Are You Ready for a Fall Getaway?
If the rush of the Memorial Day barbecue too- quickly morphed into the disbelief that it was Labor Day without a vacation or even a staycation, get set for happy news. Now is a great time to get away.
“Fall is one of the best times to travel since it lands between two heavy tourism seasons summer and the holiday. Travelers can find some of the year’s deepest discounts with rates often much lower than other months,” says Carl Sparks, general manager of Hotels.com.
Travel websites are desperate for your love. There are deals everywhere. Hotels.com’s Fall Sale features up to 50 percent off select hotels in Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas and Miami, as well as free nights at participating hotels in New York, Dallas and Orlando. Expedia.com has just launched a Fall Free Nights Sale, which offers travelers a free hotel night at more than 1,700 properties worldwide when they book a three-, four- or five-night stay. Book by October 15 and travel by November 20.
Cruise lines also need someone to carry. Due in large part to the tough economy, cruise lines are putting the brakes on building new ships. Consequently, they will likely continue to lower prices, says Ian Ford, president of Undercover Tourist.
Go for bundles and packages. Airfare-and-hotel bundles or vacation packages are still the way to go. You can get a better price on airfare because resorts are subsidizing the cost just to get people there. “Look at areas really hit by the recession such as Las Vegas or the Caribbean. You may also want to check your preferred airline for packages since many carriers now have comparable offers for airfare-and-hotel deals,” says Ford.
Look for “extras.” Discounted room rates and value-added promotions such as free nights, free breakfast, free room upgrade are everywhere. In Vegas it’s gambling credits and spa credits. “This is the time to bargain because the travel industry is trying to rebound and is ready to make a deal,” says Ford.
Think past the ticket. “Don’t get stuck on finding the best airfare out there. The extra money you might spend on airfare you may be able to gain back in hotels and car rental deals,” adds Ford. Also think beyond the weekend. Everybody travels then. Make your escape mid-week.You’ll likely find smaller lines at children’s attractions, as well as at restaurants. Remember too that there are places to lay your head other than a hotel. Consider renting a house, apartment or cabin. This can be more affordable because you don’t have to eat out every meal, says Peter Hans, CEO of Resort Maps. If you’re in the B&B mood, find Fall specials at BnBFinder.com.
Get social. Find deal-happy travel “voices” on Twitter and Facebook and follow them for insider tips on breaking travel deals and special opportunities you can only find on social networks, advises Maryann Stansfield, a spokesperson for the Travel Paso Robles Alliance. Whether it’s a blog, Twitter account or YouTube video, it is information that you can use to better plan your trip.
Sign up. There are many retailers and groups that want you to be a member. Signing up on mailing lists and e-newsletters can give you insider deals and insight on making the most of your travel experience.
Forget being shy. Ask for a deal. The major travel websites are great resources, but take matters into your own hands. Call a hotel, airline or restaurant, let them know your budget and see what they can do for you. You miight get a discount or an upgrade, says Hans.
Whatever you do, get going. You’ll blink and before you know it will be all about the ho-ho-ho holidays.
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