4 Shoulder season destinations for July travel
July is one of the busiest months for summer travel, but bargains still exist! Check out these destinations for off-season deals.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy lures travelers all throughout the year, but for some big-time savings, summer is the season to go. The subtropical climate lends itself to high temperatures and intense humidity, but if you can handle the heat, you can enjoy all that New Orleans has to offer while saving a few bucks. July events in NOLA include the Bastille Day celebration on July 14 for cultural events in the French Quarter, and the Tales of the Cocktail Festival from July 17 to 21. If you prefer something non-alcoholic to help cool off, try a famous Cream of Peach Sno-Bliz (shaved ice) from Hansen's Sno-Bliz, makers of the special treat since 1939. W New Orleans in the French Quarter offers a "Beat the Heat" package that includes a two night stay in a jazz or tarot themed guest room, a private mixology lesson with a bar chef and a $50 credit to their modern creole restaurant, SoBou. Don't forget to take a dip in their courtyard pool!
Summertime in the United States means wintertime below the equator — a perfect time to visit Sydney, Australia. While Sydney is never deserted, crowds thin out during July due to the cooler temperatures. Winter activities include The Rocks Aroma Festival on July 21, Australia's biggest coffee event where coffee lovers can sip brews from four global regions and enjoy free entertainment like live music, belly dancing, Brazilian samba dancing, capoeira and more. Head to Bondi Beach on July 14 and July 28 for the Art on the Streets and Music on the Streets festivals, respectively. Looking for snow? A five-hour drive south to New South Wales will take you to some of the best skiing in Australia, whether it be downhill, cross-country, snowboard or sledding. Stay in the ski town of Thredbo Village at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel, and enjoy amenities like an outdoor whirlpool, sauna and on-property lounge and bar.
The cheapest time to visit this celebrated resort town is during the summer, when everything from hotels to excursions to airfare will be at the lowest price of the year. The only drawback to visiting Cancún in July is that it's the start of the hurricane season — so keep an eye on the weather before travel. Smaller crowds in July means more space on the white-sand beaches, less college kids screaming for body shots and a greater chance for private excursions like hiking Mayan ruins, diving and snorkeling. The adult-oriented luxury resort ME Cancún offers a "Complete Experience" package similar to an all-inclusive travel option. Home of MTV's Real World Cancún, the ME Cancún offers five dining options (four of which are a la carte), two adult-only pools, seven bars, Bali day beds at the pool and beach area, a 24-hour fitness center and a 11,000-square-foot spa facility.
For a look at unspoiled natural beauty, make your way to Saint Lucia. There are mountains to climb, rainforests to traverse and an underwater world to explore. Saint Lucia's long, low season extends from mid April to early December, making July a perfect time to visit. In addition to water-based activities like yachting, sailing, diving and kite boarding, health and wellness is a huge focus on the island. La Soufrière volcano supplies mineral-rich mud and steam baths for use in spa treatments all over Saint Lucia. To experience one of these unique spa treatments, book your spa package at the luxury boutique hotel Cap Maison; where for every two days booked, guests earn two one-hour spa treatments.