From spring break to summer fridays to winter holidays, it might seem like the other seasons have all the vacation fun.But, for travel hackers, fall is an opportunity for savings. It is a shoulder season, which means discounts abound on accommodation and flights.Don’t want to go too far? All over the country, autumnal attractions are popping up, from apple picking to foliage spotting to corn mazes. The weather is nice enough to still enjoy the outdoors.With the help of financial buffs and worldwide adventurers, here are our tips for frugal travel this 2016. It just might be the best season for it.Whether you travel far or stay close, Fall 2016 is a great time for holiday savings. Photo credit: Alexandra Talty.
Whether you travel far or stay close, Fall 2016 is a great time for holiday savings. Photo credit: Alexandra Talty.
YouTube star Nadine Sykora travels the world making videos for her thousands of followers. The Canadian has been to nearly 50 countries. Here are her favorite low-cost ways to enjoy fall in North America.
1. Check out a local Oktoberfests.
Oktoberfest is a beer and food festival held annually in Munich, Germany for 16- to 18-days from mid-late September to the first weekend in October.
More recently cities all around North America have been adopting the German traditions and have been inspired to host and create local festivals in their own town during that time. From Los Angeles to New York to Toronto, they pour German beers, serve favorite festival foods like sausage, pretzels and even wear traditional Oktoberfest costume like dirndls and lederhosen. It is a great way to experience one of the world best festivals and it’s substantially cheaper than flying to Germany.
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2. Stop by the green.
Fall brings special offers of discounted rates on golf, often between 20 – 50 percent. If you’ve ever wanted to try golf, get outside and play in the fall.
Not only do you get to enjoy the stunning foliage, there are far less people, so if you are new to the game you won’t be intimidated by speedy pros and packed course.
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3. Go apple picking.
Apple picking is a fun way to get everyone involved in procuring a healthy snack. You might pay more for your apples at an orchard, but you’ll know where they were grown and help a local farmer stay on their land.
To save on agritainment, call around to your local orchards to compare pricing by pound. Make sure you have plans for the apples you pick so they don’t go to waste.
4. Take a hike with the family.
Hiking can be a cheap way to enjoy fall and see the leaves. It’s almost always free or cheap to hike at state or national parks.
5. Consider traveling to the Caribbean.
Fall break is an inexpensive time for families to travel all over the country, but especially to the Caribbean. Since it is both their rainy season and hurricane season, it can be a great time to get stellar deals on both airfare and hotel stays. Make sure to shop around online for the best deals.
6. Cash in your credit card rewards.
If you have credit card rewards, fall is also a great time to cash in your points because availability is more open than other times of the year.
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7. Be location agnostic.
For booking flights, use a tool like KAYAK Explore. If you are flexible on your dates and the location, you can use the map to discover the best destination deals.
8. Try a staycation.
Rediscover your city. The staycation is a great way to save on travel. If you have loyalty card points, cash them in for a hotel stay, book a room and spend a few days behaving like a tourist.
Staying at home is also an option, but with a suite, you get the vacation feeling. It helps that you don’t have to worry about household chores like making your bed each day.
Travel search engine Liligo.com searches all available flight, bus and train options, crunching the numbers for travelers to see all possible routes and discounts. Here are their data-driven ideas for budget trips.
9. Book Thanksgiving travel as close to November 1 as possible, but not afterwards.
If you are booking Thanksgiving flights, do it before November hits. Flight prices decrease beginning September 5th but then, after October 31st, they increase until the holiday.
10. Taking a short trip? Don’t assume the bus will be cheaper.
Interested in a quick getaway? In general traveling by bus is cheaper than flying. However, liligo.com crunched the numbers and some cities have cheaper flights than bus routes.
Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas, Seattle and Chicago have the highest number of routes with cheaper flights than bus prices. If you are traveling to or from one of those cities, check before booking as flights might be the least expensive option.
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11. Take advantage of the shoulder season.
Summer is over and schools are back in session, which means fewer people are booking flights and hotel rooms. With less demand, prices fall too. The fall is also a good time to travel because the crowds are gone but most seasonal attractions are still open for a few more weeks before the weather turns really cold.
12. But avoid fall breaks.
Make sure you avoid traveling over fall breaks when schools are out. Prices will go back up since people get time off work and kids are out of school.
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13. Take advantage of the exchange rate and book a British getaway.
The pound is still in decline. Following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, the currency is heading into is fifth quarterly decline against the dollar. Book a flight, and your American money will take you further in the UK than in years past.
14. Find a National Park near you.
Out of 411 national parks, only 127 charge an entrance fee. If your heart is set on one of those 127 parks, stop by on November 11, when all National Parks are offering free admission.
Lots of people? Walk a mile on a trail and you’ll find the crowds dispersed.
15. If you are flexible, use this Priceline app for last minute savings on accommodation.
Booking something last minute? Priceline.com has “Tonight-Only” deals on their app that boast up to 60 percent savings. They are available at 11:00 a.m. each day.
16. Go camping.
Don’t have extra hotel points laying around? Consider camping this autumn.KOA – Kampgrounds of America – has 490 sites all over the United States and Canada. Tent sites range from $20 to $55, while rustic cabins can be between $35 – $90.
17. Explore a corn maze.
Want to get outdoors but don’t care about picking fruit? Check out a corn maze. They are typically less expensive than U-Pick apples and can be lots of fun for adults, as well as kids.
18. Check out quirky attractions nearby.