Summer is undoubtedly a popular time for Americans to travel. With kids out of school and office environments a little more relaxed, it seems only natural to use your vacation days and get out of town.
But the big question is: Where should you go? Obviously, the possibilities are endless, but there are also certain places you might not want to visit between June and August. Most major European cities, for example, are overwhelmingly crowded during the summer, and many establishments shut down in August as locals leave town. And traveling in parts of Asia can be less than ideal, thanks to very high temperatures and humidity levels.
HuffPost asked some travel experts for recommendations of where not to go in the summer ― and when they would suggest visiting those places instead.
“Summer is the high season for the French capital, with expensive hotel rooms, tons of tourists and ridiculously long lines to museums. March and October are better times to go. The weather may be a bit colder but the lines are much shorter! If you’re looking for old-world European glamour, art and culture during the summer, go to Vienna instead. Bonus: You can take a tram to the many wineries that surround the city.” ― Jessica van Dop, travel media specialist and blogger at The Dining Traveler
“I lived in Thailand for two years, and from May/June to October, the weather would change drastically. It would rain every day for hours to the point that flooding pictures would be seen all over my Facebook. The islands ― Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao and Phuket ― are very popular travel destinations, and they receive the worst rain during those months. I had a lot of family members and friends try to visit me during American summer, and I spent a lot of those visits apologizing for the weather because it affected our plans. A great time to visit Thailand is November to February. It is known to be their winter and high season for travelers. It has perfect beach weather and lots of open activities to do on the water. However, I have also been Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia during those rainy season months and the rain didn’t effect or disrupt any of my plans.” ― Tosin Idowu, educator and travel vlogger
“If you’re traveling with kids and want a peaceful beach, the south of Ibiza is not a great choice. I would recommend going in May or September. You’ll have lovely weather and the beaches to yourself.” ― Laura Hall, director of communications at Kid & Coe, a family-friendly vacation rental service
“Visiting much of Africa will result in similar weather year-round if you stay close to the equator, but if you are thinking of visiting southern Africa, remember they have opposite seasons, so our winter is their summer. You do not want to explore Cape Town wearing a parka, so save a visit to southern Africa for December to March, their summer.” ― Jessica Nabongo, founder of boutique travel agency Jet Black and travel blogger at The Catch Me If You Can
“Venice, Italy gets very, very busy. Any time after September, it’s a lot less crowded and you’ll have the canals to yourself” ― Hall
And Pretty Much The Rest Of Italy
“Ferragosto (which comes from ‘Festivals of Emperor Augustus’) is the Italian holiday on Aug. 15 of each year, coinciding with the Assumption of Mary, a Roman Catholic holiday. Many families and businesses close up shop and head to the mountains or beaches for fun and summer heat relief. You’ll find several restaurants closed, even in big cities like Rome. ... August welcomes blazing hot temperatures throughout Italy. If you are sensitive to the heat, it is not an ideal time to go. I would recommend May or October, which are filled with great spring and harvest festivals, milder temperatures and less tourists. December and January are recommended for those who prefer colder temperatures and Christmas markets. February is great for ‘Carnival Collectors,’ since many carnival celebrations are held in cities and villages throughout the boot.” ― Lisa Vogele, a travel consultant, author and blogger
“Tempting as it may sound to lay eyes on the Taj Mahal over your summer vacation, resist the urge! Summer in India, which lasts from April until June, can see scorching temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) ― not the best weather for jostling with hundreds of other tourists as touts try to part you and your money. After June, the monsoon season begins, raining until September or so. Though a bit cooler than summer, torrential downpours and sticky humidity aren’t the best ingredients for an idyllic summer vacation. Instead of sweating it out at the Taj in summer, schedule your Indian adventure in October or November. An explosion of greenery follows the monsoon, and temperatures will drop back down to a balmy 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit ). The Taj Mahal is beautiful all year-round, but you’ll appreciate it much more if you don’t have to wipe a waterfall of sweat from your eyes to see it.” ― Alex Reynolds, travel blogger at Lost With Purpose
“If you’re craving a bit of beach time, Miami may come on top of your list. However, the hot balmy weather may not be as fun, even the water is lukewarm in the summer months! Instead go to Puerto Rico. The island needs visitors more than ever after suffering from Hurricane Maria. You have gorgeous beaches with a nice Caribbean breeze. If you’re more of a mountain person, head to the center of the island and explore the many local hiking trails, with a view of the ocean.” ― van Dop
“If you’re planning a summer holiday in the Highlands of Scotland, make sure you go prepared. The Scottish midge season is at its height in July and August, so you’ll need to keep skin covered and wear insect repellant to avoid being bitten. Or, alternatively, you could visit in September or October, when the changing color of the trees adds to the beauty of the scenery, and the midges are not so vicious.” ― Sally Akins, travel and food blogger
“Andalucia’s charm is well-known all over the world. Passionate flamenco dances, mouth-watering tapas and warm sunny days ― those are the main factors that attract people to visit Seville, the seductive capital of Andalucia. Moreover, Seville strikes with jaw-dropping architecture, a result of the Moorish influence in the region, and a pure Spanish spirit. Not to mention those lovely orange trees on the streets. However, in order to enjoy your Andalucian fairy tale, do not go there in summer. In July and August, the temperature hits 104 degrees Fahrenheit and might cause serious health consequences. Instead, visit Seville in spring or autumn for the best experience.” ― Evelina Radoycheva, travel blogger at Little Big Traveler
“I have always found that tourist-filled Martha’s Vineyard is much, much better in September. The water is warmer! That’s true for Nantucket and the Cape. These days the closing-up date is always Columbus Day in early October, when a final mini-surge of visitors is guaranteed.” ― Max Hartshorne, editor of the travel website GoNOMAD.com
South, Southeast and East Asia
“South, Southeast and East Asia should definitely be off your list for summer unless you are a glutton for temperatures that reach above 100 degrees, coupled with humidity of above 80 percent. The best time to visit these regions are early fall and late spring.” ― Nabongo
“It gets very hot and very busy. Visit in spring or autumn for sunny days but cooler nights ― and a little bit of elbow room in the bazaars to yourself.” ― Hall
“Amsterdam is another overcrowded European city during the summer months. The locals (I have a lot of friends in Amsterdam) try to escape the madness that the summer brings. If you still want the Dutch experience, stay in Rotterdam. This modem Dutch city is the perfect place for the lovers of modern architectural with masterpieces such as the Markthal and Erasmus Bridge.” ― van Dop
“Far enough away from Cancun to forget about the throngs of tourists, Tulum embodies a back-to-basics ethos, with a real ‘no shoes, no problem’ kind of vibe. There’s a lot to love about this little piece of paradise. From the perfection of the pristine beaches to the hotels, restaurants and bars, everything in Tulum emits a certain boho-rustic (yet incredibly chic) vibe, which defines the culture of this beautifully free-spirited community. All of this being said, Tulum is best enjoyed from October to February, just when you’re up to your knees in snowfall and in need of a little vitamin D. We suggest avoiding a visit during the summer months when the heat can (at times) become unbearable and the tropical weather is most unpredictable.” ― Molly McCorkle, senior editor of AHotelLife.com
Quotes have been lightly edited.