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The best travel tips for the 2024 high season

To the point Learn our tips for travelling in high season: book early, stay flexible and save on your vacation despite the high prices.

High-season travel can be challenging due to crowds, high prices and limited availability of accommodation and attractions. If, for example, you’re in France during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, you’ll definitely experience the high season! However, with a few tips, some good travel advice, and good preparation, you can enjoy your vacation fully, even during this period, without breaking the bank.

What is high season?

First of all, the high season, also known as the “tourist season”, refers to the periods of the year when the number of travellers reaches its peak. It could be because of the ideal weather for visiting certain places, a time of year when most people are on vacation, or a special event such as the cherry blossom season in Japan or summer in the northern hemisphere.

These periods are characterized by high tourist numbers, higher prices for flights, accommodation and activities, and greater demand for tourism-related services. Indeed, if you’re planning to visit Tokyo in the middle of April, the place will likely be packed with tourists, and your travel experience might be less enjoyable because of the crowds.

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When is the peak travel season and what are the months?

The start of the high season for travel varies according to destination and climate.

Here is an overview of the high season in different regions of the world:

Region Period Notes
Europe Summer (June to August) Ideal weather conditions for exploring towns, beaches and historic sites.
Christmas and New Year Time for Christmas markets and ski destinations.
North America Summer (June to August) Explore national parks, beaches and urban attractions.
Winter (December to February) Ski destinations (Rockies) and more tropical destinations(Florida).
South America

Winter (April to September) Dry season in northern South America (Peru, Ecuador)
Summer (December and January) Summer season in more southerly countries. Patagonia’s busiest hiking trails.
Central America Winter (December to April) Dry season, ideal travel conditions and the destination of choice for escaping cold temperatures in North America
Holy Week (Semana Santa) Strong tourist influx for local festivities.
Caribbean Winter (December to April) Dry climate, pleasant temperatures for all-inclusive vacations. High cruise season, many cruise ships in the archipelago.
Asia December to February Drier, cooler climate in Southeast Asia.
May to September High season in Indonesia (dry season), destinations such as Bali.
Local festivals Chinese New Year (late January to February), Holi festival (March), Songkran (April), etc., attract large numbers of tourists.
Australia and New Zealand Summer (December to February) Southern summer. Tourists arrive to enjoy the beaches, the weather is fine and it’s the perfect time for outdoor activities.
Africa Dry seasons In East Africa (June to October and December to February), ideal for safaris as animals converge on the rare water sources.
Southern summer (December to February) High season in South Africa.

What is the low season for air tickets?

On the other hand, the low season for air tickets corresponds to those periods of the year when demand is generally lower, although the travel experience can remain just as satisfying. During these periods, airlines often lower their prices to attract more passengers.

Here’s an overview of the low-season periods for air tickets in different parts of the world:

Region Period Notes
Europe Winter (November to March, excluding holiday periods) Low season with fewer people in tourist cities like Paris, London and Barcelona.
Autumn (September to November) Lower airfares after the back-to-school period and before the end-of-year vacations. Mild temperatures, fewer crowds.
North America Autumn (September to November) Lower prices after the summer high season and before the Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations. More affordable destinations like New York, Orlando and Las Vegas.
Winter (January to March) Lower airfares after the holiday season until spring break.
South America Spring (September to November) Off-season, trails and resorts are less crowded. Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro will be less busy at this time of year.
Asia Rainy season (June to September) Low season in Southeast Asia with attractive airfares to destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. More humid climate with fairly heavy rainfall.
After local festivals Lower airfares after major festivities such as Chinese New Year or Diwali.
Australia and New Zealand Southern winter (May to August) Lower tourist numbers, lower airfares. Variations possible according to specific destinations (ski resorts may be more expensive).
Africa Rainy season Low tourist season in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania) from March to May. Less ideal travel conditions, less interesting safaris.

How to make your trip a pleasant one during the high season?

Paris 2024

The Olympic Games come to Paris from July 26 to August 11, 2024! Not only is this the peak season in Europe and France, but Paris and the other cities where certain events will be held (Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, to name but a few) will be even busier.

If you find yourself in Paris during this special period, we have two tips for you.

  • Read our practical Paris travel guide to help you enjoy the City of Light.
  • Use the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card to pay for all your expenses. In addition to saving the 2.5% conversion fee, you’ll earn Scene+ points that can be used to reimburse a portion of your trip at a later date. What’s more, Visa is one of the global partners of the Paris 2024 Games, so your card will be accepted everywhere on site.

High-season travel - Book early

Booking in advance is essential for a great travel experience in the high season, especially if you want to use points. Flights, hotels and popular activities fill up fast. By booking several months in advance, you’ll have access to a wider range of options and can often benefit from lower rates.

Use a tool like Google Flights or Skyscanner to find the best airfares for your destination. You can also set up price alerts on these sites to keep you informed of price cuts. These flight comparators allow you to find the best deals and track price trends; the savings can be even more significant for families since you need more plane tickets, and they take up a good part of the budget.

Buy tickets for popular attractions in advance to avoid queues and last-minute fares. Sites like GetYourGuide offer guided tours for many tourist activities, and give the option of cutting the queues.

High-season travel - Be flexible with your dates in the very high-season

If possible, be flexible with your travel dates when aiming for a vacation in peak tourist season. Travelling just before or after peak periods can save you money and avoid crowds. For example, going away on weekdays rather than weekends can often reduce costs. Leaving on a Thursday and returning on a Monday can be much more economical than leaving on Saturday morning and returning on Sunday evening. So it can sometimes be more economical to take a few extra days off to get better prices.

Alternatively, if you’re flexible when it comes to choosing your vacation, the periods just before or after high season, such as early June or late August, often offer a good compromise between good weather and more reasonable prices. You can also enjoy equally pleasant weather conditions without the inconvenience of large crowds.

High-season travel - Be flexible with your destinations

Staying flexible with destinations is an excellent strategy for travelling during peak season. Indeed, a good travel tip is to consider visiting emerging destinations or lesser-known regions. For example, instead of Bali, explore Lombok or Flores in Indonesia, or South America instead of Europe.

Also, to save on flights during the high season, an effective tip is to book flights to airports as gateways and then use low-cost airlines to reach your final destination. For example, instead of looking for a direct flight to an expensive tourist destination, book a flight to any major nearby hub, such as London, Paris or Singapore. These airports often benefit from competitive fares due to strong competition between airlines.

Plan enough time between your flights, as buying separate tickets can lead to headaches in the event of flight cancellations or delays.

High-season travel - Travel with a carry-on bag

Travelling with a carry-on bag in high season is another important tip to avoid the risk of lost luggage and save time and money unless you have a credit card that gives you the advantage of free checked baggage. By keeping your personal belongings with you at all times, you eliminate the risk of your luggage getting lost between two connections. You also avoid the long waits at the carousel and the extra fees often charged by airlines for checked baggage.

To optimize your cabin baggage, choose a bag that respects the maximum dimensions allowed, and organize your belongings with compression bags. Wear your bulkiest clothes during the flight to save space. For advice on what to buy, the Milesopedia team has compiled a list of the team’s favourite travel accessories for you to peruse.

Travelling light will eliminate a lot of hassle, and you can also consider same-day stand-by if the opportunity ever presents itself!

High-season travel - Plan and book your activities

Planning, but above all, booking your activities in advance allows you to maximize your time and avoid disappointment. Some attractions need to be booked weeks or even months in advance, especially in high season. Local guides can offer unique perspectives and help you avoid long queues. For families with young children, this is crucial to avoid crises, since children are not necessarily patient!

Also, don’t overlook hotel concierge services or credit cards, which can sometimes find us seats when a restaurant is already fully booked.

High-season travel - Take advantage of off-peak times

Even in high season, there are times of the day when attractions are less crowded. Getting up early or visiting sites at the end of the day is a travel tip to avoid the crowds.

Most tourists start visiting around 10 a.m., so arrive as soon as it opens. You’ll be able to enjoy the sights in a quieter, more pleasant atmosphere. Similarly, if you’re an early riser, you can have popular sites like Rome’s Trevi Fountain all to yourself!

Alternatively, lunchtime is another good time to visit while most people are away eating. By planning your visits this way, you can avoid restaurant queues too!

voyage-haute-saison-trevi

High-season travel - Use loyalty programs and credit cards

Using credit card points and loyalty programs to save in high season is an effective strategy for reducing travel costs. Loyalty programs and points-based credit cards can save you a lot of money. By accumulating points all year round, using your credit card for everyday expenses and choosing a card that suits your spending habits, you can quickly earn points for your travels. Take advantage of the family’s usual big expenses to collect lots of points!

These points can be used to book flights and hotels to reduce the high cost of travel during peak season. For example, you can use the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card and Scene+ points to earn and redeem points on your travel using Scene+ Travel developed by Expedia. This card will also be your ally when traveling, as you’ll never have to pay the usual 2.5% foreign currency conversion fee.

Sometimes it’s possible to find airline tickets at a “fixed” price using points, whereas the cash price fluctuates according to supply and demand. Booking in advance, sometimes up to a year in advance, is an important travel tip for high-season periods like spring break, summer vacations or the holiday season.

But don’t be discouraged if you’re last minute. It is often possible to find low-priced tickets on points less than two weeks before departure, as some partners release their unsold seats at that time.

What’s more, it’s also crucial to take advantage of welcome offers from credit card issuers and maximize the accumulation on everyday expenses. The best current offers are as follows:

Bottom Line

Travelling in high season presents unique challenges, but with the right preparation and a few tips, you can make the most of your stay, wherever you are in the world. Book early, be flexible, and explore lesser-known destinations! Don’t forget to use travel credit card points to maximize your savings!

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Aline Nguyen
I'm Aline, an experienced traveller, a foodie at heart, an Avgeek, a photography enthusiast and an expert on credit card programs. I use Reward Points to travel on a budget and to save money on everyday life; writing about these topics allows me to share my passion and help you. ~ 7 continents and 75 countries ~

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