Do you have clients that love to travel, but are looking for the deal? Be indispensable and book them a trip in shoulder season. Booking in shoulder season can guarantee low prices and a local-living style stay.
Shoulder season: The best of both worlds
Travel during peak season and you will get sky-high fares, overcrowded tourist destinations and the heat of summer. Travel during low season and you may risk bad weather and limited sightseeing options. Booking your trip during a shoulder season, like March through April, offers you the best of both worlds. The weather is mild, the crowds are smaller and the price is perfect! Locals are often in a better mood and more accommodating to tourists before busy season hits.
Here are a few of the world’s prettiest springtime destinations with affordable shoulder season rates.
If you’re looking for an excuse to take advantage of the great fares to Germany in April, look no further than Cherry Blossom Avenue. Each spring the quaint city of Bonn, Germany draws the attention of locals and travelers alike as rows of cherry trees burst with flowers. The canopy lasts for a week or two before the flowers fall, covering the cobblestone streets with blossoms reminiscent of the pink snow in Cat in the Hat Comes Back. Bonn, Germany is also the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. Visit his home and museum at Bonngasse 20 or the beautiful concert hall, Beethovenhalle, built in his honor.
Save by checking departures from major US hubs into Frankfurt.
Southern New Zealand
March through April is considered New Zealand’s fall season. The crowds of summer have thinned out and the leaves are beginning to turn yellow. If you’re looking for a unique experience, take a direct flight to Auckland, then travel to the South Island by ferry. The ferry takes 3 hours to cross the Cook Strait and it is said to be one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world.
Copenhagen is the world’s most bike-friendly city. In fact, the number of bikes in Copenhagen is actually greater than the number of people. What better time to explore a beautiful, foreign city by bike than when the trees are budding and daffodils are blooming? Rent a bike and head to one of Copenhagen’s many city parks with a picnic lunch.
Shop for low fares to Copenhagen on Lufthansa, SAS or KLM.
The only rival for Germany’s Cherry Blossom Avenue might be Kitakyushu, the home of Japan’s dreamy wisteria tunnels. The 150-year-old wisteria plants have been artfully arranged within the Kawachi Fuji Gardens to form pastel domes of white, purple, blue and blush pink along the walkways of the garden. Japan’s cherry trees (known as sakura in Japan) also bloom around this time, though it can be hard to predict when either flower will be in full blossom. During your stay, try popular seasonal treats made from the cherry tree leaves and blossoms such as sakura lattes, tea, and mochi.
Fly into either Osaka or Tokyo, then spend a night or two enjoying the city before heading on to Kitakyushu.
If you’re into the absurd, head to Gloucester, England this May for the annual Cooper Hill Cheese Roll. Here you can watch otherwise rational adults chase a 9-pound round of Double Gloucester cheese down a steep, slippery slope (and possibly break a bone or two). The winner is awarded the cheese round and the admiration of the entire village. If that’s not your thing, head to Northumberland to see the poppy fields or Cotswolds to see the bluebells in bloom. Spring is also the perfect season to check into a cozy, countryside bed and breakfast.
Compare fares to either London Heathrow or Gatwick and then journey on to the Gloucestershire area by train in about 2 hours or less.
The coastal city of Valencia maintains pretty optimal weather throughout the year. In the spring, temperatures hang near the 60s and 70s, striking a perfect balance of warm sunshine and cool, Mediterranean breezes. Valencia is considered a bird watcher’s paradise. Heron, egrets and African ibis flock to the Valencian wetlands on their migration paths. Adventurous hikers may catch a glimpse of a golden eagle, Egyptian vulture or an alpine swift as they venture into one of Valencia’s rocky mountain ranges. Don’t forget to try a pan of savory, saffron-infused paella, but be sure you research your restaurant thoroughly. Valencians are pretty passionate about the authenticity of their beloved dish.
Search fares to Madrid, then travel Madrid to Valencia via one of Spain’s high-speed trains in just an hour and a half.
Holland is famous for its windmills, wooden shoes and, in mid-April, its tulip fields. The winding flower beds of the Keukenhof Gardens hold over 7 million flower bulbs. In addition to the famous tulips, you will see hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and much more. Experience one of Holland’s original Boat-Bike tours, where a comfortable passenger barge will carry you from port-to-port over the course of one week, stopping at historic sites for you to grab a bicycle off the ship’s deck and explore the scenery, history, and culture of the Netherlands at your leisure. A Bike-Boat cruise starts as low as €499, including accommodations and meals.