In most destinations, fall is squarely shoulder season. These golden months of September, October, and early November offer a special window of affordable possibilities before the high prices of the holidays hit. And while hurricane season means it’s easy to find a tropical steal (with some risk involved), most of the best fall vacation spots aren’t in Hurricane Alley at all—they’re far-off cities and islands with new routes and expanding airline options.
Thanks to new airline routes and changing travel trends, some particularly far-flung locales are surprisingly cheap compared to how much the journey cost just last year. Here are the cheapest places to fly for a fall vacation in 2019, according to airfare experts and data.
Cheapest Places to Fly for a Fall Vacation in 2019
Editor’s note: All prices are the average for one round-trip flight unless otherwise specified. Special thanks to Skyscanner, Priceline, KAYAK, CheapTickets, and Airfarewatchdog (SmarterTravel’s sister site) for sharing pricing data and commentary.
Looking for a historic city getaway on-the-cheap? Priceline airfare data shows that Philadelphia fares are down eight percent from last year on average, and according to Airfarewatchdog data, 27 percent of departure airports are seeing at least a 10 percent price drop compared to the same period last year. Skyscanner says the savings can be as much as 20 percent off, and CheapTickets says October is the best time of year to snag an affordable flight to the City of Brotherly Love: That’s when prices average $195, the lowest monthly airfare average of the year.
Where to Stay: Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar is perfectly located near Rittenhouse Square. It has 349 restaurants and 65 attractions within 0.3 miles.
Check Prices for Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia in Philadelphia
If you thought getting to Bali was the bucket-list trip you couldn’t afford, a combination of new air competition to the island and the start of wet season in October make this fall the cheapest time to visit. Fares dip as low as $480 roundtrip this time of year, and Airfarewatchdog data shows that a whopping 40 percent of departure airports are seeing the favorable price drops.
“We’re seeing more flight deals to Bali this fall. It usually takes two stops and can sometimes require an overnight layover to get to this distant island of Indonesia, but it’s a traveler’s paradise once you get there,” Airfarewatchdog analyst Peter Thornton says. “The best prices are usually on mainland Chinese carriers such as Xiamen Airlines or China Eastern, but we’re also seeing great fares on top airlines like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, EVA Air, and a combinations of SkyTeam partners like Delta, Korean Air, and Garuda Indonesia.”
Where to Stay: At the lush Kayon Resort, tucked away under the treetops in Banjar Kepitu.
Check Prices for The Kayon Resort in Ubud
Priceline’s number one cheapest place to fly this fall is a dreamy fall vacation spot: Paris. The French capital is showing a 16 percent drop in airfares for the three-month period compared to last year. Airfarewatchdog data concurs, reporting that a whopping 50 percent of departure airports are seeing at least a 10 percent drop in fares to Paris’ Orly Airport compared to last year, and Charles de Gaulle International Airport is a close second with 40 percent.
Where to Stay: At the flamboyantly decorated Hotel de JoBo, a 2019 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice winner.
Check Prices for Hôtel de JoBo in Paris
Turn fall into spring with a trip Down Under to take advantage of 20 percent savings: Skyscanner data analyzing fares between September, October, and November compared to the same period last year show an average drop of about $150. Airfarewatchdog data concurs, showing that 54 percent of departure airports are seeing a favorable drop.
Where to Stay: Near the wharf at Ovolo Woolloomooloo. The mini bar is free and the views are priceless.
Check Prices for Ovolo Woolloomooloo in Sydney, Australia
Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina
Fall adventure is affordable in two North Carolina hubs this year: bustling Charlotte and outdoorsy Durham. Skyscanner data shows that family-friendly Durham is over 30 percent off; about $75 cheaper average airfare than the same period last year. As for Charlotte, Priceline shows a 13 percent drop in average airfare.
Why? “Spirit Airlines started its first flights to and from Charlotte in June, which has brought much needed competition to this American Airlines stronghold,” Airfarewatchdog’s Thornton says. “Frontier also added flights between Charlotte and Las Vegas in July, which provides more competition between Charlotte and the entire West Coast. Prices have come down on all airlines.”
Where to Stay: At The Durham Hotel, home of a restaurant, coffee shop and rooftop bar run by James Beard winner Andrea Reusing. It’s a delicious place to come home to.
Check Prices for The Durham Hotel in Durham
If you’re still holding onto summer, there’s no better place to do it than sunny, laid-back Spain. Skyscanner data shows a 30 percent drop in average airfare (about $150 in savings) to Madrid, and Airfarewatchdog has noticed the trend, too.
“Flights to Spain were cheap last year, but it’s even more affordable this year,” Thornton says. “Thanks to both existing and new service on Level and Norwegian, flights to Spain are often less than many domestic flights. And you don’t have to fly on a budget carrier for a cheap flight: TAP Portugal expanded its presence in the U.S. to offer more one-stop flights to Spain from several cities. And we regularly see flights on American, Delta, and United in the low $200s roundtrip from New York and in the high $200s to $300s from several other major cities.”
Where to Stay: At the ApartoSuites Jardines de Sabatini, where the rooftop terrace overlooks the Royal Palace.
Check Prices for ApartoSuites Jardines de Sabatini in Madrid
Canada’s famously temperate city is surprisingly affordable in fall: It’s KAYAK’s second-cheapest international destination for the three-month period, with average airfare at $296. To boot, Airfarewatchdog data shows that 37 percent of departure airports are seeing a drop in average airfares of at least 10 percent compared to the same period last year.
Where to Stay: At Hotel BLU, primely located near Robson street – paradise for shoppers, trendsetters and fashion’s elite.
Check Prices for Hotel BLU in Vancouver
Priceline’s fourth-cheapest place to fly internationally for the period of September, October, and November is impressively far-flung: Tokyo fares are down 13 percent from last year, and Airfarewatchdog data shows that a hefty 52 percent of departure airports are seeing price drops for Haneda airport. Narita is also an option for some, with 38 percent of departure airports seeing price drops.
Where to Stay: The family-friendly MIMARU TOKYO AKASAKA. Each spacious apartment comes with a kitchen and dining area.
Check Prices for MIMARU TOKYO AKASAKA in Minato
A Rocky Mountain high means even more in fall, when spectacular colors take over the trails and famous festivities like the Great American Beer Festival hit the city. KAYAK and CheapTickets pricing put Denver squarely among the cheapest places to fly this year: It’s KAYAK’s cheapest fall fare overall, with average flights dipping to $196. And according to CheapTickets, September is the cheapest time to go—average fares are around $188 in September, and climb (only slightly) to $225 for November travel.
Where to Stay: Near the best restaurants in Uptown. The Warwick Hotel is within walking distance from delicious eateries like La Loma, Steuben’s Uptown, and The Delectable Egg.
Check Prices for Warwick Denver Hotel in Denver
Still-warm locales in Europe are in shoulder season during fall, making it the perfect time to snag a deal and avoid the crowds. According to Skyscanner, Athens, Greece, is 15 percent (about $100) off compared to the same period last year. Airfarewatchdog data shows that the downward trend is affecting 40 percent of departure airports—so you won’t have to look too far for a deal.
Where to Stay: At MET34, a modern yet cozy property in walking distance to key attractions and eateries.
Check Prices for MET34 Athens in Athens
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SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel, and finds the cheapest places to fly each season in this updating story. Follow her adventures on Instagram @shanmcmahon.