Experienced travelers without school-year obligations love this time of year, and really, what’s not to love about it? In general, it’s considered the low season for travel and fall travel has a lot of benefits:
To be clear, we’re talking about that sweet spot of fall – just after school starts and before the holiday mayhem.
If you’re contemplating a fall trip, hesitate no longer. Here’s your complete guide to fall travel.
Traditionally the fall travel season in the US runs from the Tuesday after Labor Day until the week of Thanksgiving.
Elsewhere, this is what the fall travel season looks like:
Pro tip: The Caribbean doesn’t really get a fall because hurricane season ends late November, which begins the high season of holiday travel.
Civil and cultural holidays often mean closures, which can be a problem for travelers. You’ll want to know ahead of time if the buses, trains, museums, restaurants, etc. are open and running on normal schedules when you visit.
Here are a few things to watch out for
Takeaway: Look up the list of civic and cultural holidays where you’re traveling so you know ahead of time how to adjust your plans for those days.
Many Americans are used to the routine of scheduling their flu shot in the fall, and most have had one or more Covid vaccines.
New for fall this year are the first shots to protect infants and older adults from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a lesser-known threat whose toll in hospitalizations and deaths may rival that of flu. The coronavirus, flu, and RSV are likely to resurge this fall, peak earlier, and circulate for longer than usual.
Bonus: For people with insurance, all the vaccines will be at no cost.
You just have to get them.
Start by checking the weather for your destination so you know what to expect. In general, fall in the northern hemisphere means warm sunny days and cooler nights. It can also mean rain in some parts of the world.
The following are some general recommendations for fall travel packing:
Pro tip: Use our popular guide to check the weather before you travel (also for road trips!).
Before you finalize your fall trip, book your holiday trip. Holiday travel (specifically Thanksgiving week through early January) is typically expensive and booking way ahead of time is the only way to contain costs.
Don’t forget to book ALL THE THINGS too, including:
The one thing you forget could be the most expensive thing you need on your trip.
The US isn’t the only place to see beautiful fall leaves; however, the authoritative resource in the US is the fall foliage predictor.
A new US-based website (explorefall.com) launched recently with an interactive map that can help you plan timing your fall foliage trip, both timing and color predictions.
If you’re headed to Europe, you’ll find the best displays of colorful leaves in Finland, Norway, and Sweden starting in early September. The trees change colors in October in central and southern Europe.
See Fantastic Foliage: 6 of the Best US Towns for Leaf Peeping in specific locations.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.