This is from a Huffington Post Article by Phyllis Stoller, President of The Women’s Travel Group.
When you plan your next trip, you will likely consider weather and hopefully check into seasonal costs of flights/hotels etc. Travelers today are traveling during what are called ‘shoulder’ seasons which relate to good, not perfect weather, which avoid peak season crowds and can offer lower airfares. However, many travelers do not check other factors that might make a trip excessively expensive or full of unpleasant surprises.
Few travelers dig deeper to examine times they should never consider an area- expense notwithstanding. There are five definite times to avoid, which apply to most destinations:
During a memorial day, especially if memorializes a violent historical event. Each year in Tehran on the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy, there are anti American marches. Our group was in Tehran on this day and we did see marchers and signs, but no violence or disruption. As noted by the LA Times, each anniversary is choreographed by the government; but for novice travelers it is unsettling scene.
A memorial day might also be the anniversary of politically controversial history, like the confederate memorial days still celebrated in some Southern states. And if it falls during a sensitive time, like after the August 2017 Charlottesville march, consider avoiding the day.
During holidays that evolve into dangerous street scenes. May 1, called International Workers Day in many areas can be a bad time to visit. May Day is celebrated world wide sometimes violently as described in this New York Times article from May 2017.
During times when large numbers in one country take vacation.There are countries where most of the population vacation simultaneously. 50% of all Europeans choose beaches and sun for vacations; this means they travel in or close to Summer. And most go South to Spain and the Mediterranean. If you have ever been to Paris in August, you know famous restaurants are closed and the city feels asleep. And Spain in the Summer, is mobbed.
During local religious or unusual national holidays. During Semana Santa in Spain, the week before Easter, stores often close from Thursday through Easter Sunday. Also in Spain if a holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, stores might close for a long weekend. Unfortunately some holidays are impossible to pinpoint. According to Wikipedia ,national holidays in China are announced 3 weeks before the start of each new year by the General Office of the State Council. Do you want to be at The Great Wall during a mass visit by millions of locals?
Elections are not always publicized in advance. If there is a close election, you might not know the run off date, until just before you arrive. If you arrive during an election, ask immediately what will be closed and for how many days. In some countries, national sites like museums are closed for election days. In some, like Mali where our group went years ago, pilots refused to work last minute on the Feast of Abraham. Ask your hotel where demonstrations and or victory marches are likely. Unfortunately they are usually held in the same famous streets or plazas that tourists want to see.
Other elections are announced a long time in advance: example: Mexico will hold its next federal election July 1 2018. Some stores will be closed; liquor stores will close for 48 hours. Loud speakers and music will blare day and night with political messages.
The Women’s Travel Group plans its tours to avoid these times. However in some cases like when a by election is a last minute phenomenon, we retool the itinerary. In other cases where holidays bring beautiful experiences like Diwali in India or the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Sicily, we include a special event in our itinerary. A good place to double check for your own trips, is the English language newspaper of the country you plan to visit. Otherwise use a dependable agent or country expert.
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