Africa
  • Alaskan cruises



  • Southern Europe around the Mediterranean. Try Provence, in France, Portugal, Spain, Rome, Naples, and Sicily in Italy.
  • Greek Islands
  • Canada
  • Bali – before the rains start


  • Caribbean
  • Kenya
  • Islands of the South Pacific
  • New Zealand
  • Asia – Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali, Singapore, Malaysia


  • Costa Rica
  • Ski resorts in Europe


Hope that helps!

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