6 reasons why September is the best time for South Africans to travel internationally

Travellers enjoy canoeing on a cool day at Pragser Wildsee, Italy. Picture: Unsplash

Travellers enjoy canoeing on a cool day at Pragser Wildsee, Italy. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jun 10, 2024


While December is peak holiday and travel season for South Africans, when it comes to international travel, holidaymakers are increasingly choosing to head abroad at other times of the year.

As the northern hemisphere heads into its summer and peak travel season, September is becoming a popular month to head abroad.

If you’re planning to travel internationally, here are six reasons why September is the best time to do so.

The weather is still good

While the hottest summer weather in much of the northern hemisphere occurs in June, July and August, the weather is still relatively mild and sometimes even more pleasant in September, with winter still a month or two away.

September is known as shoulder season, the period between the peak summer and low winter seasons.

At this time of year, it’s still warm enough to enjoy being outdoors, and if you’re travelling to US or European cities, walking the streets and sightseeing can be far more enjoyable than doing so in the sweltering summer heat.

It’s less expensive

Due to the weakening rand and the rising cost of living, it’s no wonder financial concerns are front and centre right now with consumers worldwide.

With this in mind, South Africans travelling abroad are actively looking for discounts and promotions to make their rand go further. During September, hotels and airfares are lower, along with travel packages and guided tours.

TTC Tour Brands such as Trafalgar, Insight Vacations and Costsaver, for example, offer discounts of between 12% and 20% for a variety of guided tours during September to European destinations such as Italy, Germany and Spain, as well as key US destinations such as New York City, Washington DC and Colorado.

Kelly Jackson, TTC Tour Brands managing director, said guided tours were a great way to see as much as possible and save money while doing it.

You can do more

Jackson also said that travelling in an off-season month such as September means you’re paying less for each element of your trip, including flights, accommodation and transport, and you can pack more in.

“For example, the savings you enjoy on your international return flight mean you can visit another city or region in your destination or do a special activity like hot air ballooning or a boat charter that you may not be able to afford otherwise,” said Jackson.

It’s not as busy

Jackson also revealed that by September, many local European travellers have returned home, meaning crowds have thinned in popular tourist destinations.

“For those choosing to travel, this means fewer crowds, shorter queues and less traffic, which means more time to explore the sights in a more relaxed way while enjoying more space. As a bonus, it also means better photos in tourist hotspots,” she said.

It's more authentic

The travel expert noted that during peak tourist times, popular tourist destinations are often packed with foreign visitors, so you may not necessarily get the most authentic feel of your surroundings.

“Part of the magic of travel is to soak up the local culture. Travelling in the off-season of September means you’re likely to meet locals in places like cafes or grocery stores and connect more authentically with the local community,” she said.

It’s more open to flexible booking policies

Jackson also said things have never felt as uncertain post-pandemic, and cancelled flights or unforeseen travel restrictions have become part of our lives.

She said because of this, flexible booking and cancellation policies and comprehensive travel insurance have become a priority for international travellers.

Also, in their Travel Trends survey conducted this year, global travel insurance provider World Nomads found that 87% of respondents are more likely to purchase travel insurance in 2024, up from 79% in 2023.

The good news is that while travel providers often aren’t as flexible with cancellations in peak season, changing bookings is often easier and cheaper in off-season months like September.

“It's clear that travelling off-season during the month of September brings many benefits, including cost savings, more relaxed travel, and better deals.

With everyday living becoming increasingly expensive, it’s no wonder travellers are looking for a higher-quality experience when they spend their hard-earned local currency travelling abroad,” said Jackson.