Popular Summer Destinations to Visit During Shoulder Season

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The biggest price drops are often in the most popular destinations, so read on to find out the most highly recommended locales to visit during shoulder season.

And just like that, peak season has come to an end! While the ongoing pandemic prevented a proper “peak”, summer is (almost) always a busy time to travel. Now that we’re well into fall—despite what the early Christmas decorations and music in countless retail outlets would have you believe—most travelers have returned home and resumed their everyday lives. This means that now is the perfect time to travel to many destinations around the globe!

Timing your trip with a location’s “shoulder season” is a veteran move. Shoulder season is a travel industry insider term that refers to the two times of year that ‘shoulder’ the summer months, especially May, September and October. You can still enjoy decent weather while experiencing a fraction of the crowds and saving money.

The biggest price drops are often in the most popular destinations, so read on to find out the most highly recommended locales to visit during shoulder season.


Mexico has been named one of the best places to travel in October in the world by numerous travel publications.

Mexico City is the perfect place to visit during the shoulder season, when crowds are at a minimum and the rainy season can be avoided by travelling between mid-October and November. Mexico City comes alive with cultural celebrations in the fall, including Independence Day festivities on September 16 and Dia de los Muertos on November 1 and 2. Concerts and activities at Chapultepec Park take place year-round, and rates at hotels can be much lower as well.

If you’re looking for a beachier experience in Mexico, head for the coat— Mexico’s best-known tourism commodity. The absolute best time to begin to hit Mexico’s coast is after hurricane season, specifically November when the weather switches to the dry season, and lasts until around March or April. This is when the coast is its most beautiful, with lower humidity, warm days and cooler nights. Unfortunately, this is when the rest of the world is also heading to Mexico’s coast, so you’ll find more crowds and higher hotel rates.


The Caribbean always makes for a relaxing vacation, but that’s especially true if you plan your getaway for the shoulder season. From mid-November to mid-December, the region is inexpensive and fairly tourist-free (American Thanksgiving weekend excluded). Late fall is a great time to catch rays and score deals in this beautiful tropical oasis.

Thankfully the weather across the Caribbean is fairly consistent, so if you’re planning an island hopping holiday you should find the weather to be similar across the islands.

South Africa

South Africa is so large and diverse that its regions often have different optimal travel seasons. Keep in mind that in the Southern Hemisphere, September marks the beginning of spring, not fall. Also remember that September is the middle of South Africa’s dry season, when safari guides can readily predict where the wildlife will go. If you book your journey far enough in advance, you won’t break the bank, but keep in mind that your airfare might still be pricey.

In many African destinations (especially safari hotspots), low season travel comes with loads of perks: the Kalahari Desert offers fantastic game viewing during the off-season; the low season in Kenya means better deals and cheaper international airfare; and Tanzania’s birthing period falls during the off-peak months, so you’re more likely to see lion cubs and other baby animals.


The best time to visit Morocco is from November to May, when the temperatures are more mild than during the scorching triple-digit temperatures of the summer season. If you’re interested in hitting the slopes at Oukaïmeden, plan to visit from January to March, otherwise a trip in the fall or spring is a great option.


September and October transform Greece into a paradise fit for the gods. You’re most likely to score a great deal on your accommodation and paid tours between September and November, after the summer tourists have gone home.

Just about everyone agrees that the best time to visit Greece is spring and early summer (mid-April to mid-June) or autumn (September to mid-October). At those times of year, you’ll avoid the summer high season, with its inflated prices, hordes of tourists, and high temperatures (heat waves with temps reaching 100°F/+40C are routine). In fact, unless you actually like scorching heat, crowds, and overbooked planes, ferry boats, and hotels, August is to be avoided.

Although the islands quiet down in the late fall and winter, there is plenty to do on mainland Greece all year round. Vacationers can climb the Acropolis, walk the ruins of Olympia, and learn the traditional Greek sirtaki dance!

Andrew Taylor

For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.

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