Fall vacationers head out when others stay home

  • Article by: CONNIE NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 22, 2014 - 1:00 PM

For school-age kids — from kindergartners to collegiates — this is the last hurrah. There’s just enough time to fit in one more visit to Gram and Gramp’s cabin, one more road trip to see friends before it’s back to school.

For empty nesters and adults without kids in tow, the fun is just beginning. Now’s the time to book the vacation you’ve been thinking about all summer.

Early September to December tends to be a “soft” season for travel. Except for the week of Thanksgiving, you often can find deals at big-city hotels and beach-based resorts after summer rush and before the holidays. And while you may not be assured of deeply discounted flights in fall, you should be able to find a few that are less crowded.

That can be true for your destination, as well, if you choose wisely. Family attractions (think Six Flags or Disney), beaches, cruises and even European destinations may offer deals — and certainly boast shorter lines at the rides, snow cone stands and restaurants.

For years, my husband and I have gravitated toward vacationing in the fall. While not world travelers, we’ve camped the Badlands, taken the train to Chicago, paddled the Boundary Waters and once even flew to Paris — all in autumn.

We almost always found that the summer crowds had thinned. Unfortunately, sometimes so had the patience of the tour guides, hoteliers and waiters in heavily touristed areas. Packing for fall trips proved to be a bit tricky. After sweating through 103-degree heat as well as early snowfalls, we learned that it’s best to be prepared for two seasons, not one.

But we’ve been pleased to find like-minded travelers wherever we went. Not just bargain hunters, but people who want to see a bit of the world at a slower, quieter pace.

Connie Nelson


Travel editor Kerri Westenberg is on vacation. She will return next week.

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