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Summer may be officially over, but if you have vacation time to spare, consider exploring Europe during shoulder-season! Never heard of shoulder-season? You’re not alone. Find out more about this lesser-known travel season and get great tips on how take advantage of it below.
"Shoulder-season" is the time period between a destination’s busiest, most expensive season and the destination’s off-season, typically determined by weather. Unlike many tourist destinations, Europe has two yearly shoulder-seasons. Though it varies slightly by location, the first is in April through mid-June; the second is early fall, ending in October.
Visiting Europe during shoulder-season has almost as many advantages as being an AARP member! The weather is great, prices are a fraction of peak-season, and the waiting lines for popular attractions are a lot shorter.
Cost: Travel during shoulder-season comes with a lower price tag since there’s less demand among leisure tourists. As a result, hotel stays and flights are typically more affordable. Spending less time on accommodations means you may have more money to splurge on unique excursions and dining during your visit. Remember, to check out how AARP Members can save on flights and hotels while planning your trip. For last minute deals, be sure to check out the Limited Time Offer Travel deals here.
Weather: One of the greatest advantages is undoubtedly the weather. Traveling during shoulder-season means you avoid the harsh summer heat and jarring winters. Instead, you’ll enjoy cool days and still have sunlight long enough for day trips.
Ease of Travel: Fewer tourists mean shorter lines and the convenience of moving at your own pace while enjoying museums, landmarks and other popular sites. If you or someone you’re traveling with has a disability, shoulder-season is likely a better time to arrange special accommodations for shows or tours since the crowds are smaller. Nevertheless, attractions may have condensed hours so be sure to double-check the schedules as you plan your adventures.
What To See
Now that you have the knowledge, the only thing left is to figure out the destination! While all of Europe is worth visiting, several cities are ideal to maximize shoulder-season perks. For a chance to see the Northern Lights and snag cheap hotels, visit Reykjavik, Iceland! To relax on Spanish beaches, sans kids that have returned to school, head to the gorgeous San Sebastian, Spain. Don’t forget, there’s another shoulder-season in six months so don’t feel pressured to pack it all in at once!
For more travel savings for shoulder-season and beyond, head to the AARP Member Advantages Travel page for year-round deals and discounts.
These articles present general information and are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice.