Updated: Jul 20
You're likely thinking that September is the best time to travel, after all, the weather is beautiful virtually everywhere during that month. And you'd be right. The weather is pretty mild, it's less crowded and slightly more affordable. But maybe you're not looking for a specific month, you're looking for a season. My personal favorite time of year to travel is in autumn, but that's because I'm a sucker for amber and ruby leaves. But that may not work for you either, especially if you have kids and are limited to summer vacations. Summer travel can be overly crowded and very expensive because it's usually the high season, but the weather is nice. Yikes, while you're at it, you should probably be Googling when the rainy seasons are, you want to make sure you don't go during that time either. So when, exactly, is the best time to travel?
The answer is right now. Between your workload, your finances, your health, travel advisories, weekly schedules, and a whole other slew of catastrophic events that could happen, there's never a better time to travel than right now. Let me tell you why.
Why there's no such thing as the best time to travel
The idea that there's a single best time to travel is absurd. Everyone’s tastes are different, so a desert rat who lives in Vegas (like me) won’t shrink from rainy season because I rarely experience it. But if you live in the Scottish Highlands where they consistently record the lowest annual sunshine in the UK, you may always be chasing summer. Sure, you could wait until the tulips bloom in Amsterdam, or for the Christmas lights to go up in London. But what happens if you wait all that time, and something pops up? The truth is, now's the best time to travel because something is always going to pop up.
You know what the biggest objections are to taking your vacation time each year? Time and money. When you were much younger than you are today, you had all the freedom and flexibility in the world...but you never felt like you had enough money to travel. You probably have a lot more money now than you did then, but you probably spend more too, and you definitely don't have the free time. Are you seeing a pattern yet?
Henry Ford said, “whether you think you can or you think you can’t- you’re right.” That statement is true across the board. It’s not a problem with your money or how much time you can take off, it’s a problem with your mindset. The truth is, if you look at all the reasons you shouldn’t travel, you never will. But let’s address those reasons you’re telling yourself that I’m wrong, and that it’s really not the best time to travel for you.
Because I'm willing to bet your concerns aren't as insurmountable as you think.
Here are the most common reasons people don't think it's the best time to travel and how to overcome them.
It’s not the best time to travel because I don’t have the money right now
Money is such a taboo topic with people, and it’s really unnecessary. The more smoke and mirrors we allow to cloud the way we approach and discuss money, the less we will actually be able to use it as the tool it’s intended to be for each of us. It’s just money. YOU are the one who assigns the story around it. It’s like being afraid of the boogeyman, the fear grows when we don’t address it head on. So let’s confront your money issues right now. Is your bank account so empty it echoes? Maybe that private school tuition you’re shelling out each month for Junior’s Ivy League dreams is putting the squeeze on you.
Stop thinking of all the money you don’t have, or you’ll never have it. There are so many cost saving measures people can take these days, you just have to get creative. Can you make your own coffee in the morning? Can you switch brands? Can you stay off Amazon? When’s the last time you shopped around for car insurance? When you become aware of your spending habits, you’ll start to identify so many ways to save money. The key is to modify your behavior and take whatever money you would have spent, and sock it away in that vacation fund.
It’s not safe to leave the country right now so it can’t be a good time to travel
Listen, I get it. It’s been a crazy few years for nearly every single person on the planet. And what most of us are experiencing now is psychological fatigue, brought on by so many ups and downs, you probably don’t have enough fingers and toes to count them all. But while we still feel the major shifts and disruptions from a global pandemic, skyrocketing inflation, political and civil turmoil, they all kind of hang out on the edges of our consciousness these days. You know, like a group of punk kids waiting to snatch our purses if we come too far off the porch and try to live some sense of normalcy again.
Viruses, illnesses and infections
Here’s what you have to remember, there are always (and have always been) viruses raging around the world. You just may not remember them as vividly. Remember H1N1? What about West Nile and SARS? How about Ebola? And then there was the time the Zika virus was raging.
We traveled to Cuba during the Zika virus outbreak, and I had a nurse ask me why I would even risk going to the Caribbean when we may have children someday. And you know what, it hit me right then: I would rather live every single moment I’m given on this planet then look back and wish I’d have done something, if only I hadn’t been so scared. So we bought a mosquito net for the bed and we went anyway. You have to remember, there will likely never be a time in history where a population isn’t fighting a life-threatening disease or bacteria.
Speaking of life-threatening. Have you ever gotten some questionable test results back? The phone call from the doctor that says, “we found something and need you to come in for further testing.” If you haven’t, there’s no doubt someone you love has. And you know that feeling when the world stops rotating, every single plan you’ve ever had vanishes, and your mind starts racing about the future and potential lack thereof. Life can change in an instant, for every single one of us. We’re all sitting here with an expiration date. One of the most important things you can remember is that there were people who died today with plans for tomorrow. If that doesn’t tell you that right now is the best time to travel, keep reading.
Extremism and crime
Worried about violence and extremism overseas? That’s completely understandable, until you realize that in America, you can’t go to a movie theater, a grocery store, a spa, school or heck…even a bicycle trail without having the potential of being gunned down. Please note, I could care less what your politics are, or which side of the firearm debate you believe in…this is the reality you live in.
The New York Times published a partial list of mass shootings that had occurred in the U.S. in 2022, there were 531 with two and a half months still to go. They also cited data from The Gun Violence Archive for 2021, a nonprofit research organization that found there were 692 mass shootings that year, 28 of them involved at least four people dying in each of those incidents. Moral of the story, don’t allow yourself to believe you’re any less safe overseas than you are at home. You can’t even buy a box of tampons without looking over your shoulder anymore.
It’s not the best time to travel because I don’t have enough vacation time
Nothing melts faster than a popsicle in July, except for your vacation time. But every calendar year, there are tiny pockets of time that you can steal to pad your time off. Cue the bank holidays. Does Christmas Day or New Year’s Day fall on a Sunday? Great, you’ll automatically get Monday off. If you’re in the U.S. and Independence Day falls on a Tuesday, take a vacation day on Monday and you’ll get four days off for the price of one. The same goes for Thanksgiving. In most instances, you’ll get black Friday off in addition to the holiday. That means you can take that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off and have nine full days to go somewhere on vacation, and you’ll only have to use three vacation days.
Here’s a pro-tip, travel may be more expensive if you’re flying domestically that week, but most people don’t fly overseas during the American holiday, so there are so many more deals to be had. CBS News points out that because it’s not a globally recognized holiday, there’s less demand, thus driving down the price. Extra bonus points if you fly on Thanksgiving Day. Can you believe I’d suggest flying overseas instead of staying home and visiting your family? There are so many reasons to travel during the holidays, and these are five ways it will absolutely change your life.
Three- and four- day weekends are the secret to squeezing the most out of your very limited supply of vacation time. There are at least four instances of these long weekends every single year you could be taking advantage of, if only you’d stop daydreaming and start booking. Remember that the next time you’re looking at that mound of paperwork on your desk.
Final thoughts on the best time to travel
If you think about your life, when has there really been a best time to do anything? The difference between those who are the happiest and those who continue to feel like they're in a never-ending rut are the actions they take. Whatever you devote your time to, you devote your life to...so make sure it counts. Because if there's never truly as best time to travel, you may as well do it now. And for those who are still waiting for September, I hope it's everything you want it to be.
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Ashley Oñoz-Wright has been a travel writer and editor based in Las Vegas, NV for the last nine years and is a regular contributor for Manifesting Travel, Modern Luxury, Sophisticated Living, Greenspun Media Group, Vegas.com and LasVegas.com. She holds a degree in Sociology & Anthropology from DePauw University.