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Here’s the Cheapest Time to Travel to These Popular European Cities



Visiting Europe is a top goal for a lot of Americans this summer. I mean, for 20 states in the US, Italy is the most searched summer vacation destination. Plus, with the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics taking place in July and August, the urge to get over there and take some vacation pictures next to some European icons can be overwhelming.

But, even though 20% of Americans are willing to go into debt to afford their trips this summer—putting your vacation on credit isn’t ideal. So how can you make it across the Atlantic to a charming Euro city for cheap? Well, the tips to save money on travel are numerous. There are timetables for the best time to buy international flights and travel deals you can keep an eye on. Travel hacks are an endless well of good and bad advice.

One of the most important ways to plan that cheap trip comes down to timing: you might just have to sacrifice that summer vacation in exchange for a shoulder season vacation. Shoulder seasons are the periods between peak and off-peak seasons, like late spring and late summer. According to a new study from Radical Storage, the best time to book travel for Europe is for this shoulder season—and two cities come out on top for where you’ll save the most money during this period.

By analyzing over 12,000 hotel prices and data from Google Flights, Radical Storage determined that Paris, France has had the best shoulder season discounts on hotels; you can save an average of 60.3% during shoulder season compared to peak season. Budapest, Hungary, has the largest average savings on flights during shoulder season. Travelers can expect to save 56.6% on shoulder season flights to Budapest.

The cheapest time to travel to any international destination is during shoulder seasons—the study found that on average, a traveler can save $28 per night on hotels and $122 on return flights.

“Shoulder season is the period before or after peak season but not yet the off-season. For example, many European destinations have a very busy summer (July/August) but May, June, September, and October may be considered shoulder season (it varies per destination), while January could be considered the off-season or low season,” the study states. “Visiting destinations in shoulder season usually means lower costs and lower crowds, while still keeping good enough weather for tourism.”

The study also determined the timeframe for popular destinations’ shoulder seasons—which can help you plan future trips. For example, Athens, Greece peak month is August, while the best shoulder season month is April. Alternatively, Kyoto, Japan’s peak tourism month is October, while the best shoulder season month is June. Here’s the detailed list of popular destination’s shoulder season months:

  • Shenzhen – February
  • Shanghai – March
  • Athens – April
  • Barcelona – April
  • Brussels – April
  • Copenhagen – April
  • Florence – April
  • Frankfurt – April
  • Hong Kong – April
  • Istanbul – April
  • Milan – April
  • Munich – April
  • Prague – April
  • Sapporo – April
  • Singapore – April
  • Sydney – April
  • Toronto – April
  • Venice – April
  • Vienna – April
  • Abu Dhabi – May
  • Bangkok – May
  • Berlin – May
  • Doha – May
  • Dubai – May
  • Edinburgh – May
  • Guangzhou – May
  • Fukuoka – June
  • Kyoto – June
  • Seoul – July
  • Antalya – September
  • Madrid – September
  • Nice – September
  • Osaka – September
  • Palma de Mallorca – September
  • Warsaw – September
  • Amsterdam – October
  • Beijing – October
  • Budapest – October
  • Dublin – October
  • Lisbon – October
  • London – October
  • Melbourne – October
  • Paris – October
  • Rhodes – October
  • Stockholm – October
  • Tokyo – October
  • Zurich – October
  • Rome – November
  • Taipei – November

For more information on the best cities to visit during shoulder seasons all over the world, head to the RadicalStorarge website.

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