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It's no surprise that summertime and the holiday season are among the most popular times of the year for travel. While these seasons are desirable times for vacations in many ways, there are also many benefits to traveling in the off-season, which many people in the travel industry refer to as "shoulder season."
Shoulder season traditionally refers to the period between the high and low seasons of a given destination, according to Tripsavvy. Depending on the destination, there are shoulder seasons for both the spring and fall. However, fall often ends up being a great time for travel deals in the US, Europe, and the Caribbean.
Both flights and hotels are often discounted during the fall because fewer people are traveling during that time (kids are back in school, and many take their vacation days during the summer or holidays). So in addition to saving money, you're also likely going to avoid crowds and long lines in typically tourist-filled cities if you travel in the fall.
Your best bet when it comes to finding deals is to keep an eye out for airlines that release incredibly cheap flights during off-peak travel times.
Wow Airlines, for example, is a budget airline that occasionally offers flights from the US to Europe for under $100 each way. On select dates from September to November this year, you can fly from Boston to Berlin for as low as $69.
Granted, when flying budget airlines you'll often have to account for layovers and extra fees, although if you believe that a little inconvenience is worth saving a ton of money, shoulder season could be your new favorite time to travel.
Choosing dates within shoulder season is also important when it comes to getting a good deal. Paris' high season technically lasts until the end of October, although select dates in November, December, and January have more affordable flights under $400 round trip. If you're willing to sacrifice great weather, some of Europe's most coveted vacation destinations can become much more accessible.
Some hotels also offer shoulder season deals, especially in the Caribbean. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is one of the best times to take a Caribbean vacation because you'll avoid the cost and crowds associated with holiday travel and you'll miss the end of hurricane season.
Whether you're looking to go on an adventure in Europe or take a relaxing Caribbean vacation, shoulder season, particularly in the fall, should be on your radar.