You’ve heard of off-season traveling (when the majority of the tourists are away) and high-season traveling (when all the tourists are there) – but are you familiar with shoulder season travel? Shoulder season is the months that fall between the two. It’s truly the ideal happy medium. Prices, and crowds, are smaller than the high season. Best of all, generally the weather is better than the off-season as weather is what often makes off-season the off-season.

When is shoulder season?

If we’ve already convinced you that shoulder season is the best, you’re probably wondering when it is so that you can book that flight already. But the answer is: it depends on where in the world you want to travel! Generally speaking, you can anticipate that shoulder season falls in the times when the weather is good, but not amazing, and also just before and just after the major times of the year when people take time off (i.e. the holidays, summer vacation, etc.). But we’ve also broken it down for you by areas of the world.

View of canal in Venice Italy at night. Italy's shoulder seasons are from March to April and from September to October.


Central Asia: July, August
China: March, April, September, October
Japan: March, May, June, September, October, November, December
South Asia: June, July, August, September, October, November
Southeast Asia: March, April, May, November
West Asia and the Middle East: March, April, May, September, October, November (with the exception of any religious festivals)


North and East: October, November
South: April, September, October
West: May, October


May, June, November, December


March, April, September, October
Southern Europe: also November

North America

Canada: May, June, September, October
Mexico: May, October, November
US: March, April, May, September, October, November

South America

March, April, May, September, October, November
Brazil: avoid Carnival season which generally falls in February to March

South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand

February, March, April, May, September, October, November, December

TLDR; High season = summer, off season = winter, shoulder seasons = fall and spring.

So why do we think that shoulder season travel is the best?

Two travelers hold hands in Grand Palace and Wat phra kaew Bangkok city, Thailand. Thailand's shoulder season is from March to May and from September to November.

If you’re wondering why shoulder season is amazing, the answer is simple! Lower costs, smaller crowds, same great destinations. The shoulder season is the true happy-medium of travel time frames, combining high season’s great weather conditions and off season’s quietness. And since shoulder season varies so much destination-to-destination, it really means that there is always somewhere great to travel to!

By planning your travels around when the destination is in shoulder season, you can guarantee yourself to still experience all the great things that place has to offer, and save money – that you can use to travel to even more destinations! So whether it’s Europe in September, Australia in May, or Canada in June, you’ll find amazing experiences at good prices, too.

See also: How to save money for your upcoming trip

Well what are you waiting for? If you’re looking to travel soon, the next few months are shoulder season for many areas around the world – meaning you could make that travel happen and spend less doing it.