September often marks the end of the peak travel season, but for those able to dodge the back-to-school and back-to-work reality, the month offers a prime opportunity to pack up and plan a getaway. Savvy travelers will find they can take advantage of great vacation deals and fewer crowds at popular destinations around the world. Still not convinced? Here are seven reasons why September is one of the best months to travel.
1. Back-to-school savings
According to Rachel Cruze, co-author of "Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money," planning a trip when school is back in session can lead to significant savings on airfare and lodging, especially since so many destinations are in a post-summer slump. "Since summer is such a key time for people to travel with kids out of school, prices on a lot of vacation destinations tend to rise because of all the demand." When students head back to class, prices drop briefly before picking back up again during the holidays.
While September may offer less traffic for those traveling by car, it also can deliver some savings for those booking flights. When comparing current fares departing in September to fares the same time last month departing in August, the average price for U.S. departures falls more than 20 percent, from $589 to $489, according to Hopper. Airports in Dallas, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles tend to have the most bargains for September.
2. Fewer crowds
Most summer destinations estimate dwindling crowds once Labor Day passes. This can be an added incentive for September travel, especially for those who prefer less congestion and limited traffic.
Melissa Caldarone, a working mother who frequently travels to theme parks in the U.S., said September is an ideal time to visit Walt Disney World and other kid-friendly resorts. "When my kids were young, we always took advantage of short lines and discounts at popular amusement parks once school was back in session," Caldarone said. "We got to experience all the park had to offer without dealing with the stress of crowded environments."
For older travelers, travel expert Rick Steves encourages seniors to consider shoulder season months, especially for trips to Europe (April through mid-June or September and October). These periods help visitors avoid some of the most exhausting elements of European travel: crowds and heat.
3. Lower lodging rates
Luxury resorts often advertise the most significant discounts during the tail end of summer and into early fall. "Once September hits, most destination spots are in 'low season,' so you can find some great deals, not to mention the great weather that comes along with September," Cruze said.
In the Caribbean, top resorts like St. Lucia's Capella Marigot Bay, Seven Stars Resort in Turks & Caicos and Oil Nut Bay in the British Virgin Islands are known for price reductions on accommodations during September and October. These spots are also ideal for honeymoons and romantic getaways.
You'll be able to score some deals stateside, too. To entice vacationers to its shores, Florida launched promotional campaigns targeting travelers interested in an early fall getaway. The new See You in September promotion by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau allows guests to book two nights and get the third night free at exclusive hotels. Meanwhile, the Vacation Like a VIP luxury hotel package offers a $100 resort credit, along with other perks like upgraded rooms and complimentary valet parking at participating locations.
Kimpton Hotels & Resorts is also offering special fall discounts at some of its properties around the country, including those in Miami and Savannah, Georgia.
4. Cruise deals
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Along with the potentially stormy weather, the season ushers in a host of discounts on cruise vacations. Check Priceline for a list of the most popular discounted cruises during this off-peak period.
5. Mild weather
Though September is still technically hurricane season for the Atlantic, the climate makes trips to the southern U.S. and the Caribbean ideal for travelers who prefer less heat and humidity. As for the rest of the U.S., temperatures are still fairly mild and warm.
6. Off-season activities
While one activity may not be in season, there is always another to take its place. That's why travelers should always consider off-season destinations during the month of September.
For example, ski-friendly regions find unique ways to lure visitors before snow season begins. Stowe, Vermont, now boasts the longest and fastest zip lining tour in North America, in addition to its great hiking trails and award-winning golf courses.
7. Discounts on travel gear
If you're extending your summer vacation into September, you'll find it's also a fantastic month for potential savings on any leftover summer goods and summer fashion. Stock up on discounted cruise wear, beach goods, sunscreen and seasonal clothes.
While summer vacations are typically scheduled before Labor Day, planning a vacation later in the season should be a consideration thanks to its pleasant weather and potential for substantial savings.
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