I prefer to avoid traveling during the overcrowded tourist seasons with accordingly high accommodation prices, so I’m very careful in that aspect. It can work both ways: I can choose the destination and then consider when to go, or I may know the dates of my holidays and then decide where to go, also looking for appropriate weather conditions. I always learn what the most popular tourist times are to cross them off my list and plan my trip for the “right before” or “right after”. For example, I first traveled around China and took the Li River cruise at the end of March. It's not the season of high demand for private tour guides, so I was perfectly able to hire one for my cruise at a reasonable price.
Other dates to avoid are national holidays, exactly for the same reasons stated above. For example, I was the only participant of the Lisbon city walking tour one week after Easter, just when the tourist stream had thinned out! And I would never travel to China during their big holiday times, like the National Day at the beginning of October.
Something you may forget to check is other crowd-drawing events like festivals or concerts at the time of your stay. Bunches of hotel reservations and the consequent surge in prices can give you a hint though! I once took a spontaneous flight to Liverpool just hoping to do some shopping, only to find out all the hotels had been fully booked because of a concert thousands of people were attending on the same weekend.
The season can largely influence the visual appeal of some particular sights, like waterfalls, for instance. There is often not enough water in February in Marrocco or Thailand (in the picture) to make their waterfalls attractive enough for a visit. My huge disappointment was a trip to the Chinese Huanglong Valley in May. It was too early for the snow in the highlands to melt and feed the pools below with water. I think I have successfully picked my travel time for Aalesund and Geiranger (end of August), Koblenz and the Rhine river (middle of May), New Zealand (early December), China (depending on the region – end of March, late October or May).
- Published by Anita on December 1, 2015