Summer may be winding down, but it’s not winter yet. And fall has a lot to offer travelers looking to stretch their budget. After all, it’s shoulder season (that savings sweet spot between pricey peak season and the weather roulette of off season) in a lot of places. To get you started, Cheapflights.com has crunched the numbers and done some digging – looking at average flight prices, rising popularity and even weather forecasts – to bring you the best of the best for travelers looking to spend less, while also taking advantage of gorgeous autumn weather (leaf peepers and sweater aficionados rejoice!). So, read on and start planning that fall vacay.
For budget travelers: Madrid, Spain
October is a great time to check out the Spanish capital. While the heat has tapered significantly from the summer months (with average temperatures in the 50s and 60s), the pleasantly cool temps makes for enjoyable exploring. And with average airfare to Madrid down 20 percent from the monthly average, the price is certainly right, especially compared with the city’s peak summer season. So get ready to sip sangria, sample tapas and explore the culture of this must-visit European city. Before you go, here are 10 things first-time visitors should know.
For weather watchers: Boston, Massachusetts
At first glance, you may not think there’s much remarkable about October weather in Boston. The brisk, fall temperatures are typically in the 50s and low 60s, making a sweater or light jacket a packing staple. Yet, the cooler temps are ideal for exploring the city on foot, while also enjoying the gorgeous changing colors of the area’s foliage. Grab a coffee at one of the area’s many Dunkin Donuts and walk The Freedom Trail — a 2.5-mile red-lined route that takes you buy 16 historically significant Boston landmarks. October is also prime time for exploring nearby Salem, a city teeming with history surrounding its 17th century witch trials. The coastal city comes alive throughout the month as its Haunted Happenings Halloween festivities take over. Take the commuter rail from North Station and in a little more than 30 minutes you’ll be exploring the area’s museums, ghost tours, shops and restaurants.
For the best of both: Maui, Hawaii
There’s really no bad time to go to Hawaii, and with year-round sunshine, October is a great option. Not only will you enjoy the tail end of summer if you head to Hawaii in October, but average airfare to Kahului Airport in Maui is down 21 percent over the monthly average. (For more ways to save, here’s how to do Hawaii on a shoestring budget.) Aside from the obvious (beach, please!), October brings a number of festivals to the island. Head to the Maui County Fair from Oct. 5-8 or the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival from Oct. 20-22. If you happen to be traveling over Halloween, Maui’s Lahaina Halloween Party is known as the “Mardi Gras of the Pacific.”
For trendsetters: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is hot in October. And we’re not just talking about temperatures (which are actually quite pleasant in the 70s and 80s). We are seeing an upswing in searches for October travel to this desert city and for good reason. Visitors will not only score some ideal temperatures (somewhere between the summer heat and the mild winter) with a fall visit but will also have their pick of entertainment from a great line-up of festivals. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place from Oct. 7-15 with stunning views, live music and more. Be sure to take a break from the balloons by grabbing a beer (of few) at the New Mexico Brew Fest on Oct. 14. Fans of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” should also take a guided (or self-guided) tour of the show’s ABQ shooting locations.
For advanced planners: Paris, France
Planning ahead for winter travel? Book a January or February trip to Paris in mid-October to save. It’s low season, so the amounts of tourists will be significantly less, meaning entry to exhibits, museums and restaurants will be a breeze. While it may be cold, there is something quite magical about Paris in winter. Bundle up and strap on your ice skates at one of the many rinks. There is even an ice rink on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower for bonus views.
Just so you know, this data is based on averages from departure points across the U.S. and is intended as a guideline only. Check the latest up-to-date prices and search for flights at Cheapflights.com.