Quick notes:

  • Fall can be an ideal time to travel, as weather is cooler, flights may be cheaper, and cities are often less crowded.
  • There are plenty of resources for finding cheap flights and hotels.
  • Mexico City, Munich, and San Francisco are all great travel destinations for fall. 

 

Fall is a transitional time of year. You might be winding down from the summer months where you took advantage of long weekends away and gained an enviable tan. But once September rolls around, it’s usually time to put your head down and work for the next few months until the holidays pop up. However, don’t rule out traveling during the fall. It’s referred to as the shoulder season because it’s technically off-season for the Northern Hemisphere. That means cheap flights and hotel deals, fewer crowds, and seasonal events.

Fall destinations in the Northern Hemisphere might mean orange leaves and crisp weather in the Northeast or empty beaches and blue skies in Florida. It’s also a great time of year to visit Disneyland or Disney World, as the parks may offer off-season deals or lower prices. International locations, such as Paris and Rome, are often less crowded and ready for you to explore the sites without being drenched in a pool of sweat.

So what are you waiting for? We found the best fall travel destinations for you to have an adventurous change of pace this season. No more waiting for the holidays!

Resources for finding cheap travel deals during fall 

We all love a good deal, especially when it involves travel. Summer is a relaxed time of year for Americans, as we usually get time off to visit another state or country — but so does the rest of the world. During the summer, it’s tough to find a deal that’s worth your while when it comes to booking flights or hotels. Sometimes, it’s even difficult to make reservations because everyone else is trying to reserve the same place as you. That’s why it might be a better idea to save your vacation days for the fall months, because when September rolls around, the world of travel gets a little more affordable and available.

When looking for cheap travel deals, it’s all about where you look. How do you search for flights? How do you find hotels? What’s the best car rental company? You might have your own way of planning your travels, but have you ever thought to try other resources? Skyscanner is a great tool for finding cheap flights. It simply aggregates the best prices for the flight time you’re looking for and helps you to book the best deal. Hopper is a handy app that lets you monitor a flight to see if the price drops. It will send you an alert for the best time to travel to a destination and urge you to book before the price gets higher. Price of Travel will give you flights, hotels, travel, and budget information for cities and destinations around the world. HotelTonight is incredibly convenient for finding a last-minute deal on a hotel room, usually at a nice place. This will really help you save if you’re only looking to take a weekend trip.    

fall travel, dia de los muertos, Mexico City
Getty/NurPhoto

Perks of fall travel

Traveling during the fall has many perks as it’s the off-season for the Northern Hemisphere. You can expect fewer crowds and cheaper prices for hotels, flights, tours, and attractions. It also makes for a great time of year to take an adult-only vacation, as school is back in session. Fall is an exciting time to travel because there are a lot of fun festivals that take place all around the world. We’re talking Oktoberfest in Munich, Día de Los Muertos in Mexico, and London Fashion Week. Of course, cool weather is a serious perk.

“The best part of autumn travel is that you get very pleasant weather in most of the world’s top destinations — for instance, Paris, London, Rome, New York City, or Toronto — with much smaller crowds than the steamy summer season in those places,” explains Roger Wade, founder and editor-in-chief of Price of Travel. “September and October weather is often perfect for sightseeing and spending time outdoors, plus hotel rates are usually lower than they are during the summer.” 

Wade makes a great point — cooler weather makes it more comfortable to explore and enjoy a destination. You might appreciate a city like New York way more if you’re not drenched in a pool of sweat as you make your way through a crowded Times Square. 

“Another perk is that airfares tend to be lower than during the spring, even with the nice weather,” says Wade. “Airfares tend to start going down during the last week of August and don’t go up again until about a week before Christmas.”

Destinations that are cheaper to travel to during the fall

How many times have you wanted to go somewhere but had to say no because the cost was just not attractive? It’s a super common dilemma. For instance, traveling to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is insanely expensive during the winter because it’s a prime spot for a ski vacation. But have you ever thought to go there during the fall? Sure, you won’t be able to ski, but Jackson Hole is incredibly scenic. During the fall, you’ll find lower prices on lodging and fewer crowds. The city’s official website recommends taking advantage of package rates to Jackson Hole during this time of year. 

If you’re looking for a sunny escape, Mexico City may be a budget-friendly choice for fall travel. You’ll also find some great deals to travel to the Caribbean Islands, as cruises generally flash their cheapest rates from September to January. But this also comes with the risk of seasonal storms or cancellations due to hurricanes. Other favorable sunny spots for fall travel include the Canary Islands off the coast of northwest Africa.

“Mexico City is amazing and a bargain all year round. The fall weather here is very pleasant,” says Wade. “Tenerife and the other Canary Islands have beach weather through mid-November and yet they are cheap because most visitors don’t start traveling there until December.”

Wade also informed us that it’s hard to say that any particular destination is cheap during the fall compared to any other time of year. Cheap destinations may change from year to year based on a country’s economy.   

The best places to travel during the fall

There are plenty of options when it comes to the all-around best fall travel destinations in terms of things to do. As we mentioned before, Oktoberfest is a bucket list item for many as it’s an 18-day folk festival held annually in Munich, Germany. More than 6 million people attend the event each year. 

As for U.S.-based locations, consider a trip to San Francisco during September or October. The famous fog that cloaks the city generally goes on holiday during those months, and the city is sunny, warm, and booming with life. While you’re in that neck of the woods, it might be fun to pop over to Napa as that’s when the Napa Valley harvest season is in full swing. There will be plenty of harvest parties and grape stomping to go around.  

Of course, you can’t forget New Orleans. This southern city is sweltering during the summer, but it comes alive during the cooler months of October to December, when you can enjoy New Orleans without melting into a pool of sweat. And, not to alarm anyone, but there is a Fried Chicken Festival and a beignet festival that take place in New Orleans during the fall. Count us in!

“New Orleans is another city that sizzles and sweats all summer so the fall months are a perfect time to get good weather for outdoor activities,” explains Wade.

While it might not seem like the obvious choice, there are many benefits to fall travel. It provides an opportunity to travel cheaper, explore more with fewer crowds, and enjoy crisp weather. So while you’re sitting at your desk watching the countdown to Christmas, take a casual look at Skyscanner and see where it takes you. 

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