From the time we are kids, we’re conditioned to count down the days until summer. Summer means freedom from responsibilities, vacation time and fun in the sun.
Or maybe you dream of getting away during the winter months, and escaping the snow and ice and visiting someplace warm and sunny — or going the opposite direction and hitting the slopes on your favorite mountain.
While there are numerous benefits to getting away during the winter and summer months, there are just as many drawbacks — most notably the increased crowds and increased rates. When everyone is headed to the most popular destinations at the same time, your long-dreamed-of getaway could turn into a very expensive headache as you stand in yet another line and navigate yet another crowd.
The solution? Travel during the off season, most notably the autumn months. In fact, by some accounts, fall is the best time to travel just about anywhere for several reasons.
For many people, the summer months and school vacation weeks over the holidays and in the later winter and mid-spring are the most convenient times to travel, and for many, this is because the kids are out of school. Even those without kids try to get away during those months — there’s just something about spending a week at the beach during the summer no matter how old you are. But then there’s the problem of crowds. With everyone flocking to the same places at the same time, traffic, lines and long waits are inevitable; for example, wait times to see monuments or major landmarks in some cities can reach up to four hours or longer during the summer months. If you travel in the fall, most of those other travelers will have returned home, shortening the time you have to wait for popular attractions and increasing the chance that you’ll score a room at that great hotel you’ve always wanted to stay at or a table at the hot new restaurant.
Another benefit of lower crowds? Lower rates travel. The same trip that you would take in the summer could be as much as 50-percent cheaper if you travel in the fall. Because fewer travelers are clamoring for reservations come September, travel providers drop their rates to attract visitors or even offer special perks like free meals or spa treatments to attract visitors. Travelers to major cities who visit on the weekends might find even better deals; for example, Toronto hotels that cater to business travelers often offer special weekend deals to entice travelers to fill the rooms on the weekends (find additional info on deals here). The upshot? More money in your pocket and the same — or better — trip.
Just because the calendar changes to September doesn’t mean that the freezer switch is turned on. In fact, many destinations like Canada and New England have some of the best weather of the year in the fall months. If a beach trip is what you have in mind, most southern beach towns still have warm and sunny weather well into October or even later. If hurricanes are a concern, purchase travel insurance.
In many parts of the world, fall marks the beginning of festival season. From world-renowned events like Munich’s Oktoberfest and Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta to more specialized events like Knoxville’s Boomsday fireworks festival, you’ll find celebrations of music, art, food and more around the world in the fall. Serious wine lovers tend to flock to wine producing regionsin the fall, when the grapes are harvested and the wine-making process begins, while many regions burst with color as the leaves start to change. All told, fall cannot be beat in terms of celebrations and things to
Have you ever tried asking for time off over the Fourth of July, or the week between Christmas and New Year’s? You probably have to do it months in advance, even if your plans aren’t nailed down yet, because others are asking for the same time off. Taking your vacation time in the fall might be an easier sell, as the rest of your office isn’t headed out of town at the same time. If you have kids, getting away after school starts might be a little trickier, but building your trip around long weekends usually means fewer missed days for them.
While there is really no “bad” time to travel, fall certainly has some considerable advantages over other times of the year. If you are thinking about a getaway, consider planning your trip between September and November. You might just find yourself counting the days until September instead of June.
About the Author: Louise Vinciguerra might be a fantastic joke teller, but her ability to plan great trips is no joke. She makes her living as a content creator, spending her days on Facebook, WordPress and Twitter.