Fall Shoulder Season Report

Fall flight prices drop 30% from peak summer months for September and October trips

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Hayley Berg - Tue Sep 12 2023

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Travelers looking to get in one final getaway before the holiday season are in luck, prices for trips early this fall are -29% lower than fares this summer! 

Airfare for Fall -29% from Summer 2023 Peak

Airfare for domestic trips in September and October is averaging $211 per ticket, down -29% from average prices for trips in peak summer months (June, July, August). Fall fares are down -9% from last year and -10% from 2019 prices. 

Fares to top international destinations drop in the fall as well, with prices to Europe down 31% from summer peaks, nearly $330 off ticket prices. 


Hotel accommodations have also seen some price improvement, with average rates down 5% from summer peaks headed into this fall. Rates for September stays are averaging $196 per night nationally, but stays in some top markets have dropped even further. Rates in Orlando are down 10% from earlier this summer, while rates to San Diego have dropped 20% in the last month! Not all cities and dates have seen price drops compared to summer, especially in cities where big events are taking place and business travel picks back up after a slower summer. For example, rates in New York City are higher than earlier this summer as a result of the US Open being hosted in the first two weeks of September. Houston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. have all seen rates rise ~14% compared to earlier this summer as fall kicks off. 

Rental Car Prices

Fall is a great time to get out and drive! Rental car prices for fall are averaging $40 per day, down 5% from summer and a great value compared to prices in the last few years. Gas prices today are averaging $3.81 per gallon, down 1.4% from the last week in August 2022. Though gas prices have creeped up slowly in the last few months, they remain significantly lower than the price peak earlier last summer, which saw gas prices above $6 per gallon for a few weeks in some areas of the country. 

Why are there such great prices for Fall getaways?

Most Americans fit vacations into the peak summer months, traveling in June, July or August when schools are out and work schedules can be more flexible. Along with the cooler weather in September comes ‘back to school’ season and an annual slowdown in demand for travel, what the industry calls the “shoulder season.” In an effort to incentivize travelers to book trips in early fall, airlines will drop prices to encourage travelers to schedule one more trip before the busy holiday season begins. This means travelers who plan anything from a weekend getaway to a bucket list vacation will enjoy significantly lower prices in September/October compared to peak summer months. 

Why are September and October the best time of the year for a bucket list trip to Europe?

Americans often dream of bucket list vacations to European cities like London, Paris, Rome, Athens and more. September and October are the perfect time to take those bucket list vacations and stretch your travel budget even further. Airfare to Europe this summer averaged just over $1,000 per ticket, with fares to popular destinations reaching over $1,400 per ticket on peak dates. Today, fares for a trip in September or October are averaging just $738, realizing $330 per ticket in savings to those who book now instead of for summer dates. 

The weather in most European countries remains sunny and warm during the early parts of fall, offering many of the same attractions and experiences that you might enjoy in June, July or August. But the best part about a bucket list trip in early fall? You’ll avoid all the crowds! Most Americans travel to Europe in peak summer, and most of Europe is on vacation in August. This means tourist destinations, beaches, restaurants and the like will be significantly less crowded during early fall as all of the other travelers head back to work and school. 

European Destinations with the biggest price drops for Fall

Price Drops for Most Popular Destinations

Some of the most popular destinations for Summer 2023 travel have seen price drops over 25% as we head into fall. Today, airfare to London is averaging $677 for September - early November departures, down 35% or $364 per ticket from this summer. Fares to Paris have dropped nearly $500 per ticket, down 41% to $684 per ticket. 

Domestic travelers headed to New York City will pay under $200 for trips this fall, down -34% compared to this summer. Prices to Los Angeles (-$119/ticket vs summer) Orlando (-$63/ticket vs summer) and Dallas (-$87/ticket vs summer)  have all dropped by more than 30% compared to this summer. 

Price Drops for Most Popular Destinations

Best Fall Travel Deals

For travelers flexible on destinations for fall, check out these destinations with the largest price drops compared to summer 2023 airfare. 

Domestic Destinations with the biggest price drops for Fall

Mexico, Central America & Caribbean Destinations with the biggest price drops for Fall

Asia Destinations with the biggest price drops for Fall

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