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City park in Chicago with fall colors
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8 Incredibly Affordable Fall Vacations

If you missed out on a trip this summer, your wallet might thank you. Fall is famously a more affordable time to travel, and this off-season means plenty of deals. To get inspired for cheap autumn breaks in September, October, and November, here are eight affordable destinations for everything from seasonal weekend getaways to cheap fall family vacations.

Editor’s Note: Airfare and nightly rate estimates are accurate as of time of publication.

San José, Costa Rica

The rainy season in Costa Rica lasts from May to December with peak months in September and October. Traveling during this time can be a gamble, but the rewards are worth the risk. The extra precipitation allows for lush jungle scenery you’ll miss in the dry season, and these months are a prime time to see wildlife.

Getting There: Most fares for the season are in the low to mid-$300 range, but if you book strategically you can find fares as low as $250. 

Where to Stay: Put a pop of color in your vacation at Hotel Fleur De Lys, a colorful and warmly welcoming hotel in the cultural district of San José. The property brings the natural beauty of Costa Rica into its design, with each room named after a local flower and several atriums for guests to explore. Standard rooms are available for less than $75/night and suites are available for less than $150.

Things to Do: There are plenty of activities in Costa Rica that are actually improved by the rainy season. Book a white water rafting tour or explore local waterfalls while the water is flowing. If you’re an animal lover, plan your trip further west of San José to visit the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge and see the arribadas, or large-scale arrivals, of nesting sea turtles in September and October.

Porto, Portugal

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Travelers willing to contend with higher chances of rain during the fall months in Porto will be rewarded with mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and city parks and gardens bathed in unforgettable autumn colors.

Getting There: According to Going, round trip flights to Porto for the fall season can be found in the $400-$500 range. 

Where to Stay: Gallery Hostel is closer to a boutique hotel than what the word “hostel” traditionally calls to mind. This combination hostel-art gallery space is built in a restored 19th century building, earning a “superb” rating on HostelWorld for its ideal location and great service. Private rooms start at just $140 per night and dorms are available for a low as $50. For a more traditional hotel experience, Moov Hotel Porto Centro and Porto Norte offer a comfortable, highly-rated stay at an affordable price.

Things to Do: There’s no shortage of things to do in Porto in any season, from catching a can’t-miss fado show to visiting the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal for incredible scenery to sampling a delicious francesinha, a savory sandwich invented in the city.

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Not all fall travelers are chasing pumpkin spice and cooler weather. To extend the summer vibes, book a trip to Las Vegas in September and October, where daytime temperatures hover in the low to mid-80s and cool off significantly at night.

Getting There: According to Going, travelers can book flights to Las Vegas in the $80 to $200 range, depending on the departure city.

Where to Stay: Travelers will find better deals by venturing a little further away from the action. The Tropicana Las Vegas, a Doubletree property, is a 7 minute drive or half-hour walk to the main Vegas Strip. With a swimming pool lined with palm trees, four bars, gaming rooms, and a swim-up blackjack table, you won’t be missing out on the fun.

Things to Do: All the traditional Las Vegas activities are available in the autumn, from catching a show to taking in the atmosphere at one of the city’s many casinos. For a seasonal event, check out the upcoming harvest show at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, a free-to-enter display of floral sculptures and dazzling gardens. For families, there are several trunk-or-treat events throughout October with either free entry or a small registration fee.

Cancún, Mexico

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If you’re a risk-taker (that is, you don’t mind the possibility of rain or even hurricanes), Cancún in the rainy season of August to October could lead to some good deals on this classic, white sand Mexican beach destination on the Yucatán Peninsula. 

Getting There: You can find roundtrip fares to Cancún this fall in the $200-$300’s, according to data from Going.

Where to Stay: Where you stay in Cancún depends on how you want to spend your days, from all-inclusive resorts to simple haciendas. To bring a spring break vibe to your autumn getaway, check out Krystal Cancun, with October rates starting in the $135 range.

Things to Do: Swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and scuba diving all top the list of activities in Cancún. Beyond the sea, book a package to visit historic sites like the Chichén Itzá Ruins or take a street food tour to try tacos and mezcal.

New Orleans

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New Orleans is bustling with activity this upcoming fall season, from the delicious Beignet Fest to the citywide NOLAxNOLA concert series. Explore the city at the tail end of its off season with nice (less humid) fall weather, including temperate days and cooler evenings.

Getting There: You can find roundtrip airfare to New Orleans from several major hubs for under $100 this coming fall, with Google Flights showing most fares hovering in the $100-$250 range.

Where to Stay: The Aloft New Orleans Downtown places you in the heart of the city, within walking distance of iconic areas like the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. It’s pet-friendly, features an on-site convenience store for all the toiletries you forgot to pack, and Marriott Bonvoy members can use their points for further discounts on their stay.

Things to Do: Listening to jazz and live music is a must while in the Big Easy, as is feasting at Cajun and Creole restaurants like Commander’s Palace. To experience a bit of nature beyond New Orleans’ beautiful architecture, tour a bayou via boat and try to spot gators.

Rome, Italy

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Off-season in Rome begins in mid-November, but tourist traffic starts lightening up in October, making the later fall months a great time to visit the city before tourism picks back up for the holidays. Hotels are cheaper this time of year and temperatures stay in the low-60s to mid-70s.

Getting There: Travelers can find flights in the $400 to $600 range from major US cities, significantly more affordable than the summer months, when similar flight itineraries can cost up to and above $1,000 roundtrip.

Where to Stay: Hotel Trastevere is located in the heart of the neighborhood of Trastevere, a historic region of the city bursting with cafes, wine bars, pizzarias, open-air markets, and historic architecture. The hotel itself is just a 20-minute tram ride to attractions like the Pantheon, Colosseum, and Trevi Fountain.

Things to Do: Many of the city’s ancient sites are free to explore, with an admission fee only required if you want to enter certain areas or take a guided tour. Dozens of stunning parks and piazzas are also free to wander, including the stunning Piazzale Garibaldi, where you can get 360 degree views of the city.

Washington DC

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While many travelers aim to see the stunning display of cherry blossoms in the spring, Washington DC in autumn shouldn’t be overlooked. With dozens of free attractions around the city, savvy travelers can create a jam-packed itinerary while still saving money.

Getting There: Depending on your city of departure, flights to Washington D.C. range from $90 up to the $500 range.

Where to Stay: citizenM’s promise of “modern luxury” comes at a surprisingly affordable price. Travelers can book a room at the centrally-located citizenM Washington DC Capitol, just a ten minute walk to the National Mall, starting at $180 per night. Guests can download the hotel’s app to take care of everything from check-in and check-out to adjusting the temperature in their room through one convenient portal.

Things to Do: Explore the museums of the National Mall, all free to the public, along with the city’s many monuments and memorials. Catch the fall colors, at their peak in the region in mid-October, at the U.S. National Arboretum or see a discounted show at this year’s Theatre Week (September 21st through October 8th).

Chicago, Illinois

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Visiting Chicago in the fall will have you seeing the Windy City in a whole new light. Admire the famous Cloud Gate amid the gorgeous foliage in Millennium Park or take an architecture cruise to see famous buildings surrounded with autumn colors. 

Getting There: According to Skyscanner, fall is the cheapest time to fly to Chicago. Google Flights shows roundtrip airfare in the $100 to $200 range from several major airports, with many offering fares cheaper than $100.

Where to Stay: Opened in September of 2021, The Selina Chicago is new on the scene. However, the building itself had a nearly 200 year history as the Tremont Hotel before The Selina opened its doors, lending the property a distinctive historic charm. Rooms are available from $182/night.

Things to Do: Plan your trip for the last weekend in September to attend Chicago’s Oktoberfest and get a little taste of adventuring abroad in your domestic travels. Closer to Halloween, check out Arts in the Dark, an evening of visual and performing arts in Washington Park with a spooky seasonal twist.

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