The bright days of summer aren’t the only time to take to the road, water or the sky. In fact, for some travelers, summer isn’t even the best time at all.
The road less traveled can be the fast lane to fun. The cheaper air fares, attractive cruise ship deals, lower hotel rates, sparser crowds and shorter museum lines in the off-peak months are great lures. For the best balance between tranquility and activity, nothing beats the shoulder season.
“Shoulder season’’ is travel industry jargon for the period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, and again between Easter and Memorial Day. Whether you’ll really enjoy shoulder season, “depends on the type of traveler you are,’’ says Chris McGinnis, head of Travel Skills Group. “If you want a getaway, a leave-me-alone trip, this is the absolutely perfect time. This is the best time of year to take a cruise; prices are lower, the ships are sailing and everything is open. Also, you’ll have many resorts to yourself.’’
However, if you want a wide range of activities and people to share them with, shoulder season travel isn’t for you, says McGinnis, who blogs about business travel for youmustbetrippin.com, a Web site sponsored by Best Western International hotels.“Museums have shorter operating hours, and at hotels, one of the two hotel restaurants may be closed,’’ he says. “This is quiet time, when hotels are regrouping, a time when they’re renovating.’’ McGinnis advises checking with your hotel ahead of time to see if renovations are under way. If so, “When you check in, ask for a room as far away from the construction as possible.’’
Wendy Harvey, who heads public relations for the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, says her resort hotel did some renovations as summer wound down to the slower off-peak time. The Kea Lani built a new business center, but Harvey says disruption for guests was held to a minimum.
Harvey says shoulder season can be good time to visit Hawaii too.