When school is back in session and your favorite restaurants begin serving pumpkin-spiced items, it may feel like the time to plan that perfect vacation has officially passed. The summer months are associated with so many amazing things — chilling by the pool, family beach days and grilling delicious foods, to name a few — that when August finally rolls around, we pack away our luggage and say goodbye to travel until next year.
But here’s a treat: Your adventures don’t have to end in August. In fact, the best time to hit the airport and travel to a dream location isn’t when summer’s in full swing, it’s when it’s winding down. September is the best month to explore a new city or book a trip to that remote island you’ve had on your bucket list for a number of reasons.
September is underrated partly because it allows you to avoid crowded summer travel. According to a recent American Automobile Association, or AAA, survey, more than 100 million Americans planned to take a family holiday in 2019, with 68 percent choosing to “embark on a summer getaway.”
This means that flight prices are most expensive in June and July, according to a study conducted by Hopper for MarketWatch. Additionally, CNN Business reported that popular airlines like American Airlines boosted the overall cost of their domestic flights for the summer months this year.
In comparison, September travelers get more bang for their buck and can enjoy the summer weather without the hassle. According to data collected by Skyscanner, domestic round-trip flights in the United States are at their second-lowest when booked in September, and international flights are 6 percent cheaper compared to the average yearly flight price. September is the perfect time to make the world yours. And if you’re hoping to save big on your trip, those coins saved by taking a cheap September flight can be used for smart budgeting.
Another perk of traveling in September is the weather. While the summer months do offer peak heat — July and August are often the months with the highest temperatures in the U.S. — September typically offers milder weather that isn’t on the brink of freezing or melting, which is great if you plan to visit a notoriously steamy vacation hot spot.
September is a great time to travel because most vacation spots have experienced their tourism peak and are winding down for the colder seasons. During the summer, Disneyland and Disney World are at their busiest and an overcrowded jumble with endless lines. In July, for example, Disneyland experiences heavy to average crowds, while September sees light to below-average crowds, according to the Disneyland Crowd Calendar. By the same token, beaches in summer are packed with city dwellers searching for the perfect spot to catch a tan, and college students are creating timeless memories in Cancun and Miami. By September, travelers are back at school or working their regular shifts, meaning you can enjoy beaches to yourself or cruise down the open road.
Booking a vacation shouldn’t be a hassle. And if you’re choosing to travel in September, it shouldn’t have to be expensive either. So whether you’re planning your honeymoon or a relaxing destination to visit after you retire, September is the best month to take an affordable, last-minute vacation.