September Savings: Why the Off-Season May be the Best Time for a Vacay

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Click image above to zoom in for savings.

Summer’s endless possibilities have ended, school is back in session, and vacations have come to their conclusion.

Or have they? Because so many people travel to exotic destinations during the summer months, airlines face a huge drop in demand from August to September—and flight prices drop as a result.

In travel industry jargon, this period between peak and off-peak seasons is known as the “shoulder season.” So while September is still a great time to visit many vacation destinations (the weather hasn’t changed that much), you can actually get better prices because you’ve just missed peak season.

To determine which locations offered the biggest shoulder season savings, Hipmunk decided to examine the booking prices for flights to popular destinations this September and compare them to the prices in August, at the end of the summer.

Depending on the destination, you can save huge amounts of money on your flight simply by delaying your travel plans for a month:

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.16.46 AMThe biggest savings during September’s shoulder season are found at exotic island destinations like Fiji, Tahiti, and the Bahamas, where airfare drops 13-29 percent from August to September.

Europhiles can also save quite a bit of money across the pond in September, where travel to cities like Rome, Milan, Paris, and Barcelona is 11-26 percent less expensive.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Southern Hemisphere is actually more expensive to travel to in September than in August because our summer is their winter. For example, when visiting Australia or Argentina, September is closer to their peak season than August is, and because of this, flight prices are higher.

Places closer to the equator, like Mexico, also tend to be more expensive in September—likely due to the fact that summers there are extremely hot but become more comfortable (and desirable) during the cooler seasons.

Even still, if the weather is great in August, there’s a high chance it’s going to be really nice in September as well. But just to make sure, let’s look at the average daily high temperature in each of these cities, by month:

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.20.46 AMSure, things do cool off a bit in Europe in the fall. But for the most part, there is very little variation in temperatures from August to September. If you’re planning vacation, traveling in September is an excellent bet: you get all the wonderful weather of August, but because there is less demand, you get a better price.

Methodology: The table above shows the average price that Hipmunk customers (who booked in the last three months) got on their flights this September versus August.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on Sept. 9th.

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