Overpacked crowds and overpriced F&B are so overrated. Summer tends to be the peak season for many desired destinations—but traveling off the beaten path can still give you an astounding and cost-friendly adventure. For groups, off-season might make suppliers more receptive to requests for flexibility.
Consider these destinations for your late summer or early autumn getaway.
Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic
It may sound wild, but hear us out: hurricane season in the Caribbean. The period is typically marked from Mid-August to late October. Director of Caribbean Tourism Sylma Brown told USA Today that flights are cheaper, and you can save almost 50 percent when booking a hotel.
A storm is obviously not hitting the area every day—which means on clear days you can bask on the wide-open beaches in temperatures that stay in the mid- to upper-80s. Cruise ships are a good choice, compared to hotels, because they can “outrun” storms and redirect to different ports if needed.
With careful planning, a trip during this rocky season could be well worth your while. Start smart: travel insurance is a sound investment. When comparing, look at whether policies will cover the cost of missed travels due to bad weather, what will happen if your destination becomes uninhabitable and other pertinent questions.
When booking flights, keep an eye out for providers who give refunds or allow rebooking in hurricane destinations during inclement weather. A major plus during hurricane season is that hospitality suppliers are much more likely to be extra accommodating to ensure your comfort.
The Caribbean is a big place and the southern reaches are less likely to be affected by storms. Think Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada. This applies for southern Central America (i.e. Panama and Costa Rica) as well.
Nordic Countries and Europe
A summer in Europe is a popular dream. However, ticket prices climb into the thousands of dollars, sweltering heat and annoyed-by-the-tourists locals can wreck it all.
In Europe, shoulder season is considered September through October. This timeframe often presents a chance to get to know the cities on a more intimate level. You can partake in more hyperlocal activities at the numerous festivals treasured by residents. Become giddy at Germany’s beloved Oktoberfest in Munich, taking place early in the month. Then hop over to Perugia, Italy, home to one of the largest chocolate festivals, Eurochocolate.
In Nordic countries, the perfect balance of joy is found in the late summer and early autumn limbo. The sun shines for 24-hours-a-day, allowing you to build an unorthodox schedule. This could mean teambuilding sans jetlag! In fact, the Northern Lights begin their mesmerizing eight-month display in late August.
You’ll also avoid the harsh, snowy winters during this time. Instead, you’ll take in the lush and alive wilderness not typically photographed.
Off season in the U.S. can vary by state and city. Often, what a destination is famous for is what you should keep an eye on. But fall is generally safe for off-season travel as the kids head back to school.
For New Orleans, January and February are a no-go as the Mardi Gras festivities begin to kickoff. The summer has scorching temperatures that may be unbearable to some. The fall, however, brings cool breezes and good eats at food festivals, such as the Fried Chicken Festival. The city is prime for outdoor drinking and fresh oysters.
In Portland, Maine, hotel rates tend to drop after Labor Day. Although, the weather remains nice in September. Enjoy the seaside delicacies like a local as the town becomes more subdued. The fall temperatures become the perfect climate for the infamous Rose Garden to blossom. The more than 500 species of roses are sure to enchant you.