What are your Objectives?
What are the main things that you want to do in this place? This will give you the biggest indication of where and when you should go first.
Do you want to work there? If so, what sort of work are you hoping to find? If you want to go fruit or vegetable picking, have you found a website with the fruit seasons for that country? If you want to work in hospitality, you will have to consider going there in the peak season which will mean higher living costs. Are you wanting to work on farms or in people’s places in exchange for your labour? If so, have you checked out Helpx and other sites for this so you can book in?
Are you going there to explore and play? If so, when is the season that provides you with the best conditions for your sport or hobby? I had never lived in the snow, so when I went to America, I wanted to ski and live in places surrounded by snow to experience something different. I wanted a white Christmas too. I ended up with a great travel buddy, a Greyhound bus ticket and discounts at backpackers throughout Canada. I felt I’d accomplished my goal with this but, I found some national parks were closed in the Rocky Mountains and in the centre of USA that I was hoping to visit. Sometimes, you just have to plan to go back in a different season to accomplish everything that you want to do.
I also wanted to sail in the Mediterranean over the summer so I had to plan my arrival to match with the season. If you’re wanting to sail across some ocean by hitchhiking on a yacht, then you’d better read my article about the timing for the different crossings. Read more about crewing around the world
Budget wise, the ‘peak’ season will be most expensive which leaves the ‘off’ season and the ‘shoulder’ seasons. You will have to research what that means for different countries. I always seek out the ‘shoulder’ seasons because I find the cost of living and traveling less, but you will still usually have some good weather windows and finding accommodation is cheaper. Sometimes the ‘off’ season is what suits what you want to do there. In New Zealand, the peak season is the summer, but I love to go in the spring to see the snow capped mountains, the lambs and flowers. You can even catch a bit of the end of the ski season too if you want. Sometimes the ‘off’ season is the wet season in a country which might mean that accessibility may be hindered or it might just torrent down everyday of your journey. The summer in North Queensland, Australia is the wet and humid season when the lethal stingers are in the water and cyclones could hit. The winter there is mild and comfortable and the stingers are usually absent. So do your research to find what it is you’re looking for.
Important Seasonal Points of Interest
- Christmas is hot in the Southern Hemisphere, (sorry if this seems obvious)
- Some countries almost shut down for religious or climate considerations, E.g. Italy in August, Australia/NZ over Christmas and Easter
- Areas of the Amazon become inaccessible in the wet season
- Water temperatures for sailing, swimming and surfing vary greatly in the seasons
- Hurricane/Cyclone/Typhoon seasons can cause major disruptions in your travel plans – be flexible and stay safe
- Early ski seasons may mean no snow yet
- Some areas have seasonal dangers such as increased shark attacks, lethal stingers/jellyfish/snake breeding seasons -be aware of these timings if you are going to areas where such dangers are known
- Siesta in some countries in summer means that the shops and everything closes down when you arrive or want to go out
- A wet season may mean that you never get to go out or reach your destination