Seasons: making the most of a holiday
An ill-timed holiday could result in days on a soggy beach or a ski trip to bare slopes. Check before you book with this guide to seasons.
Before you book anything for a trip overseas, it's worth doing your homework on something that could make or break your time away: the seasons, climate and typical weather of the place you want to go and the time you want to visit.
Of course, weather is unpredictable and varies with altitude or when affected by systems from the coast or the continent. The seasons on this page are just guidelines and should be investigated further and closer to your trip. For more information about the weather and climate in the country and city you are visiting, see the World Meteorological Organization's World Weather Information Service website.
Parts of Southeast Asia experience intense rainy seasons with cool weather and persistent rains - a far cry from the idyllic beach paradises that cover websites and travel guides. The tropical latitudes of the Southeast Asian peninsula and the various seas that border the coasts means that the wet and dry seasons differ between countries and even between areas within a country. Below are the seasons summarised, by country and region (if applicable).
Winter monsoon: Nov-Mar
Summer monsoon: Apr/May-Nov
A large country with diverse environments and climates, the Indian Meteorological Department recognises four broad seasons in Indiaix:
- Cooler season (cold and dry) - Jan-Feb
- Pre-monsoon (hot and wet) - Mar-May
- Southwest monsoon (heavy rainfall) - Jun-Sep
- Post monsoon (Northeast monsoon, cool and wet) - Oct-Dec
The Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands - including popular travel destinations Fiji and Vanuatu - have a dry, cooler season that runs from May to October, and a wetter, warmer season from November to April. Islands closer to the equator tend to have warmer climates than those further southx.
The seasons in the northern hemisphere are: spring (Mar-May), summer (Jun-Aug), autumn (Sep-Nov), and winter (Dec-Feb). These seasons are experienced - to varying degrees - at these times in Europe, Canada and the northern region of the USA, and northern parts of Asia (including China, Korea and Japan).
Temperate climates in the Southern Hemisphere run opposite to those in the north, with the summer months being December to February and winter being the mid-year months June to September. This seasonal pattern is experienced in Australia, New Zealand, and southern regions of the South American continent.
Peak and off-peak times for travel are closely linked with climate and tourist attractions: so prices will increase for beach-heavy countries during summer or dry seasons, and increase for skiing destinations during winter and spring, when snow is most likely to be on mountain tops.
But there are advantages to travelling “off-peak". An obvious one is price. As these seasons are typically less popular with tourists, flights and accommodation tend to be cheaper and more readily available. Another benefit is that you can avoid crowds and, in hotter countries, a trip during the cooler or wetter months may be a relief from an otherwise sticky, hot, and sunburnt holiday.
Avoiding weather-related disasters
It's also important to be aware of the more severe events that can come with seasonal change. Fortunately, extreme weather events tend to be more predictable than other types of disasters and being informed means that you can plan your trip accordingly - ideally avoiding susceptible areas during event-prone times of the year. Examples include: monsoon-related typhoons in Vietnam, Hong Kong and China; seasonal flooding where there are rainy seasons; hurricanes in southern US, Central America and the Caribbean islands; and tornadoes in America's Midwestxi. Hurricane season in the South Pacific Islands is from November to Aprilx.
Wherever you travel and whenever you choose to go, being prepared for the weather is essential for an enjoyable trip. Part of your planning should include finding a travel insurance policy that suits you and the adventures you take. For appropriate travel cover at a competitive price, get in touch with Allianz Travel Insurance today.
i Austrade, 2012, Visiting Cambodia: Climate, http://www.austrade.gov.au/Visiting-Cambodia/default.aspx
ii Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Indonesia), Discover Indonesia: Climate, 8 January 2013, http://www.indonesia.travel/en/discover-indonesia#tab5
iii Austrade, 2012, Visiting Laos: Climate, http://www.austrade.gov.au/Visiting-Laos/default.aspx
iv Malaysian Meteorological Department, Monsoon, http://www.met.gov.my/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=69&Itemid=160&lang=english
v Department of Tourism (Philippine Government), Travel tips, http://www.tourism.gov.ph/SitePages/Traveltips.aspx/
vi Meteorological Service Singapore, 2007, Regional Weather, http://www.weather.gov.sg/wip/web/ASMC/Regional_Weather
vii Tourism Authority of Thailand, About Thailand: Weather, http://www.tourismthailand.org/Thailand/weather
viii Austrade, 2012, Visiting Vietnam: Climate, http://www.austrade.gov.au/Export/Export-Markets/Countries/Vietnam/Visiting
ix Indian Meteorological Department, 2010, Climate Profile of India, p.2-5, http://www.imd.gov.in/doc/climate_profile.pdf
x Pacific Islands Tourism Guide, Pacific Islands weather, http://www.pacifictourism.travel/pacific-islands/about/pacific-islands-weather.html
xi Discoveramerica.com, USA travel information: natural disasters, http://www.discoveramerica.com/usa/travel-information.aspx