Fall means shoulder season, and there’s no shortage of deals this year. Check out these 10 cheap fall vacations, both domestic and international.
The Best Fall Destinations for Savings This Year
Think plenty of savings in European hot spots and a few emerging U.S. destinations during this post-summer travel sweet spot.
Warm weather (it can reach up to 80 degrees in September) continues well into fall in this Catalonian city. Flight prices are down compared to the rest of the year and November marks the most affordable month for nightly hotel rates (at nearly 45 percent lower than August, according to Booking.com), so this is the perfect time to experience the Gaudi architecture, public parks, and tapas this city is known for.
Getting There: Airfare is around $700 round-trip for the fall months, as reported by Skyscanner. One-way fares from WOW Air and Norwegian Air Shuttle are also on sale, starting at $129 from select U.S. cities like Washington, D.C.; Boston; and Chicago for select dates between September and December.
Where to Stay: H10 Universitat Hotel is centrally located and just a short walk from the nearest metro station. Rates start at $140 per night in fall.
Things to Do: Head to a FC Barcelona soccer game; the Wine and Cava Festival and Sitges Film Festival are both in September; and, the International Jazz Festival is in October. Plus, tourist attractions like the Sagrada Familia and Gaudi Park will be less crowded this time of year.
Another European hot spot in summer is Paris, but you can get more affordable rates and comfortable weather during the city’s fall shoulder season. Flight-comparison app Fareness reports that fall Paris airfare is about three percent lower than last year.
Getting There: Average round-trip airfare is around $700 round-trip as reported by Skyscanner. Paris one-way fares from WOW Air and Norwegian Air Shuttle are also on sale starting at $139 from select U.S. cities like San Francisco, Dallas, and Orlando for select dates between September and December.
Where to Stay: St Christopher’s Inn Paris – Canal is a great deal for budget travelers, with a terrace, bar, and views of the water. Autumn nightly rates start at $146.
Things to Do: September, October, and November mark the beginning of many of Paris’ museum and gallery shows and exhibitions, as well as annual events like the Grape Harvest Festival in Montmartre and the FIAC art show in October.
Not only is fall one of Boston’s most eventful seasons—after all it’s the one time of year that all of its sports teams are in season—this is also the time of year that the city serves as a gateway to leaf-peeping and other cozy New England destinations like Stowe, Vermont, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Kennebunkport, Maine. Fareness reports that overall 2018 pricing for Boston flights is six percent lower this year than last year. And while hotel rates can be pricey in Boston, according to Booking.com you’ll see a savings of 30 percent if you travel in November (and hey, flights are cheap).
Getting There: $280 round-trip for the fall months, as reported by Skyscanner.
Where to Stay: The Charles River Inn is a quick drive away from Boston’s main attractions. Fall rates start at $152 per night.
Things to Do: Fall is Boston’s time to shine with annual events like Harpoon Brewery’s Octoberfest and the Head of The Charles Regatta, Hamilton is also in town for fall this year. And if you’re a runner, the famous Boston Athletic Association hosts a half marathon in October.
Finger Lakes Region, New York
Located between Rochester and Syracuse, New York’s Finger Lakes region is made up of fourteen different sub-regions. Known for its leaf-peeping and outdoor activities, it’s a quintessential fall vacation. The Southern Finger Lakes are within a five-hour drive from about 25 percent of the country.
Getting There: If you’re not driving, you can fly into either Rochester or Syracuse, or even make the hour-plus drive from Buffalo. Of those three cities, Buffalo has the most inexpensive flights this time of year, with round-trip fares hovering around$200, according to Skyscanner.
Where to Stay: Check out The Gould Hotel, a charming and affordable hotel in Seneca Falls (in between the two largest lakes) with nightly rates starting at $152 in fall.
Things to Do: Start your holiday celebrations early with Deck the Halls, a Seneca Lake Wine Trail event. If you’re visiting in warmer fall months, check out Experience! The Finger Lakes fall glamping package, which includes accommodations, breakfast, a wine tour, and more. Other fall events this year include the annual Apple Tasting Tour in Wayne County, water-to-wine tours, stops along New York’s Haunted History Trail, and the opening of the Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn.
Almost everyone has Thailand on their bucket list, and this fall is the perfect time to go. I’ve seen multiple airlines with airfare sales to Bangkok in the past few weeks—a good reason to monitor prices if you’ve always dreamed about vacationing in Thailand. You’ll have the benefit of a favorable exchange rate on the ground. According to Booking.com, average nightly hotel rates are 44 percent cheaper in October on Phi Phi Island than the highest average price founds in January.
Getting There: If you’re looking to go to Phuket, CheapOair reports average round-trip fares as low as $675 in October from the U.S., and $845 in September. Bangkok is also inexpensive, with round-trip flight prices averaging $900 this fall, according to Skyscanner.
Where to Stay: Phi Phi Relaxed Beach Resort has fall rates starting at $30 per night. It’s popular among couples, as the resort has its own private beach.
Like many other European cities on this list, the Emerald Isle sees fewer crowds in its cities during fall, making its top tourist sights even more enjoyable. According to Skyscanner, fall 2018 round-trip flight prices are over $100 cheaper than other times of year, giving you even more incentive to book an Ireland trip before the year’s end. And, with new motorways connecting Ireland’s best cities, it’s easy to cross more than one Irish town off your bucket list on a single trip.
Getting There: Skyscanner reports round-trip flight prices of $650 to Dublin, which is a great deal for transatlantic flights.
Where to Stay: The Hotel Isaacs Cork is walking distance from major attractions and features quintessential Irish architecture. This hotel is a steal, with prices starting at $147 per night in autumn.
Things to Do: Check out Contiki’s Ireland trip, an eight-day excursion priced at $1,615 in October and $1,435 in November—that’s less than $180 per day including meals and accommodations. The trip hits popular spots like Dublin, Cork, Galway, and continues to the U.K.’s Belfast.
This South America hotspot is a great deal this fall. Between trendy Medellin, lively Bogota, or coastal Cartagena, it’s hard to pick just one city to visit.
Getting There: Average round-trip airfare to Medellin in September and October is just $500, according to CheapOair. Or, fly to Bogota, Skyscanner reports prices at $660 round-trip from U.S. destinations.
Where to Stay: Take advantage of W Bogota’s limousine service, nearby shopping, and babysitting services for only $147 a night in fall … most nightly rates at W Hotels in other cities are double that.
Things to Do: Priced at $1,750 per person, Intrepid Travel’s (perfectly named) Explore Colombia 10-day adventure prices out to less than $100 per day. You’ll hit all the spots you don’t want to miss, including Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park. Extra Bonus: Take advantage of the company’s 15 percent off sale on its South and Central America trips, which makes the trip even more affordable this fall.
Home of the Beatles, the cultural capital of England, and a UNESCO World Heritage site, there’s plenty to do in Liverpool, especially on a budget.
Getting There: According to CheapOair, average round-trip airfare from the U.S. to Liverpool is $700 for September and about $950 for October. Also watch low-cost carriers for flight sales into Manchester, as the two cities are only about an hour away.
Where to Stay: Heywood House Hotel, with rates starting at $60 per night for fall. This boutique hotel’s location (and price) can’t be beat.
Things to Do: Check out the city’s cultural side at the Museum of Liverpool (free entry from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)—fun fact, it’s the world’s first National Museum and has been the largest museum in Britain for over a century. The Tate Liverpool is another free-entry museum, and is home to historic art collections and special exhibits like the Fernand Leger exhibition opening this fall.
Overall, California’s capital is less expensive to fly into during the fall months this year. And with multiple airports to choose from within two-hours’ drive (San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, and Oakland), you can shop around for flight deals.
Getting There: A search on Airfarewatchdog shows deals to Sacramento’s airport from U.S. cities like Boston, Chicago, Austin, and Denver priced around $250 round-trip during fall.
Where to Stay: The Citizen Hotel Autograph Collection starting at $149 per night and located in the city’s downtown area, serves as the perfect home-base.
Things to Do: Families will love the Sacramento Zoo, Children’s Museum, Fairytale Town, and Andy’s Candy Apothecary (okay, adults will like that too). For adult-only travelers, Sacramento’s wine region is more affordable than nearby Napa and Sonoma, and offers a selection of Northern California wines at a fraction of the usual price. Notable cellars include Old Sugar Mill and Bogle Winery.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If you’re looking for a cheap fall vacation to take over a long weekend, Fort Lauderdale is it. Round-trip fares are cheaper in fall than at other times of year, according to Skyscanner, and average nightly hotel rates are $174 for three-star hotels.
Getting There: Average fares are around $250 round-trip from U.S. destinations. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is also home to the most low-fare carriers in Florida. Between September to December, travelers can find flights as cheap as $103 round-trip from the Northeast.
Where to Stay: Find your endless summer on a budget at the Sibi Beach Hotel, located right on Central Beach. $125 per night gets you a spacious room (some with a kitchen and living space) that’s perfect for families or a group.
Things to Do: September marks Spatember, an annual spa month with special pricing on spa packages in the area. It’s also restaurant month in Broward County, and 40-plus area restaurants offer three-course dinners starting at just $35 per person
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Classic New England Hotels and Resorts That Are Perfect for a Late-Fall Getaway
- 10 Best Value Hotels for Fall Trips
- 10 Comfortable Shoes for Fall Travel
Alyssa Lukpat contributed to this article.