FALLing Fares: The Deal Zones of Autumn

If you like flying to new places while spending as little as possible, autumn should be your favorite time of year for three very good reasons: The Deal Zones of Fall.

Most of what follows applies to travel within the U.S., flights between the U.S. and Europe and many (but not all) domestic and foreign routes around the word. As always, compare fares and dates to find the cheapest flights.

LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney loves those deal zones.

First Deal Zone of Fall

  • Time period: August 25 through October

This one is already underway of course, and although it always begins in late August (start date varies year by year), it’s considered the first deal zone of fall because it marks the end of the airline summer season. As passenger demand drops, prices drop, too.

November Deal Zone

  • Time period: First two weeks in November

Another example of lower airfare due to slow demand because most people will wait to travel during the busy Thanksgiving period in late November. Turkey Day travel usually has the highest ticket prices of the year so if it’s at all possible, celebrate early and save big. Or just get away and enjoy new surroundings as well as the cheap airfare that got you there.

December Deal Zone

  • Time period: First two weeks in December

Since this zone is sandwiched between two pricy periods – Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s, once again demand is down which is good news for anyone who’d like to fly. Could be the perfect time to gift yourself with an pre-holiday trip.

Up Next – The Winter Deal Zone

  • Time period: Much of January and February

This begins with the return of New Year’s flights – typically around January 7 – and continues into mid-February. There is very little appetite for flights at this time of year in many countries and  travel expert and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney calls it “the cheapest deal zone of the year” for the U.S.

A Word of Caution

A few destinations for U.S. travelers not especially cheap during fall deal zones include some Caribbean beaches but certain warm weather destinations are cheaper than others and decent deals can often be found to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Florida. Try comparing airfares on a variety of deal zone dates plus compare prices to different destinations.

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Updated: September 30, 2015