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Let's Talk Seasons

There seems to be a lot of confusion these days when travelers notice that certain hotels or tour sites are closed during specific months of the year, especially when it comes to European destinations. These closures are a result of the season or "travel season" I should say.

Yes, we know that there are seasons when it comes to weather, but travelers should also understand that there are travel seasons that line up with those weather seasons. Summer is peak for heat, but also peak for travel when it comes to Europe. Winter is off-peak (or slow) season in Europe. Oct, March and April fall into what we call "shoulder season." It's called shoulder season simply due to those months falling between peak and off season travel.

If you travel to Europe during peak season, you can expect large crowds, hotter weather and high prices. if you travel during off season, you can expect lower pricing, colder weather, and lower crowds, but you can also expect certain hotels and attractions to possibly be closed since winter months are vacation months for Europeans and they literally close their businesses so they can travel to warmer climates.

If you travel during shoulder season, you can expect lower pricing, lower crowds, decent weather and access to most sites, hotels and attractions. This makes shoulder season very attractive for a lot of travelers.

These seasons apply to most European destinations. But keep in mind that, if we shift to destinations in warmer climates like Mexico or the Caribbean, the peak and off seasons are reversed. More travelers will go during cold weather months making winter peak season for tropical vacation spots and summer is off season. This is why cruise lines send most of their ships to European ports in the Summer and then back to Florida and warmer ports in the Winter.

So hopefully you can see the various "seasons" and how they affect travel. If you want a more budget friendly cost and lower crowds and "ok weather," then ask your travel advisor about traveling during one of Europe's shoulder seasons. But if you prefer the best weather for a particular destination, then plan on it also being peak season and plan your budget accordingly.


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