In this shoulder season, many flights and destinations are cheaper. Canada is an especially good deal because of its weak dollar which makes Americans’ money go further.
Late September marks the start of deal season for travelers.
“If you don’t have kids or are retired or an empty nester or if your kids are under school age, right now is a good time to find deals in very popular destinations,” says Andrew Young, editorial director for Travelzoo.
This is shoulder season and prices are lower than they are during summer’s peak, but the weather is still pleasant and the crowds are smaller, especially at the big tourist destinations, Young said. Some fall deals will continue into mid-December (but don’t expect any discounts around Thanksgiving).
Airfares are going down. Fall fare sales are happening now, and airlines are really dropping their prices, Young said. Frontier has been particularly aggressive with sale pricing this season, and Southwest is offering its regular sales though prices vary depending on the destination
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Cruise ships aren’t as full right now, and the crowds are more adults-only than families. For the lowest cruise pricing all year, look to travel between Thanksgiving and Christmas when prices can drop to less than $100 per person per day, even for ocean view or balcony cabins.
If you have your eye on a European vacation, airfares to Europe and South America are significantly less in the fall.
And go north: “I have been telling people to go to Canada, where the dollar is getting you 25 percent more than it would have about a year ago,” Young said.
The one exception to the fall travel rule? Hitting major cities on weekdays during convention season. For autumn travel to cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., or Chicago, plan to visit on the weekend when business travel dies down.
A rundown on fall deals:
1. Flights: Travelers can expect to pay 25 to 50 percent less on tickets compared with peak summer dates.
2. Hawaii: From Labor Day through Christmas, fewer people visit Hawaii, resulting in flight and hotel deals.
3. Canada: A much weaker Canadian dollar and lower demand in the fall make Canada great for a budget-friendly getaway. Before it snows, Whistler, B.C., is offering reduced hotel and vacation-rental prices. The exchange rate, and lower autumn prices, make Vancouver, B.C., hotels more reasonable.
4. Head to Europe: Shoulder season offers affordable flights and fewer crowds in cities such as London, Paris and Rome.
5. Caribbean cruises: Travelers can find 50 percent savings in the Caribbean due to the early fall’s hurricane season, but make sure to purchase travel insurance in case Mother Nature throws a curveball.