The advantages of going somewhere during the off-season are simple—better deals, smaller crowds —and they derive from the premise that off-peak travel must involve lowered expectations and certain compromises. A few rare places, however, hold hidden allure in the quiet months: castles on a rainy day, fishing-boat fairy lights, the braying of amorous penguins. As local experts make clear in the following year-round selection, you don't need to go peak to hit the heights.
If you’ve ever wondered how a poached egg feels, try Dubai in July. Which is why summer strolling here is done in malls especially during the annual Summer Surprises festival, part of which falls in July, a busy time for local personal shopper Kelly Lundberg.
“Because of the climate, shopping malls are a focal point here, and they’re often gorgeous—beautifully designed, with all sorts of entertainment and dining options. Dubai Summer Surprises was launched [in 1998] to entice visitors who wouldn’t otherwise come this time of year, and it worked: the festival attracts people from all over the world.
“Besides shopping, there are fireworks and events. Or you can drop the kids off for indoor skiing lessons while you potter around the shops, which are open from 10 in the morning until at least 10 at night. And, of course, there’s air conditioning. In fact, I always recommend that people pack a shawl or cardigan, because walking around the malls can be quite cold.”