15 Killer Fall Travel Deals

We're still a month or so removed from fall, but this is definitely fall travel season.

Travels who are well-seasoned in searching for off-peak travel dates and deals know that the early weeks of December, much of January and even early summer. However, pricing takes a turn for the better during August and the September weeks following Labor Day. Rick Seaney, chief executive of travel site FareCompare.com, notes fall bargain travel season kicks off on August 30 and sent prices plummeting. With kids headed back to school, college freshmen weeks into their first semester and parents finally finished with back-to-school shopping, Seaney notes that demand for hotel rooms and flights dives on that first day, recovers somewhat for Labor Day and slides into deep autumn discounts.

"As for airfare prices, they can drop as much as a third or more over summer airfare," Seaney says. "For my money, autumn is the best time of the year for a vacation: it packs the one-two punch of great weather and great airfare prices."

In June, travel site Hopper noted that projected airfare peaked at an average of $259 in June, but steadily slides to $218 by October. It might be tough to book anything earlier than mid- to late-September now, but much of October foliage season and pre-Thanksgiving November falls within FareCompare's recommended booking window of 30 days to three months before departure. If you book online on a Tuesday at about 3 p.m. Eastern, you stand the best chance of hitting an airline sale and getting the best price on tickets. Meanwhile, if you fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday, you stand to get a better deal than at any other time of the week.

Hopper notes that the price of jet fuel is still cheaper than it's been since 2009, giving airlines some room for discounts. Overall, prices are up about 5.2% compared to the same time last year, but down 4.3% compared to two years ago. But where do you go? Well, Hopper suggests that Asian destinations are about to see a steep decrease in prices, with airfare to Osaka, Japan dropping 34% from this summer to $558 in the fall. If you're heading to Seoul, the $584 it'll cost you on average to get to South Korea is down 28% from this summer. However, destinations the Caribbean see the best deals, with airfare to Trinidad and Tobago ($519, down 36%), Turks and Caicos ($413, 27%) and the Dominican Republic ($410, 21%) all getting deep discounts.

With help from Hopper, we've found 15 destinations that you can visit at cut-rate costs this fall. While it isn't comprehensive (and leaves a lot of the globe out of the equation), it's filled with a fair amount of options for the frugal fall traveler.

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Fort Meyers, Fla.
Fort Meyers, Fla.

Average airfare: $230

Discount from summer: 24%

The high temperature seldom gets below 75 degrees, while the average low doesn't dip below 50. The Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins call this city their spring training home, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison's summer homes are here and a booming population has made the city a boon for shops, restaurants, fishing, golfing and other attractions. It's also right in a hurricane path in the middle of hurricane season, as residents who made it through Hurricane Matthew last fall can attest.

Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand

Average airfare: $581

Discount from summer: 21%

Full homes rent here for $500 a month, so finding cheap accommodations won't be hard. Step outside of the city, and you could pay less than $300 a month for a beachside bungalow with air-conditioning, hot water, WiFi, and a refrigerator. Bangkok's markets, restaurants and street life are also fairly inexpensive for all their sensory overload, but prepare to see far more U.S. and European tourists than you ever bargained for.

Boise, Idaho
Boise, Idaho

Average airfare: $236

Discount from summer: 24%

No, Southwest Idaho may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of "fall color," but the creeks and trails of the Boise foothills put on quite a show as the temperatures drop. Boise, "The City of Trees" teems with non-native oaks, maples, and ash throughout downtown, local parks and the North End neighborhood. Boise riverbanks and their parks come alive with gold cottonwoods and aspens and red plants and shrubs. Take a walk or ride along the 25-miler Boise Greenbelt along the Boise river, or take day trips out to Eagle Island State Park or up Highway 55, the Payette River Scenic Byway and the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway -- with bold pockets of color along the roads and rivers.

Tampa, Fla.
Tampa, Fla.

Average airfare: $207

Discount from summer: 18%

If you actually decide to attend a Tampa Bay Rays game in neighboring St. Petersburg, you might just make a dent in average annual attendance. Despite competing for a wild-card spot this year, the Rays remain one of the toughest draws in the league thanks to the ill-planned Tropicana Field and the astounding laziness of area fans. However, if late-season baseball isn't reason for a road trip, go fish off of St. Pete Beach, drink some fruit-laden beer and catch the faint scent of cigars from a restaurant with outdoor seating. Again, it's hurricane season, so keep the plans flexible.

San Salvador, El Salvador
San Salvador, El Salvador

Average airfare: $510

Discount from summer: 21%

It stays in the 80s here year-round, but the rainy season starts tapering off in October. Visit the volcano crater at El Boqueron Park, jet ski the crater lake in Lake Ilopango, take in the museums and monuments, or visit the artists and restaurants along Paseo del Carmen. It's your best chance to do so without getting soaked, either by rain or by hotels and airlines jacking up prices for the season.

Savannah, Ga.
Savannah, Ga.

Average airfare: $170

Discount from summer: 16%

Temperatures start dipping into the upper 70s around October, with the raintapering off enough to allow walks through the historic gardens, strolls through the neighborhoods of historic homes or nights out at the restaurants and theaters. In fact, this two-bedroom loft in the center of Savannah's Historic District not only gives guests 1,100 square feet to spread out, but puts much of the city's premier destinations within walking distance. We'll warn that Hurricane Matthew slammed into Savannah last year, so hurricane season does factor into the reduced price a bit.

Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia

Average airfare: $633

Discount from summer: 21%

A surfer's paradise and a patchwork of beaches, coral reefs, temples and tourist hotels, Bali is the template for Southern Pacific island getaways. Its historic sites, waterfalls, rice fields and rich culture make it a magnet for the world's elite, but also an idealized blend of nature, ritual and relaxation. We warn, however, that October marks the beginning of Monsoon season. If you're averse to sogginess, book early.

West Palm Beach, Fla.
West Palm Beach, Fla.

Average airfare: $200

Discount from summer: 16%

No, not the place with the multi-million-dollar homes (including the president's compound), yacht club and the Breakers hotel: The place with the cute bungalows inland. Sure, it's also the home of CityPlace -- a giant outdoor reminder of the struggling retail sector -- but during the fall it's also home to one of the biggest Halloween parties in the country. MoonFest shuts down five blocks of Clematis Street downtown and turns it into a costumed outdoor cocktail party filled with booze, bands, haunted houses and a VIP cemetery. If you can squeeze it into your Halloween travel plans, do so.

Newark, N.J.
Newark, N.J.

Average airfare: $239

Discount from summer: 16%

While not itself much of a fall destination (unless a New Jersey Devils hockey game, a concert at the performing arts center and a Portuguese meal in Ironbound are on your fall agenda), Newark Liberty Airport plants you in the middle of a whole lot of options. You could trek up to the foliage-laden lakes, orchards and wineries along the New York/New Jersey border. You could take I-80 out to the Poconos around Jim Thorpe, Penn., and explore the patchwork of rolling hills. But, according to TripAdvisor, you're far more likely to use that trip to visit the Ground Zero Memorial in Lower Manhattan. If that's the case, there's a train from the airport that brings you directly into Manhatthan.

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Average airfare: $161

Discount from summer: 15%

During peak season, the town is a raucous blend of boardwalk honky tonk and Hard Rock Cafe tourist sheen. However, by this time, the motorcycle runs have died down and the bars, the boardwalk, the malls, the golf courses, the theme parks and beaches have seen their crowds dwindle. In nearby Surfside along the Grand Strand, the fishing pier, movie theaters, batting cages, mini golf, zoo, bowling, Ripley's Aquarium and Wild Water and Wheels amusement park all rely largely on families for their well-being. For many, this weekend is either their last hurrah or a bit too late.

Detroit
Detroit

Average airfare: $211

Discount from summer: 14%

While you could stick around town and get a sense of how a combination of industrial decline and racial unrest 50 years ago transformed this city and how the city has evolved since, there's a whole lot more to do in Michigan around this time of year. In a state filled with foliage, apple orchards and lakefront vacation homes, there's no shortage of fall activity. Of course, if you'd like to spend a fall day in the Big House watching a Michigan football game, we understand that, too. For decades, it's been better than any football played in Detroit.

Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte, N.C.

Average airfare: $218

Discount from summer: 14%

A thriving metro area filled with museums (yes, the NASCAR museum counts), theater, restaurants, breweries and pro spots, Charlotte is a destination unto itself -- even if that destination is still fairly business-oriented and closes early. However, if you're going to spend fall in North Carolina, we strongly advise driving the two hours out to Asheville, taking in one of the world's longest fall foliage seasons and doing so while whitewater rafting, mountain biking or hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you have time to kill, take an extra hour's drive and go watch the colors change in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the foliage rivals that in the Northeast.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio

Average airfare: $218

Discount from summer: 13%

We could tell you to take in the culture, go to Kentucky and sip bourbon, take in the foliage -- well, we will advise you to do the foliage portion, as Hocking Hills State Park, Mt. Airy Forest and the Ohio River Scenic Byway are all lovely this time of year. But if you're coming to Cincinnati in fall, why not do Oktoberfest Zinzinnati? Three days of beer, pretzels, bratwurst, wiener-dog races, lederhosen, beer stein races, barrel rolls, a stein-hoisting championship, a bratwurst-eating contest, a giant Chicken Dance and more. If you aren't going to Munich for their event, this is about the best you're going to do in the U.S. Prost!

Medellin, Colombia
Medellin, Colombia

Average airfare: $409

Discount from summer: 21%

Medellin has a notorious reputation among Americans who know it mostly for its drug-laden past, but that hasn't prevented a huge expat population from springing up within city limits. Medellin is an incredibly walkable city, and its El Poblado district has Japanese, French, seafood and Italian restaurants within a block of each other.

It's also fairly inexpensive. The average rental on a one-bedroom apartment in the center of the city is $650 a month, a taxi will get you anywhere in town for $2.50, while buses and trains can be found for much less. Plus, with the average high temperature topping out at 73 degrees, the average low coming in at 54 and a couple of rainy seasons in spring and fall, it's cool, comfortable and fall-like year-round.

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