Are you craving a vacation? The end of summer signals the beginning of sale season in the travel world. If you can get away in September or October, you can save as much as one-third off summer prices. We got the scoop from a couple of serious insiders so you can save like the travel pros.
Gabe Saglie is serious about travel bargains. Saglie is a senior editor at Travelzoo, a website that’s made its name by gathering the best bargains in travel each week. Saglie says, “The travel window right after Labor Day does open up to some great savings opportunities. Many of the destinations that saw peak foot traffic in summer will translate softer demand to broad bargains.”
Pauline Frommer also knows all about travel. She’s the daughter of the legendary Arthur Frommer, and she’s also the co-publisher of the New Frommer’s Guidebooks.
Here are Saglie and Frommer’s tips on the best travel deals:
Fall is discount season in the Caribbean — because of hurricanes. But Frommer points out that there are islands in the Caribbean that get discounted in September and October that fall outside the hurricane zone. These islands offer lovely weather, no risk of hurricane, and up to one-third lower prices! Which islands? Frommer recommends Aruba, Bonair, and Curacao, as well as St. Vincent and the Grenadines. How can you get the best deals? Frommer recommends that you book an air and hotel package at one of major Caribbean travel sites. Sites like Expedia, Vacation Travel Mart, and Cheap Caribbean have the buying power to get rooms and resorts at prices that are almost unbeatable.
According to Frommer, “There is no better or cheaper vacation” than our National Parks. She says September and early October are the perfect times to visit parks, especially in the American West. Some, like Yellowstone, will be closing their gates as early as late October, but September and early October are the low season. You’ll find lodging, packages and amenities at savings of up to 33 percent, fantastic weather and no crowds — plus it’s easy to get a spot on the best ranger-led hikes and other park adventures.
Fall is shoulder season for cruise destinations, too. Saglie promises that bargains abound on the high seas after Labor Day. You can choose from a long weekend cruise, three days, or five to seven day cruises depending on where you want to travel to. Remember cruises don’t always mean warm weather. There are plenty of options to Alaska as well.
Frommer’s advice for enjoying Hawaii on a budget: Rent a condo or apartment, not a hotel. Why? Because food prices on the Islands are through the roof. If you have a kitchen, you can save a lot of dough. September and October are low season in Hawaii, so Frommer says you can bargain for your lodging. She recommends websites like Vacation Rentals By Owner, Home Away Vacation Rentals, Flipkey, and Air BnB.
The U.S. dollar has been getting stronger against the euro, but airfares to Europe are still high. Frommer suggests holding off until November to fly across the Atlantic. Then, she says, shop for an air and hotel package to save on major cities like London, Paris and Rome. Saglie concurs with Frommer that airfares to Europe “will continue to tumble until November, when low season begins (and lasts through March… and prices will soften even more).”
If you are willing to spend a little bit more to travel, Saglie says, “Labor Day through December is shoulder season in Japan and this year. Combined with a strengthening U.S. dollar against the yen, find some great post-Labor Day bargains here.”
Lauren Haas is a writer who specializes in finding the fun! Lauren was the publisher of the St. Louis Area Family Gazette for eight years, and now writes freelance articles on St. Louis events and attractions, budget travel, arts and entertainment and fitness topics. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.