There are almost 200 countries in the world today, and each one possesses unique qualities to explore on a vacation. You can plan an educational trip or arrange for a relaxing trip on a secluded beach. Remember, that timing is everything and you will want to choose the perfect time to vacation and avoid the pitfalls of crowds, rain and other conditions that might put a damper your trip.
Seasoned travels agree that nothing affects the value of your vacation as much as WHEN you choose to go. When it comes to vacations, some days are busier than others. You will enjoy your trip much more if you avoid bumper to bumper traffic on the roads and airports clogged with people.
Weather can also hamper the enjoyment of your trip. No one looks forward to a week of rain on their vacation to the Bahamas.
Here are a few reminders of the worst time of the year to travel including which seasons can cause the most anxiety to take a trip.
The Day Before Thanksgiving
This holiday definitely earns a spot as one of the most high-traffic travel days. The travel industry is aware of how important this trip is for families nationwide. It is no wonder that the
Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving are the most expensive travel days of the entire year. If you can leave a day earlier or return a day later, you’ll preserve your sanity, save money and likely avoid a meltdown by young family members during the middle of the crazy holiday season.
An added reminder about taking a trip specifically to New York at this time of the year… early November sees thousands of people domestically as well as those across the Atlantic travel to the city's marathon as well as to take part in Thanksgiving celebrations. Traveler beware!
Christmas & New Year’s
The winter holidays are one of the most popular stretches when people take their vacation days to travel to be with their families. It is estimated that during Christmas and New Year’s season, almost 95 million Americans will be on the road traveling to visit family and friends. Snowstorms, pounding rain and extra-cold weather can cause major flight delays and increased headaches, especially when the whole family is in tow.
New Year's Eve is another high-traffic day for airlines. Not everyone who watches the ball drop in Times Square is a local New Yorker, so flights are packed and often overbooked. Plus as schools usually start right after the first of the year, families are scrambling to get home all at the same time.
Mardi Gras is spring break for grown-ups. The most popular time to visit New Orleans is the extended weekend before Mardi Gras (February 5- 9). Travelers planning this trip can expect packed flights, busy roads and lack of hotel rooms. Over 1.2 million people attend Mardi Gras which is 3.5 times the normal population of New Orleans. Prices for rooms on Bourbon Street increase 151% over any other time during the year.
Easter and Spring Break
The exact timing of spring break varies from year to year and school to school, but usually hits around late March. That means increased traffic both on the road and at the airport, causing extra hassle for travelers.
Florida is the traditional spring break vacation destination. But regardless where you take a trip during this busy time period, expect traffic spikes, jam-packed airline flights and a shortage of hotel room space. Perhaps an Easter egg hunt in the backyard is a better option.
Memorial Day is the official kick-off for the summertime travel season, so you can predict that the airports will be hopping as the vacation season begins. Expect the roads to be packed with people making the most out of this four-day weekend as well.
This holiday is often considered the start of summer, and in most years, it is a very busy time to drive. The AAA projected last year that 36.1 million drivers would drive at least 50 miles from home during Memorial Day Weekend. That’s a lot of company moving from place to place.
Fridays in Summer
The U.S. Travel Association stated that the busiest summer travel days of the year are "Fridays, June, July and August." Summer is an insanely congested travel season, and weekends are the days most in demand. Put the two together, add the occasional weather delays and deluge of unexpected rain and you have the perfect recipe for a bad travel day.
As noted, summertime is a peak season for travel and family vacations. The air travel system faces all kinds of demands in July.
• There are vacation travelers, who are trying to pack in family and personal trips in the month when there’s generally no school
• Business travelers are also on the road, attempting to get things done before offices empty out in August, both in the U.S. and abroad
• More and more families choose cruising for a vacation with over 20,335,000 passengers annually and summer months are the period with peak demand
• If July 4th happens to fall on a weekend, travel will be even more challenging
Labor Day marks the end of the summer holiday travel season, and for many people it's the last chance to squeeze in just one more vacation as a three-day weekend getaway. Both roads and airports see a significant bump in traffic at this time, creating a need for patience at the end of the summer trip season.
A Word on Weather
You have no control over the weather, but you do have control over which season you take a trip to your destination. It is simple to Google weather trends and avoid the high humidity or rainy days when you plan for your vacation.
One of the easiest ways to monitor the weather is with a weather app on your phone. For example, hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th. You might want to consider trip insurance in case you have to cancel or change your plans at the last minute due to last minute rain predictions.
Make it Memorable
An unlimited number of adventures await you, whether you travel to the nation’s capital or explore previously forbidden cities like Havana, Cuba. And with a little planning you can avoid the highly crowded travel season for a more relaxing trip without the perils of rain and bad weather. After all, everyone deserves a memorable vacation.