autumn travel deals

Travel Trends :: Low Season Pep Talk

2010 low season travel strategiesI love this time of year! Autumn colours and showers prompt most people to cozy-up and prep for the coming cold. Not me. The turning leaves remind me of low season travel deals, and the falling rain motivates me to plot---or trip style---my fall and winter escapes!

Why Every year at this time, destinations like Hawaii, the Caribbean and sunny US states like Florida, Arizona and California pine for visitors. Why? Summer has hopefully provided a steady supply of vitamin D, and the back-to-school or getting-back-into-the-swing-of-things culture---whether you have kids or not---seems to be embedded in all of us. Places to be and people to see rings true in the fall, making travel a far-fetched reality for most.

Low Season Inspiration But, it doesn't always have to be that way. Be part of the trend of smarty pants who travel in low season. There's value in zigging when others zag. Prices usually drop up to 70% off highs, you get the added benefit of more attention from hotel staff and encounter fewer crowds. Win, win, win. If kids aren't in the picture, the bazillions of mouth-watering travel deals are yours for the picking, and if they are: babysitter + extended weekend + paying less to travel = relaxation!

Zig When Others Zag :: Fall Travel Ideas

  • Cruises
    • Technically the hurricane season lasts until mid-November, but the weather-monitoring systems and gps aboard cruise ships allow your captain to re-route at the first hint of trouble.
    • Just yesterday I saw a 4-day Miami-Bahamas-Miami NCL cruise from $129/person leaving on various dates!
  • Caribbean
    • Again, most of the Caribbean is susceptible to hurricanes during the fall, but some resorts offer hurricane guarantees, in addition to certain areas having less propensity to be hit by a disaster (more on those areas next week!). Note, hurricane guarantees can be tricky so make sure, you a) find out if the resort has one before you leave, and b) read the fine print!
    • Also yesterday I saw a flight to St. Lucia (from various ports of departure in Canada) & accommodation for $574 (incl taxes)--not the nicest hotel, but hey, you're in St. Lucia for 'pennies' (relatively speaking). Enough said.
  • Hawaii
    • Two years ago at this time my husband and I booked a last-min trip to Maui a few days before we left, and last year we got even crazier and booked a Saturday morning departure on Friday night!  In one instance, we booked our accommodation by phone on the way to the airport. In low season you can take risks like this because supply outweighs demand. Encountering fewer people on every inch of available sand, and getting seats in restaurants right away helped soothe my soul deeper into the Aloha culture.
    • At this time of year, it is not uncommon to find return, direct flights from Seattle to Honolulu or Maui for less than $400 per person. If you fly out of Vancouver, finding a WestJet or AirCanada seat sale can get you there an back in the $400 - $700 range.
    • Note that WestJet has a Autumn Getaway Sale ending tonight and so does Air Canada.
  • Continental US
    • Snowbirds haven't flown South, kids are back in school and most people are (or think they are) too busy to jet-set below the 49th parallel. Too bad really, because this time of year offers enjoyable temperatures in places like Palm Springs, Scottsdale and Vegas. Fewer people visiting = more incentive for airlines, hotels and tourism boards to taunt you with reduced rates.

If you can't make a vacation work this fall, why not schedule one for next fall and join the smarty pants who pay less for travel success!