Are you dreaming of well-deserved summer getaway without breaking the bank? While the idea of white beaches and warm weather can be tempting, the cost of summer holidays quickly adds up. But don't worry, there are ways to make your dream holiday more affordable.

The Shoulder Months

When booking your summer holiday, look no further than the shoulder months of May, June, and September. The term "shoulder months" refers to the periods just before or after the peak tourist season. The months of May, June and September offer the best of both worlds – fewer crowds and lower prices, while still enjoying warm temperatures and long daylight hours.

These months usually bring nice weather and affordability, making them ideal for budget-conscious travellers seeking a summer escape. In this blog, we'll explore why these months are the most affordable for a summer holiday and how to make the most of them.

Benefits of Traveling in the Shoulder Months

Traveling during the shoulder months may not always be first choice as it usually won’t align with traditional holiday periods or expectations of scorching summer heat. However, there are a host of benefits to exploring destinations during these off-peak months.

  • Lower prices: As demand decreases after the peak season, hotels, airlines, and tour operators often reduce their prices to attract travellers, with plane tickets being around 23% cheaper during the shoulder months, allowing you to stretch your budget further and make the most of your holiday.
  • Less crowds: With schools still in session and many people at work before or after the traditional summer break, popular tourist destinations are generally quieter during the shoulder months. You'll have more space to explore attractions, soak up the local atmosphere without feeling overwhelmed by tourists and, overall, enjoy a more relaxed travel experience.
  • Milder weather: While the weather may not be scorching hot like in the peak summer months, it's often still very pleasant during the shoulder season. You can avoid the extreme heat and humidity while still enjoying plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. This makes it ideal for more active holidays, providing great conditions for activities such as hiking or cycling. Cooler evenings also offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy al fresco dining experiences.

Best Places To Visit In the Shoulder Months

Once you’ve made the decision to travel in the shoulder months, you’ll need to choose which destination to go for. We’ve included some of our top recommendations for each of the shoulder months to give you some inspiration:

If you want to travel in May, look no further than Costa Rica. The weather remains generally pleasant despite falling in rainy season, with mild temperatures and only the occasional rainfall. Attractions like Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, and Manuel Antonio National Park are open for exploration, providing opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and beach relaxation before the Summer.

Croatia is the perfect place to visit in June. The weather is still pleasant, with sunny days and comfortable temperatures before the summer rush. The city of Dubrovnik has a range of attractions such as the historic city walls, Rector's Palace and Lokrum Island, all of which are open for visitors to enjoy during the shoulder months. Without the crowds you can fully enjoy the charming old town and swim in the open Adriatic Sea.

For those seeking a holiday towards the end of the season, Morocco provides the perfect September destination. The summer heat starts to subside, making it more comfortable for exploring the country and outdoor activities such as hiking in the Atlas Mountains or camel trekking in the desert. While the most popular sites may still have visitors, it's generally less crowded compared to earlier months making for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Shoulder Season Holiday

Planning a memorable shoulder season holiday involves more than just choosing the right time destination. Here are some essential tips for how you can make the most of your trip without overspending.

  • Book Early: While prices are generally lower during the shoulder months, it's still a good idea to book your accommodation and flights in advance to secure the best deals, with flights booked 60 days in advanced saving, on average, 10%. By planning ahead, you can also take advantage of any early bird discounts, have a wider selection of holidays to choose from and peace of mind knowing that your travel arrangements are taken care of.
  • Research: Take the time to research activities and attractions at your chosen destination to make the most of your trip without overspending. Look for free or low-cost activities such as hiking trails, local markets, or cultural performances that allow you to enjoy your destination without breaking the bank. Activities that may have been too busy during peak months are ideal to visit during the shoulder months, and it may also be worth purchasing attraction passes or city cards that offer discounted admission to multiple sights, saving you both planning time and money during your travels.
  • Pack Wisely: Pack light and only bring essentials to avoid extra baggage fees and make it easier to get around.

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