The Great Outdoors - Fall 2020 Outdoor Travel Guide

Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the outdoor adventures have to end.

Hayley Berg - Sep. 1, 2020

Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the outdoor adventures have to end also. With companies working remotely and many schools moving online, travelers may have more flexibility this fall, making it the perfect time to plan an outdoor, socially distanced getaway. 

According to Hopper’s latest airfare pricing data, domestic airfare pricing is at an all time low this fall, with round-trip domestic flights averaging $153, down 35% compared to the same time in 2019. For those comfortable traveling and looking to get away this fall, travelers can take advantage of great deals to outdoor destinations across the U.S.

Where to Go?

Top U.S Outdoor Destinations to Visit

As more and more travelers seek off-the-beaten-path destinations remote enough to provide safe social distancing, outdoor vacation destinations and national parks make the perfect setting for a fall getaway this year. The experts at Hopper have rounded up the best outdoor destinations and current good deals for travelers hoping to get away.

Table: Current round trip good deal price for a domestic flight into airports, with departure dates between September 1 - November 1, 2020,, compared to the same period in 2019.

Top National Parks to Visit

National Parks are typically hot summer destinations for travelers looking to explore some of North America’s most scenic and treasured landscapes. 

Table: Current round trip good deal price for a domestic flight into airports servicing national parks, with departure dates between September 1 -November 1, 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

Trending Outdoor Destinations (Most Searched for Fall 2020):

Table: Ranking of top National Park/Outdoor destinations based on percentage increase in share of demand from the US in the last 6 weeks compared to the previous year.

Make it a Fall “Flexcation” - Mix Work and Play:

With companies working remotely and many schools moving online, many travelers are taking advantage of more flexibility and are deciding to mix work and play. According to Hopper data, long weekends are trending up - with a higher proportion of travelers taking 3 day weekends Friday - Monday; Thursday-Sunday or the 4 day, Thursday to Monday weekend. Turn a fall getaway into a “Flexcation” and take advantage of flexible schedules and lower prices during the week.

Top “Flexcation” Booking Tips: 

  1. Check in to your hotel on a Sunday - In general, Sunday is the least expensive day of the week to start your stay at a hotel. Checking in on a Sunday can save travelers almost 20% off peak prices! With remote work and more flexible schedules, take advantage of cheaper room rates and consider checking in on a Sunday.

  2. Extend the weekend - With schools and work moving remotely for many Americans, travelers can now extend the weekend longer and consider working from their vacation destination to take advantage of cheaper rates. According to Hopper’s data, travelling Saturday to Monday is 10% cheaper than Friday to Monday for domestic flights. Saturday to Tuesday and Saturday to Wednesday are the cheapest round-trip flights for 4 and 5 day long weekends.

  3. Make it a road trip - Consider renting a car for your fall getaway. Renting a car is a great way to avoid public transit during COVID-19 and can make for a scenic way to travel to any outdoor vacation destination in the U.S. And make sure to shop around for the best deals. You can now book reduced priced rental cars directly on the Hopper app!

  4. Know the travel restrictions of your destination and your home state - Make sure you do your research in advance of booking any travel. You’ll want to get familiar with the travel restrictions in place for your destination as well as for returning to your home state. Also, be sure to choose a location that is a destination in itself, don't rely on restaurants or other public tourist attractions to spend your time. 

  5. Check cancellation & change policies - Make sure to check your airline or hotel’s cancellation and change policies. Many airlines are offering flexible dates and waiving cancellation and change policies due to COVID-19, so consumers will have more flexibility than ever when booking fall travel. 

  6. Add insurance in case plans change - In a recent Hopper survey, 36% of travelers said that the ability to change dates after booking will be the most important consideration the next time they book travel, and 27% cited the ability to cancel with minimal penalty. Take advantage of travel insurance offerings like Hopper’s Flexible Dates Plan, which allows travelers to change for any reason) and Refundable Ticket Plan, which allows travelers to cancel for any reason for peace of mind.

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