Secrets of the Shoulder Season
|Head and Shoulders Above the Rest: Off-season travelers need never share the Caribbean sunset with a crowd. (Abrahm Lustgarten)|
Vacation spots have long suffered from multiple personalities. Take my hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for instance. Starting right about July every year, the sleepy City Different takes on a manic temperament. Restaurants that dont require reservations suddenly do. Hotels that typically have rooms suddenly dont. Trails that wind around the cityoften lonely stretches of singletrack that you could once rip downare suddenly clogged with out-of-town hikers. Post-ride margarita? Youll die of thirst before you get a seat.
High season is like this in just about any popular vacation destinationand rightly so. After all, who wants to come to a place when the suns not shining, the waters not warm, the waves arent big, and all the post-huck amenitiesthe concerts, the nightlife, the festivalsare non-existent? But your options dont always have to be so black and white. Behold the shoulder season, those transitional months when the weathers still great but the crowds have gone home.
We know that work schedules and school calendars can make it difficult to take a vacation during these times, but if youre looking to save big bucks and still find big adventure, its worth the effort. Come to Santa Fe after Labor Day, for instance, and youll be rewarded with discounted prices on rooms, the best weather of the whole year, empty trails, and instant seating on the deck for drinks afterward.
Over the next couple of months well single out geographical areas on the cusp of falling out of favor with the seasonsthe Caribbean in the summer, Australia in the winterand tell you how you can stretch your adventure budget without sacrificing thrills. Well also list a few of the better shoulder-season festivals, offer you a few dream one- and two-week itineraries (feel free to abduct at will), and profile a few sweet package trips that actually do pass the savings on to you . Simply put, your summer vacation might never be the same again.
CLICK HERE FOR A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF ALL OF THE AWAY NETWORKS SHOULDER SEASON PROFILES
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication