There are certain times of the year when we know the airports will be a little more packed and the cost of traveling will be higher, at times significantly higher. I'm looking at you, June, July, August, November and December. During the summer months, school is out and work is slow, so understandably most people take their vacations at this time. And then the winter months mean holidays and quality time spent with family. So basically, these are peak travel times for a reason, and that isn't likely to change anytime soon.
All that said, there's a month that I like to think of as the most underrated travel month. Perhaps it's logistically a bit harder to take advantage of due to school or work, but, if possible, I think this is the perfect time to travel.
This time I'm looking at you, September.
Yes, September. The best time of the year to travel, in my opinion. I recently returned from an extended girls' weekend with friends, which further cemented the fact that September is an ideal time to take a vacation. I've also traveled around Italy, London, France, Germany, Montreal, and South Africa at this time and all of the above were unbelievably amazing in September.
For anyone who still needs convincing, here are five reasons why September is THE month to travel:
1. Fewer Crowds - I don't know about you, but standing in the blazing sun for hours on end because you're stuck in a long line of tourists sounds about as appealing as walking on a bed of nails. And yet, that's more or less what a travel experience in high season in a tourist city is like — places are packed. Super packed. And the sun is usually ridiculously hot. In September, the crowds have dissipated so you're less likely to fight your way through hordes of people or stand in a crazy long line to see a tourist attraction. That's not to say it's a ghost town, but I see it as the best of both worlds - you still get some people but not an overwhelming or obnoxious amount.
2. Ideal Weather - Remember that blazing sun I just mentioned? Well, chances are you won't have to deal with that in September, though admittedly this depends on where you go. But, for many places around the world, the weather is pretty ideal. Not too hot, not too cold... all you need is a light jacket. Perhaps you may deal with rain but I've always experienced mostly amazing weather when I travel this time of year. Case in point — when I went to Italy with my family last September, the weather mostly fluctuated between the 70s and 80s. When I visited Italy this past July, I had an amazing time but I also spent about 99.9% of the time sweating and mopping up my face every few seconds.
3. More Flight Deals/Better Airfare - Another great perk of traveling in September: flight deals! All the flight deals! In general, airfare tends to be more reasonable in September than in July or August, but I've also found in recent months that some amazing deals pop up with travel in September. Earlier this year, I booked an incredible fare (possibly an error fare but I can neither confirm nor deny this) from New York to London for $250. And not on a discount airline. The fare was available in September, however due to a scheduling conflict I booked the flight for later in the fall. I also saw a similar flight from New York to Dublin in September and often see many other deals popping up for September travel. It's basically the time to jump on a plane.
4. Extended Feeling of Summer - So one could argue that other months offer fewer crowds and more flight deals, but those other months are not after the main summer months of July and August. One of the other reasons I love September is because it extends summer a little bit longer and helps to ease you into fall. Think about it: most people cram in their vacations before Labor Day and after that, there's the general feeling of summer being over and it's back to work. But when you have travel plans in September, well, it doesn't really feel like summer is over because guess what? You have another trip coming up! Woo! And it's too early to be a fall trip, so it must fall into the summer category. Combine that with the nice weather and it feels like summer was extended just for you.
5. A Great Transition Into Fall - I mentioned this earlier, but I really do feel like a September trip helps you transition into fall. It's that shoulder season trip that extends summer a little bit longer and gives you something to look forward to in between the carefree months of June, July and August and the crisp weather of October and November. Once you hit October, you're basically in winter since all the stores start busting out their Christmas merchandise, so why not break it up a bit with a September trip? I'm basically just trying to provide another excuse as to why you should travel in September.
These are just a few of the reasons why I believe September is the best time to travel. I realize that if you have small kids in school, that may not be possible, but perhaps when they're all grown up and you have an empty nest, you can start planning those September adventures.
What do you think? Have you traveled in September and do you think it's the best time to take a trip?