When we daydream about international travel, one part we generally omit from the fantasy is the cost involved. Holidays are always going to be an expensive proposition, but the time of year you head off has an impact on everything from flights to accommodation. To help simplify this, here are some considerations for the best time to travel internationally.
Peak, off peak and shoulder
The first thing to know is that travel periods are split into three: peak, shoulder and off-peak. Peak and off-peak periods are pretty self-explanatory and shoulder periods are the middle ground between them. The lingo listed here is really only used by travel agents and industry people but it's still good to know!
Wherever you’re planning to go, it’s a good idea to be across the school term dates for that particular area of the world. This is especially important for holidays with the kids. For example, it makes a world of difference when you’re visiting a theme park if the local kids are in school. Generally, the lines for rides are shorter, which allows you to cram a whole lot more into the day!
The off-peak seasons in both Europe and North America both cross over their winter, and for good reason: people are generally after warmer weather when they plan their vacations.
That said, there is plenty of charm and maybe a little bit of magic in a snowy, chilly holiday. It changes the plans for sightseeing, as it’s hard to spend a lot of time outdoors when the temperature is at or below zero. That said, cities like London, New York, Paris and Berlin all compensate for this with a wealth of indoor sights, like museums, theatre and plenty of shopping.
South East Asia is a little different and is much harder to define into a set period of time. Countries within the region differ with weather and seasons (wet and dry). The wet is obviously the season to avoid, so it’s important to check on a country by country basis. If in doubt, consult a travel agent!