The page is changing. The temperature is dropping. And the price of airfare? They are also cooling from the height of summer. This is also known as the shoulder season, when fewer people travel—and thus, more availability.
But this year, some of these seasonal properties can be hard to find — at least when it comes to avoiding the crowds. According to new TripIt data, 85% of Americans plan to travel this fall. Nearly two-thirds (64%) plan to fly domestically; 42% are planning a road trip; and 32% plan to fly internationally.
A guess as to why: Many expect the summer chaos to cool down, too.
Read more: So long, shoulder season? New survey shows 85% of Americans plan to travel this fall
Unsure as to what’s so alluring about shoulder season? Thinking about planning a fall trip, but not sure where to go? I address both of these questions, and more, below.
What is shoulder season?
Shoulder season is the period between peak travel and off season. As such, it varies based on where you are in the world. In the United States, for example, the shoulder season occurs between the busy summer travel season and winter travel—that is, fall and spring.
Why do people prefer to travel during the shoulder season? There are some advantages: Prices are generally lower than during peak summer travel. The weather is also generally better than in the off season. Combined, this creates a sweet spot for travelers who have the flexibility to travel during this time.
Remember that many people travel during the summer because the kids aren’t in school; There are more long weekends to take advantage of (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day); And of course, the weather often is kiss the boss For the holidays. But with all these benefits comes a high price—and many people experienced travel chaos this past summer.
So it’s little wonder that so many Americans are planning to travel this fall. And if you’re one of them, read on for tips on how to get the most out of traveling during the shoulder season.
Where to go in autumn
Fall trip calling your name? Here are five ways to make the most of it
1. Go where it’s not crowded
According to TripIt data, these are the top destinations for American travelers this fall (ie, September 1 to November 15):
- Las Vegas
- New York
- San Francisco
- the fairies
- Fairytale birds are special
Of course, these destinations are popular for a reason—many of them top the charts for summer holidays like the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend—and with cooler temperatures and prices predicted to fall, it’s easy to see why they’ll continue to attract. the traveler
That said, if you want to avoid the crowds on your fall trip, go elsewhere. Hint: Our City Break series can help you plan some alternative cities. Think Detroit instead of Chicago; Park City instead of Denver; Or Edinburgh instead of London.
2. Go wherever your bucket list takes you
… and for many Americans, that means Europe. According to a recent TripIt survey, more than half (57%) of travelers planning bucket-list trips have an international destination in mind. About a third (30%) are planning to travel to Europe.
Related reading: Europe, Italy Top Americans’ Bucket-List Trips
Why is fall—and this fall, in particular—a great time to travel to Europe? There are generally fewer tourists (mentioned above), great deals on flights and accommodation, as well as countless cultural events to experience, including Germany’s Oktoberfest; Europe’s largest Halloween celebration in Derry, Ireland; Bonfire Night (also called Guy Fawkes Night) in Scotland; And much more.
At this point, Americans may also benefit from the near parity of the US dollar to euro exchange rate—the lowest in nearly two decades.
3. Go where ghostly SZN prevails
Love Halloween? Want to plan a fall trip with a spooky twist? Here are a few destinations to consider.
Savannah is one of the scariest cities in America, thanks to historic cemeteries, ghost sightings and famous voodoo-practicing residents. Take a ghost tour – by trolley, hearse or on foot (there’s even a haunted pub crawl option!) to learn about the city’s haunted past and access its most haunted locations.
New Orleans, Louisiana
If you love parades, New Orleans should be high on your fall destination list. Enter: Krewe of BOO! Halloween Parade. This annual Halloween parade features floats, marching bands, dance troupes, and walking crews—all through NOLA’s famous French Quarter. This year, the parade takes place on Saturday, October 22.
Hudson Valley, New York
New York’s Hudson Valley is ripe with fall activities that range from festive to downright spooky.
At the end of the festivities, take a ride through Van Cortlandt Manor while decked out for The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. That is, thousands of hand-carved Jack O’Lanterns covered the display – from dragons to the Statue of Liberty. Advanced reservations are required, so book your scheduled entry now.
As scary? You’ve heard of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, right? You can visit the original village of Sleepy Hollow. Or, visit nearby Tarrytown where Sleepy Hollow author Washington Irving lived. His historic home will be decorated for the season.
4. Go to where the foliage is at its peak
Dreaming of filling your Instagram feed with the colors of the season? The same. The forecast map on this page can help you estimate when your intended (US) destination will experience peak fall colors.
Toggle the slider to the dates you have in mind for leaf-peeing trips, and refer to the color-coded guide to determine when you can experience the leaves at their most colorful.
5. Go away feeling prepared
No matter where you’re going, you want to feel prepared for your trip—and TripIt Pro can help you do that.
Here are some ways how:
- This summer’s travel chaos can carry over into the fall. With TripIt Pro, you can be the first to know about flight delays, cancellations, gate changes and more. If your flight is Delayed or cancelled, you can consult TripIt Pro for alternative flights It instantly finds you new flight options if your current flight is delayed, canceled—or if you want to leave on another flight.
- If you experience a flight disruption while traveling in Europe, TripIt will automatically email you if your flight may be eligible for compensation and help you file a claim through AirHelp. Once your claim is filed, AirHelp does the rest of the hard work for you, including paperwork and communication with the airlines.
- Barriers aside, TripIt Pro’s International Travel Tools feature makes international travel easy by showing details like local currency and exchange rates, tips for tipping at your destination, embassy information, driving guidelines, socket and plug requirements, required vaccinations and more.
- And whether you fly internationally or domestically for your fall trip, always add your flight plans to TripIt. With TripIt Pro, you’ll be notified if your airfare drops after you book, in which case you’re usually entitled to a refund.