preload

Flights to Europe this summer are *how* much?! Go ahead, rub your eyes – but you’re not seeing things. Our data shows that fares to popular European destinations are up 29% compared to last year. Summer is also the peak travel season for Europe, so costs rise even more from June to August with average airfare running upwards of $1,000. Talk about summertime sadness.

An alternative for summer travel is to go during the off-season. When temps drop, so do prices, making winter trips more affordable. But that means having to bundle up for sightseeing, which is… not ideal. Not a fan of either option? Well, Goldilocks, there’s a middle ground between these two seasons that’s juuuuust right. From where to go and when, here’s how to hack in-betweason travel to help you plan and save on upcoming trips.

The In-betweasons Guide

Meet me in the middle

What are “in-betweasons”? Sounds made up.

Okay fine, it’s also known as “shoulder season” – whatever you choose to call it, this time refers to the sweet spot between peak and off-season travel. For many destinations, in-betweason occurs during the spring and fall months, when temps are mild and crowds have chilled out.

K, then what are the perks of traveling during in-betweasons?

The biggest perk is saving money. Accommodations tend to cost less during in-betweason months due to less demand driving up prices. For example, you can save up to 27%* on flights to Europe during in-betweason months instead of peak travel times. In-betweason is typically accompanied by fewer crowds, too. It may not be as empty as the off-season, but you can expect less foot traffic while exploring. You’ll still want to make reservations ahead of time for dining and popular excursions, but you’ll have more space at top attractions (and fewer stragglers in your photos).

Another perk of taking an in-betweason trip is good weather. Fall and spring are typically warm enough to enjoy most summer activities, but cool enough that you won’t sweat through your clothes by midmorning. Just be sure to double-check for inclement weather seasons at your destination before you book – you wouldn’t want to visit when in-betweason overlaps with potential bad weather (ie hurricane or monsoon season).

What months are considered part of in-betweasons?

Generally, in-betweasons occur during the fall and/or spring – but the specific months differ per region. According to our data, here’s when to visit your destination to nail that sweet combo of good weather and decent savings*:

Trips during the middle months = cheaper travels.

Now that you know what in-betweasons actually are, here’s a quick look at just how much you could save on travel to each region*:

  • Europe: Save up to 27% on in-betweason flights compared to peak travel season ($747 vs $1,020 median prices).
  • South America: Save up to 19% on in-betweason flights to northern destinations ($482 – 578 vs $546 – 638 median prices) and up to 24% on flights to southern destinations ($591 – 1132 vs $591 – 1,110 median prices).
  • Central America: Save up to 12% on in-betweason flights compared to peak travel season ($540 vs $604 median prices).
  • Caribbean: Save up to 24% on in-betweason flights compared to peak travel season ($465 vs $610 median prices).
  • Middle East: Save up to 9% on in-betweason flights compared to peak travel season ($1,054 vs $1,164 median prices).
  • South Pacific: Save up to 8% on in-betweason flights compared to peak travel season ($1,510 vs $1,648 median prices).
  • Asia: Save up to 12% on in-betweason flights compared to peak travel season ($1,130 vs $1,287 median prices).
  • North America: Save up to 14% on in-betweason flights compared to peak travel season ($378 vs $437 median prices).
  • Africa: Save up to 20% on in-betweason flights to northern destinations ($801 – 1,010 vs $546 – 638 median prices) and up to 25% on flights to southern destinations ($1,068 – 1,339 vs $1,282 – 1,604 median prices).

The cheapest in-betweason destinations by state

Let’s get personal. Looking at our recent search queries, it’s clear that US travelers are eager to experience places in Europe and Asia. To give the people what they want, we dug through our numbers to find the cheapest in-betweason destinations by state. Here’s the lowdown on finding those deals based on your closest airport.

Destinations in Europe

Cheapest in-betweason destinations in Europe for all 50 states

Disclaimer: For states without an international airport, we’re using the closest major airport. 

….

Our takeaways for in-betweason travel in Europe:

April deals are no joke. Looking at in-betweason prices, April has the most options for visiting European destinations. There are affordable options in October and November too, but you’re more likely to find a deal in April with flights starting at $416.

Destinations in Asia

Cheapest in-betweason destinations in Asia for all 50 states

Disclaimer: For states without an international airport, we’re using the closest major airport. 

Our takeaways for in-betweason travel in Asia:

Spring is the new summer. Once again, April wins for the month with the most in-betweason deals. With options to destinations in Asia for 41 of the 59 airports considered, April flights start at $686.

Alright, we’ve given you all the information you need to take advantage of slower-season prices. You’ve got the deets on when to go and how much you can expect to pay… now what? Turn on the Price Alerts, that’s what. That way, we’ll notify you if/when the prices change so you can book when there’s a good deal.

Or, if you’d prefer to browse for even more affordable flights (in-betweason or not), hit up our Explore tool to find destinations based on your desired dates, budget, or interests. If you’re still dead set on traveling this summer… we don’t blame you. Sometimes summer vacations just hit different, so we wish you all the best on saving during peak season.

Methodology

Defining shoulder season by region:

Global regions were initially broken out by the following groups based on the size of that region.

Europe, Central America, Caribbean, Middle East, South Pacific and North America
To define shoulder season (a period between peak and low season) by region, KAYAK US considered all search dates for travel dates Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 in for 2019, 2021 and 2022 for travel from the US to each region. Peak season was defined as months with above average search counts (excluding December as an outlier due to holiday travel). Shoulder season was defined as the immediate month(s) preceding and/or following peak seasons where a trend was found for 2 of the 3 years of data considered. Months in each region that are typically met with inclement weather factors like monsoon or hurricane season were excluded.

Asia, South America and Africa
To define shoulder season in these regions, KAYAK first determined whether different parts of each region experienced different weather patterns depending on time of year. Upon finding this to be true, KAYAK found the top 20 most searched destinations for 2019 and 2022 travel for all travel dates. Only destinations that overlapped in both years were considered true most searched destinations. KAYAK then considered all search dates for travel dates Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 in for 2019, 2021 and 2022 for travel from the US to each of the top destinations in each region. Peak season was defined as months with above average search counts (excluding December as an outlier due to holiday travel). Shoulder season was defined as the immediate month(s) preceding and/or following peak seasons where a trend was found for 2 of the 3 years of data considered. Months in each destination that are typically met with inclement weather factors like monsoon or hurricane season were excluded. Upon outlining peak, shoulder and inclement weather seasons, KAYAK found that although Asia has different weather patterns, it largely sees the same pattern of shoulder season across the region. For Africa and South America, KAYAK found that weather patterns generally differed between the northern and southern parts of each region. Upon outlining peak, shoulder and inclement weather seasons by top destination in Africa, KAYAK was able to determine that Northern Africa weather patterns and therefore shoulder season consist of all countries north of, but not including, Senegal, Nigeria and Ethiopia, and countries including those listed made up Southern Africa weather patterns and shoulder season. Upon outlining peak, shoulder and inclement weather seasons by top destination in South America, KAYAK was able to determine that Northern South America weather patterns and therefore shoulder season consist of all countries north of, but not including, Ecuador and Brazil, and countries including those listed made up Southern South America weather patterns and shoulder season. Shoulder season definitions are based on KAYAK search data and are meant only as a guide. Refer to local resources to determine whether it is a good time to visit a city/country before booking.

Are travelers searching at above average rates for shoulder season in 2023?
For Asia, Europe, Central America, Caribbean, Middle East, South Pacific and North America, KAYAK considered flight searches from the US to each region between 8/1/2022 and 1/31/2023 for all 2023 travel dates. To determine whether shoulder season searches have increased compared to last year, KAYAK considered search dates 8/1/2021 – 1/31/2022 for all 2022 travel dates and then considered the average YoY increase in searches per region by month. The average 2022-2023 annual YoY percentage increase in searches was considered to determine the 2023 shoulder season months with a higher than average percentage increase in searches.

For Africa and South America, KAYAK considered flight searches from the US to the combined top destinations from 2019 and 2022. Search dates considered were 8/1/2022 and 1/31/2023 for all 2023 travel dates. To determine whether shoulder season searches have increased compared to last year, KAYAK considered search dates 8/1/2021 – 1/31/2022 for all 2022 travel dates and then considered the average YoY increase in searches per region by month. The average 2022-2023 annual YoY percentage increase in searches was considered to determine the 2023 shoulder season months with a higher than average percentage increase in searches. To generally state whether KAYAK saw an increase in searches, 4 or more destinations had to have seen an increase in searches during shoulder season.

How much can you save on flights in 2023 by traveling during shoulder season?
For Asia, Europe, Central America, Caribbean, Middle East, South Pacific and North America, KAYAK considered flight searches from the US to each region between 8/1/2022 and 1/31/2023 for all 2023 travel dates. To determine savings, KAYAK compared the average median airfare of the defined peak season months in a region to the average median airfare of the defined shoulder season months in that same region. Savings are based on general regional data and are meant to be representative of savings opportunities, which are not guaranteed.

For Africa and South America, KAYAK considered flight searches from the US to the combined top destinations from 2019 and 2022. Search dates considered were 8/1/2022 and 1/31/2023 for all 2023 travel dates. To determine savings, KAYAK used its 2019/2022 most searched destinations and applied the northern and southern peak and shoulder season information respectively. KAYAK then compared the average median airfare of the defined peak season months to the average median airfare of the defined shoulder season months in that same region. With varying levels of savings, KAYAK was able to present a range of savings opportunities for shoulder season. Savings are based on general regional data and are meant to be representative of savings opportunities, which are not guaranteed.

State-by-State Shoulder Season Data

Europe
KAYAK considered flight searches between 8/1/2022 and 1/31/2023 for travel dates in the months of March, April, October and November 2023 (previously defined shoulder season in Europe) from every US international airport code to European cities to determine the cheapest city to travel to during a specified shoulder season month. Airport codes without enough search data were excluded. Cities that did not meet a certain minimum click threshold were excluded. Prices are on average and are for example purposes only.

Asia
KAYAK considered flight searches between 8/1/2022 and 1/31/2023 for travel dates in the months of February, March, April, May, October and November 2023 (previously defined shoulder season in Asia) from every US international airport code to Asian cities to determine the cheapest city to travel to during a specified shoulder season month. Airport codes without enough search data were excluded. Cities that did not meet a certain minimum click threshold were excluded. Prices are on average and are for example purposes only.