You’re off on an adventure, but exactly where do you want to venture? Picking that perfect locale needs to balance budgetary concerns and vibes in equal measure, solo travellers often don’t have the luxury of compromising on either. It’s you, yourself and I, out in the big wide world, enter your ultimate travel companion – shoulder season. Connecting those peak bursts of crowds at Christmas or the bustle of summer overseas traffic, shoulder season is the opportunity to travel beyond your pay grade.
“Tucked between the high prices of peak season and the often lousy weather of low season, shoulder seasons offer the added perks of less crowds and queues, and more availability at restaurants and attractions. You can also save up to 80 per cent … but knowing the right times to travel is essential, as shoulder seasons vary between destinations,” says Nathan Graham of Cheapflights.com.au.
So here’s exactly where and when to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The bevy of many a summer tourist, shoulder season in coastal Italy is an often forgotten winner. Instead of booking July, look to October for mild weather perfect for long strolls along the coast, plenty of sunshine and huge savings on accomodation. Given it’s particularly photogenic landscape a number of hostels and AirBnBs litter the windy streets, ideal for the solo adventurer looking to meet peeps along the way.
A trip to Tulum is a cocktail soaked wonderland and you can enjoy it without dropping peak season dosh on accomodation. Widen your search to the months of October and November and you’ll be sipping poolside and downing tacos non stop. What’s a solo adventure without epic parties? Well, Tulum offers a vibrant nightlife year round.
The city of love isn’t just for the long term betrothed, the romantic air in the city lends itself to plenty of solo walks and charming experiences best enjoyed without company. The French have a rep for being a little rude to touring folk but in the shoulder periods of April-May and November-December, they’re much more relaxed thanks to the decrease in fanny pack wearing explorers. Find yourself a love shack and set up solo for a week or two, you’ll be enchanted.
Byron Bay, Australia
The hippie paradise is home to many a wanderer year round and the lovely climate never ceases. Forgo the steaming hot beach days for crisp cooler sunshine, February and October are the time to go. Paddle your way creekside, find your inner self at a yoga class or just fill your togs with sand courtesy of day long lounging sessions, you sir are your own boss. Solo travel doesn’t have to be hours abroad.
Explorers rejoice, this tropical destination now well serviced by many a budget airline is now an ideal stop off point for those in quest of lush greenery or a break from the 9-5. Early December or late April will see the resort prices drop and your cocktail budget increase as result. Not for partiers but if you’re the relaxing type this is a solo adventure you will relish.
Escape the Aussie summer and hit up the jungle life instead, thanks to a shoulder season jaunt to Costa Rica. June and July make for wonderful middle ground for those seeking a better deal. Yes, it’ll be a little damper than dry season but it won’t be total downpour all day long. Embrace the frizz, pour yourself another cocktail and truly let yourself go. The hostels in Costa Rica are particularly loose, so you’ll leave with a band of beer brothers post.
Sure, you know it for it’s island sailing and beach parties galore but Croatia has a medieval charm about it year round. Look to October for weather that’s just right for long days exploring and make sure to book a spot in a hostel if it’s partners in crime you seek. You’ll be venturing through King’s Landing by day and sipping strong liquor with new pals by night, it’s a good time all round.
If you steer clear of the Australian school holidays, you’re bound to make a saving or two from the get go. But if it’s a more secluded experience you seek, look at June or September for your getaway. It’s not awfully rainy so you won’t be steaming all day and night, instead you’ll be enjoying the Balinese hospitality and vibe without the pricey expense.
Dying to see the cherry blossoms burgeon in Japan? Aren’t we all. No need to battle the Tokyo crowds, when there’s an alternative.
“Over four million people are predicted to flock to Japan from late March through April, as the nation’s iconic sakura (cherry blossoms) bloom. But in Okinawa in the south, the cherry blossoms open as early as January, or in the north at Hokkaido they bloom as late as May, making great alternatives without compromising on the experience.” adds Graham of Cheapflights.com.au
It helps too that Okinawa is a tropical paradise tucked into a Japanese archipelago, go on get booking. So while you may have missed the boat this year, start planning for next year’s adventure.
And if none of these take your fancy, here’s our tips to researching just when the sweet spot to travel is.
Get your Tim Bailey on and look up the weather for your prospective destination, but don’t stop at the temperature. Look for rainfall so your dream getaway isn’t ruined by a sudden deluge. Monsoon season does not a good holiday make. You want to look for gaps in the standard tourist seasons too, sure travelling around Christmas is exxy but on Christmas Day you’ll see those prices drop to a very appealing price.
When you’re planning your days abroad make sure to check their calendar as well not just your own. By that I mean note down any local celebrations that may affect your plans, for instance Diwali in India, Chinese New Year in much of Asia or New Year in Japan. If you’re travelling solo make sure to tee up a couch surfing or hostel stop somewhere along the way, meeting people is what makes the difference between a roamer’s exploration and an epic adventure.
Image source: Lush To Blush, Cuppayjo, By Details, Forever New, Jay Alvarez, Mes Voyages Paris, Tuula Vintage, Japan Rail Pass, Journey Era.