How much does ‘shoulder season’ travel save? We crunch the numbers in 5 top spots

Nearly one in 5 Americans stated they plan to travel much less in 2024, with most citing prices as the cause , in accordance with Intrepid Travel’s 2024 Outlook Survey.

But many vacationers are urgent ahead, searching for methods to avoid wasting with out compromising their journeys. And for some 70% of respondents of Intrepid’s survey, meaning avoiding peak season journeys.

Enter the period of “shoulder season” travel — or holidays booked between excessive and low seasons — which permits for cheaper journeys, thinner crowds and higher climate.

What was as soon as “one in every of travel’s best-kept secrets and techniques … is 1706487217 our busiest time of the yr,” stated James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel.

Travelers are sometimes adults with out school-aged youngsters, nevertheless “mother and father are more and more prepared to take children out of college for travel,” he instructed CNBC Travel.

In some areas, the shift is so outstanding that it is altering long-established seasonal travel patterns, in accordance with Zicasso’s 2024 Luxury Travel Report. The survey of some 200 travel specialists discovered:

  • 41% stated excessive seasons are lasting longer, with extra touring throughout “what was once thought-about shoulder seasons”  
  • 43% stated extra locations are shifting into year-round locations “with no distinct off-season”

“We [have] no extra off-season,” Thapanee Kiatphaibool, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, instructed CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Jan. 18. Similar patterns of year-round travel are taking place in components of the Caribbean and Mexico, too.

In the United States, January is the most cost-effective month to fly till the fall “shoulder season” in September and October, in accordance with Hopper’s 2024 Travel Outlook.

Jeff Greenberg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

As the boundary between excessive and shoulder season disappear, the financial savings are vanishing too, stated Thornton.

“Demand for travel is robust, even throughout low season, and that brings costs up,” he instructed CNBC Travel.

To discover out the place offers nonetheless exist, CNBC Travel analyzed lodge charges in 5 standard locations, evaluating peak and shoulder season costs for entry-level rooms for 2 vacationers, inclusive of most taxes. Rates are correct as of Jan. 25, 2024.

Kyoto, Japan

Peak intervals largely observe the climate, however festivities and pure phenomena, comparable to the northern lights and Africa’s Great Migration, drive excessive seasons too.

Kyoto’s Sakura season is all three, ensuing in hordes of vacationers descending on the metropolis to see the blooming of its cherry blossom bushes in late March to early April.

But the value hikes aren’t solely in the accommodations, stated Chisato Nishiyori, 360 Private Travel’s basic supervisor for Japan. “Everything” from guides to trains to museum tickets go up, she stated.

Restaurant costs stay secure, although reservations at high-end institutions are very tough to get, even for lodge concierges, she stated.

The Maldives

CNBC’s evaluation exhibits touring to the Maldives proper earlier than the wet season begins can save a whole lot, if not 1000’s, of {dollars} in lodge fees alone.

Rome, Italy

Italian summers are so standard with vacationers that the nation’s peak season has ballooned into May and September.

Thus, Italy’s shoulder “candy spots” are getting shorter and trickier to pinpoint, in accordance with the web site Italy Explained.

“Spring is basically the final true shoulder season in Italy, however it’s solely two months lengthy — March and April,” it states, including that value breaks might be discovered in late October and November too.

Rome’s River Palace Hotel bucked the development with a decrease price for a “Classic Room” in June than in March, due to a 60-day advance reserving promotion. Without that low cost, the nightly room price jumped to $281.


With scorching summer time temperatures, Dubai’s worldwide arrivals are at their lowest from June to August.

Like many locations in the Northern Hemisphere, its shoulder season bookends the summer time season, lasting 4 months: April, May, September and October.

New York City

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