Island holidays are often a dream holiday, with images of white beaches and turquoise water springing to mind. It might seem like your own piece of paradise to lounge away with bottomless cocktails in the balmy weather is unaffordable, however, if you want to make your island holiday dreams a reality, the timing of your trip can play a significant role.
Here’s a guide to the best and most affordable times to visit five of the most popular island destinations: Mauritius, Seychelles, the Maldives, Zanzibar, and Thailand.
The most affordable time to visit Mauritius is during the dry or ‘winter’ season, from May to September. This is considered the low season and there are fewer tourists visiting the island at this time of year because it is a little bit cooler and there is a likelihood of rain. It is however the perfect time to visit for travelers on a tight budget because accommodation costs typically drop significantly and the weather is still fantastic when compared to South African winters.
Temperatures at this time of year can vary from 19°C to 29°C. Rain showers are typically brief and do not impact the island’s overall experience. Additionally, the days are a little bit shorter at this time of year, with 10 to 11 hours of daylight per day. Because the water is warm all year, you can still go swimming during the off-peak months and many hotels also heat their pools during these months.
That said, during the months of July and September, the prices are higher due to school holidays and there are more crowds. To save money, consider traveling during outside these holiday dates and be sure to book in advance.
The cheapest time to visit the Seychelles is during its dry or winter season, which is from May to September. The shoulder season in the Seychelles, which runs from May to June and September to November, is when island vacations are most reasonably priced but you can still expect fantastic weather. Prices tend to increase towards the end of the year and the more you get into summer.
The weather in the Seychelles during the shoulder season is still warm and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C. While there is a higher chance of rain, it usually comes in short bursts and doesn’t last long enough to spoil your holiday experience. During this time, there are roughly 12 hours of daylight. Warm, swimmable waters are available year-round, so you can enjoy all the water activities as well as the wonderful opportunity to relax in uncrowded, affordable hotels. The southeasterly winds also offer optimal conditions for surfing, sailing, and windsurfing.
During the low season, with June being one of the cheapest months, you’ll be able to find great travel offers, cheap airfares, and fewer tourists. To save money, book ahead of time and try to avoid the peak season from December to January.
The Maldives is a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean that offers visitors a tropical paradise with crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and incredible marine life. While it’s a popular tourist destination year-round, there are times of the year when it’s more affordable to visit.
The Maldives has two seasons: the dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October. The dry season is the peak season in the Maldives, and as a result, there will be higher prices and more tourists during these months. In order to get away with cheaper rates, you could consider traveling during the wet season, which is from May to October.
While the weather can be unpredictable, with occasional rain and strong winds, you won’t get cold, thanks to the year-round warmth of the equatorial air. The water temperature remains warm enough to swim in, and you can still see a wide variety of marine life. Some visitors even prefer the low season because of the reduced crowds, which makes it easier to find a peaceful spot to relax on the beach. To get the best prices on flights as well as accommodations, you can be smart and book your trip six months in advance.
The archipelago’s dry season, which is from July to September, is the best time to visit Zanzibar, although if you’re on a budget, March through May and November are cheaper. This is the off-peak season when most tourists seek warmer destinations. The crowds are also thinner, making it a great time to explore the island without the hustle and bustle of peak season. During these months, you can expect reduced hotel rates, flights, excursion fees, car rental costs, and even food prices.
While Zanzibar experiences warm, sunny weather year-round, the low season has a higher chance of rain. The rains, however, usually pass quickly and have little impact on travel schedules. It is also a great time to go swimming and engage in other water sports because the sea is still warm and inviting.
With roughly 12 hours of daylight each day, Zanzibar’s days are relatively consistent throughout the year. The low season, however, brings slightly cooler temperatures to the island, making it more pleasant to explore and engage in outdoor activities.
Thailand has three seasons, the hot season from March to May, the rainy season from June to October, and the cool season from November to February. The cool season is the most popular time to visit, with December through February being the peak season and thus the most expensive. However, if you want to save money, you should consider traveling in the shoulder season, from March to May or from October to November. At this time you will still enjoy mild temperatures without too much rain.
A wise thing to do is to book your trip at least three months in advance, to help you get the very best accommodations and air tickets.
In general, the most affordable time to plan an island holiday is in the low or shoulder season. It’s also a good idea to plan as far in advance as possible to take advantage of the lower rates. This will ensure that you have the advantage of early bird discounts and avoid any last-minute price hikes. Book your island holiday now through the Holiday Factory.