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Celebrate Bermuda’s world-class festivals in October

SmarterTravel

The British colony of Bermuda is a top summertime escape for those seeking an upscale, sophisticated island getaway. Yet, even through October, when the island’s well-heeled visitors begin to clear out, Bermuda isn’t ready to board up for the winter. During this month, world-class festivals on the island keep things lively and the weather remains comfortable enough for Bermuda shorts and bathing suits. Although prices for travel don’t plummet until the winter, you can still take advantage of end-the-season deals and discounts.

And, with Bermuda only a two-hour flight away from major cities in the Northeast, the island makes a convenient weekend escape or short break if your fall schedule is too packed to allow for a longer trip.

Why Bermuda in October?

In October, Bermuda hosts two major festivals—the Bermuda Music Festival and the Bermuda Culinary Arts Festival—each worth a trip in and of itself. The 10th anniversary Bermuda Music Festival begins October 5 and features three days of performances at the Royal Naval Dockyard on Bermuda’s West End. Featured main stage performers include Joss Stone, Patti Labelle, and Al Green, and a second stage spotlights local Bermudian artists. General admission tickets start at $60 for one day or $160 for a three-day pass.

Starting October 21, the Culinary Arts Festival brings some of North America’s top chefs to the island for four days of food and wine tastings, seminars, and cooking competitions. Participating chefs include Todd English and Michael Lomonaco, among others. Three-day all-inclusive festival passes start at $649 per person, but you can also purchase separate tickets for individual events. A one-day pass to the grand food and wine tasting costs $79 per person, and chef and winemaker dinners at the island’s top restaurants cost $149 per person.

Even if you don’t attend one of the festivals, there’s still plenty to do. With mostly sunny days and temperatures averaging around 79 degrees, the weather is just right for participating in Bermuda’s two favorite pastimes—golf and tennis. With fewer visitors on the island than during the summer, you may have an easier time getting prime tee times or a spot on the courts. It’s also still warm enough to enjoy the island’s pink sand beaches and go swimming, because the water retains the summer’s heat longer than the air. Of course, you can always shop in the city of Hamilton’s upscale boutiques and arts and crafts shops.

Bermuda travel and ways to save for October

The biggest chunk of your travel budget will likely be spent on accommodations in Bermuda’s hotel and resorts, where average nightly rates of $300 to $400 are not uncommon. Although you won’t see a big drop in average rates until November, many Bermuda hotels do begin reducing rates and offering special promotions for October stays. For example, seven member hotels of the Bermuda Hotel Association are promising a free fourth night when you book a September or October stay by September 30. The first 500 people to book this deal will also receive a free iPod.

Some individual properties are also advertising deals of their own. For example, 9 Beaches, an affordable new resort with cabana-style accommodations and a laid-back atmosphere, is discounting rates for private “Sea Forever” and “Coco Coral” cabanas by 50 percent when you book by October 10. Discounted double-occupancy rates start at $120 per night for stays through October 10, or $85 per night starting October 11.

If you’re planning to attend the Bermuda music festival and need airfare, US Airways Vacations is offering $50 off four-night packages that include airfare, airport transfers, and accommodations for travel October 1 through 8. Just be sure to book by September 16. After the discount, rates start at $849 per person for a vacation with round-trip airfare from Philadelphia and accommodations at the Grotto Bay Beach Resort. Taxes and fees and a ticket add-on of $50 to $160 per person are extra. Departures from other cities and stays at other hotels are also available.

If you only need airfare, check for sale fares and last-minute specials on the websites of U.S. carriers that fly to Bermuda International Airport, including American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, US Airways, and USA3000.

Notably, you may be able to save on your vacation by taking a cruise from an East Coast port that docks on the island for several nights. For example, Celebrity is offering several affordable seven-night Bermuda cruises in October. Cruise-only rates for Philadelphia and Cape Liberty Cruise Port, NJ, departures start at only $400 per person, based on double occupancy in the lowest category staterooms. You can find more cruise deals by searching the SmarterTravel.com Cruise section.

For more travel information, visit the Bermuda Department of Tourism.

Whether you have time for a week’s vacation or just a couple days away, an October Bermuda getaway is the perfect way to make summer last just a bit longer before the dark days of winter set in. So pack your shorts and sunglasses, and head out for one last open-air concert or picnic on the beach.

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