If you love traveling but prefer to spend a little less money and avoid large crowds, one of the best things to do is visit popular destinations during the off-season. You get to experience well-known locations with fewer tourists and slightly better rates when you travel in the shoulder season.
While you might have to pack extra layers and a raincoat for some of the following adventures, it will pay off because you’ll avoid long lines and will have more spending money. Here are some of the best places to visit in the off-season.
Amsterdam’s Canals & Parks Are Picturesque In The Fall
Sure, Amsterdam is stunning in the summer when the tulip blooms reach their peak, but if you wait to go in the fall you’ll be able to take advantage of the city’s lower hotel rates and smaller crowds. You’ll also experience stunning fall foliage in the city’s parks and near the canals.
You don’t want to miss Museum Night in November, which allows you to check out famous art collections after dark and participate in several workshops and tours. It can be chilly (high 30s to mid-50s in October and November), but the rates are worth it. Save even more if you visit in winter.
Marrakech, Morocco, Offers Pleasant Weather In October & November
In the summer, Marrakech can be extremely hot, making it very uncomfortable, especially for visitors who aren’t used to the heat. But if you visit in the fall you can save a lot of money on both airfare and hotel accommodations. In October and November temps range from the low to high 70s, which is perfect for enjoying the city’s Medina of Marrakech and the Djemaa el Fna.
You can spend your time visiting souks, cafes, and various shops that sell incredibly beautiful textiles and rugs. You should also make sure to visit some of the area’s beautiful gardens.
Napa Valley Is Cheaper (& Just As Beautiful) In Late Autumn
Wine lovers congregate in Napa Valley’s beautiful wine country during the summer and early fall, but it’s also a good idea to take advantage of the area after harvest season ends in late October. First, the foliage is stunning. Second, rates drop at luxurious accommodations. Third, there are many seasonal events to keep you occupied.
The Napa Valley Vine Trail is great to explore on a bicycle, and in early November you can check out the Napa Valley Film Festival, which pairs wine tastings with movies and other activities. By November, temps can get a little cool, but you can warm up with a spa treatment or hot meal at a five-star restaurant.
Tulum, Mexico, Has Some Breathtaking Natural Attractions (Just Be Prepared For Some Raindrops)
While Tulum may not be as popular as other spots in Mexico, it’s a great place to sunbathe at the beach, enjoy some tasty food, and relax. You can also visit ancient Mayan ruins, rent a room at an eco-friendly lodge, or experience true farm-to-table dining. Just bring a raincoat if you visit during the off-season between October and December.
During this time of year temps range between the 70s and 80s, and rain isn’t uncommon. However, room rates are much cheaper in these months just before the peak season, which is January to March.
San Francisco’s Must-See Attractions Are Much Less Crowded In Fall & Winter
If you want really reduced rates, plan on visiting the City by the Bay between December and April. While temps range between the mid-40s and 50s in the winter, you can save a lot of money in the off-season. Another option is visiting in autumn when it’s much warmer in the low 70s.
The city hosts a variety of outdoor festivals and events in the fall, such as the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival at Ghirardelli Square in September and the Castro Street Fair in October. Plus, you’ll have fewer tourists at popular attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
New Orleans Is Still Packed With Activities In The Shoulder Season
Avoid the crowds of Mardi Gras in the spring and the sweltering temperatures and tourists in the summer by visiting New Orleans in the fall. You’re more likely to pay less for lodging as well as experience a variety of different cultures (African, French, American, and Spanish).
The popular Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival takes place in October, and there are also several things to do in December, such as listen to carolers in Jackson Square or experience the Reveillon dinner inspired by Creole families who began the tradition in the early 1800s.
London May Have Brisk Temperatures In The Fall, But The Savings Are Worth It
The value of the pound has dropped due to Brexit, which means tourists can save a bit of money when visiting the United Kingdom and its popular hot spot, London. We recommend visiting between mid-September and November if you want some really good airfare and hotel deals. The only caveat is temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s.
The city holds several cultural events in the late fall, and the scenery is also quite beautiful that time of year. You can attend the Totally Thames Festival throughout September, as well as the EFG London Jazz Festival in November.
Istanbul Is Less Crowded, Still As Visually Appealing In The Off-Season
Another must-see place to visit between September and November is Istanbul. The city is very busy during the summer months, so you’ll get some respite from the crowds later in the year. Temps range from the high 50s to the 70s, which is perfect for strolling outdoors.
Lower airfare and hotel rooms are the big draw in the fall. Some of the city’s highlights include the Grand Bazaar, the Hagia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque, as well as several autumn festivals such as the Biennial art exhibition.
The Amalfi Coast In Italy Beckons Once Summer Tourists Depart
This little bit of paradise in Italy is more financially accessible if you visit off-season. Summer tourists are gone by mid-September, but the exquisite location continues to beckon with temps in the 60s, 70s, and 80s throughout the fall until the end of October (a time for much better deals on airfare and hotel rates).
This part of Italy has striking views of the cliffs and sea, including Positano’s vibrant cliff-side villas. There are also plenty of stunning beaches, ceramic souvenirs, and delicious seaside restaurants.
Chicago Has Some Great Fall Festivals
While many visitors flock to the Windy City in the summer, it’s a perfect place to hit in the fall or spring. In September and October temperatures are pleasant (highs in the 60s or 70s), and crowds die down as children head back to school. Plus, you avoid the extreme winter weather that’s just months away.
Chi-Town also hosts a variety of festivals and events in the fall, such as Oktoberfest Chicago and the Chicago Jazz Festival. In addition, hotel rooms are less expensive during this time of year.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Is Perfectly Suited For Autumn Travelers
If you want to stay within the United States but have the urge to travel in the fall, check out Santa Fe, New Mexico. The city is geared towards art lovers and those who like Gothic architecture and adobe buildings. The price is right in this part of the country when temps reach the 60s and 70s in October.
In September you can attend the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta. Or you can check out the nearby Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October. The city is renowned for its farmers market and galleries on Canyon Road.
Bali Is A Great Place To Relax, Interact With Elephants, Or Visit Shrines
Bali is one of the more expensive tourist destinations, but you can save a little bit of money if you go between September and October. Prices and crowds drop slightly during this time of year after the rush of tourists visit in the summer.
It’s a great time to visit shrines and temples, including the Pura Luhur Uluwatu, Tirta Empul and Tanah Lot. Bali is also a great place to relax and get away from it all or visit the Elephant Safari Park in Kuta and Jatiluwih rice terraces.
Tokyo’s Stunning Fall Foliage Is Worth Witnessing
One of the busiest times in Tokyo is late March to early April when tourists visit the city to photograph and enjoy the pink cherry blossoms that dominate the area. Yet, it’s also a great place to visit from September to November when temperatures range from the 40s to 70s.
Not only are there fewer tourists, but you can also do some leaf-peeping in places such as the Rikugien Garden, Showa Kinen Park, and Ueno Park. You can also spend time at the Tsukiji Fish Market, the Imperial Palace, and the Meiji Shrine.
Iceland’s Northern Lights & Natural Wonders Attract Travelers Off-Season Too
On a clear night, you may be able to see Iceland’s northern lights in the autumn through winter. You can also visit the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle’s natural wonders during the fall when crowds are much smaller.
The country near the Arctic Circle has become increasingly more popular over the last few years, but you can take advantage of cheaper flights and hotel rooms in the fall. Just be warned that temps between September and October can hover between the 30s and 50s.
Whistler, British Columbia, Is Much Less Crowded In Early Spring
Whistler, British Columbia, is packed with skiers and snowboarders during the winter, particularly those drawn to Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. If you love the outdoors but don’t like competing for terrain with other people, then visit in early May when there’s still plenty of fresh powder.
The World Ski & Snowboard Festival takes place in the spring, and it features free concerts, an art show, and other activities to keep you busy. Since the area is less popular at this time of year hotel rates also drop.
Flying To Hawaii Is Less Expensive In Autumn
When school starts back up and the whale-watching season ends in the fall, Hawaii becomes a little less crowded. Even so, the weather is still beautiful during this time of year. The best time to find deals on hotels, rentals, and airfare is in the autumn. If you don’t mind being flexible with your connections, you can find a decently priced plane ticket.
The state is also a great place to visit in the fall because it occurs just before winter when the state experiences much more rain compared to the rest of the year.
Save On High-End Accommodations In The Maldives
If there’s a way to save some money visiting the Maldives, you should do what you can to make it happen. Between May and November, you can receive discounts on lodging (which is super expensive) yet still experience perfect 80-degree temperatures. However, rain is more likely this time of year — as are monsoons.
Still, it’s worth it to visit captivating beaches, see stunning coral reefs, stay in an overwater bungalow, and surf or snorkel in the beautiful aquamarine water. The 26 atolls also have sunsets to die for.
Nantucket’s Cobblestone Streets, Sea Views & Lighthouses Are Still Charming In The Off-Season
Nantucket is located 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, and it’s a prime destination from September to October after the summer crowds depart. You can walk on cobblestone streets and sand dunes yet still be close to popular attractions and a variety of restaurants.
In addition to fewer tourists, the island’s hotel prices also drop this time of year. You can attend the Nantucket Arts Festival and Cranberry Festival in October. While temps can drop to the 40s by the end of October, you can keep warm by wearing extra layers.
Avoid Long Lines By Visiting Paris In October & November
If you want to avoid large crowds, expensive hotel accommodations, and long lines at restaurants and attractions, visit Paris in October and November. Temps can drop to the 40s and 50s, but that’s easy to remedy with sweaters and light jackets. It’s worth it to see the foliage at the Jardin du Tuileries and Palais-Royal Gardens.
You can also visit the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks, which tend to be heavily populated in the summer months. This time of year is great for getting good deals on airfare and hotel rooms, which increase in price as the holidays approach.
Dubrovnik, Croatia, Is Packed In The Summer But Just As Enticing In September & October
Dubrovnik, Croatia, is renowned for its red and orange roof tiles, historic landmarks, and dazzling blue water. Located on the Dalmatian Coast, the city attracts cruise line passengers and Game of Thrones fans who flock to the area between May and August. But if you want to avoid the crowds, go in September or October.
There are fewer tourists and more affordable hotel rates in the fall after the summer season ends. It’s also a great time to take advantage of the country’s grape and olive harvest season and visit nearby destinations such as Lokrum and Korcula.