SmarterTravel.com has released the top five U.S. off-peak destinations for this fall: Barbados, Jamaica, Panama, Sarasota and Taos. As a proponent of traveling to destinations during the off-season, SmarterTravel advises consumers to watch for reduced airfares and hotel rates, which will be sure to please penny-pinching travelers.
Whether traveling in the U.S. or abroad, SmarterTravel’s article, “Top Five Off-Peak Destinations for Fall 2006,” offers suggestions for making the most of travel during the fall season.
“Not only is fall a great time to get away, prolonging that summer travel feeling a few more weeks, but many hotels and airlines offer deep discounts and incentives to fill up empty rooms and seats,” said Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com. “These savings offer an opportunity for travelers to get away from the fall stresses—back to school, longer work hours—without spending a lot of money.”
SmarterTravel’s top five off-peak destinations are:
—Barbados. Known as “Little England,” Barbados offers miles of beaches on the island’s tranquil Caribbean and wilder Atlantic coasts. Coral reefs surround Barbados, making water sports, like snorkeling, diving, and “snuba” (a mix of the two), a popular pursuit. A short flight from Miami, the island is served by several U.S. carriers, including American, Delta and US Airways. During the off-peak fall season, travelers can save up to $58 per night at popular Barbados hotels, such as The New Edgewater and Coral Mist Beach Hotel.
—Jamaica. As one the most affordable Caribbean islands, fall is an especially economical time to visit. Visitors can expect to find big savings on airfare and accommodations, as well as pleasant weather, picture-perfect beaches, famous sunsets and sprawling resorts, particularly in Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios. This year, travelers can find savings on airfare, accommodations and bundled packages—and can save as much as $390.
—Panama. One of Central America’s up-and-coming destinations, Panama offers plenty of adventure and eco-tourism travel opportunities with major tourist attractions, such as the Panama Canal. Panama also has a host of outdoor activities in its 14 national parks, ranging from bird watching to whitewater rafting, hiking and horseback riding. In the Boquete area of Panama, travelers can indulge their caffeine habits; several coffee farms offer tours and tastings of the local treasure. A comparison of high- and low-season accommodations shows that travelers can save up to $60 per night by traveling during the fall.
—Sarasota, Florida. Located between Ft. Myers and Tampa on Florida’s west coast, Sarasota offers year-round summer weather. Fall is particularly pleasant time, with plenty of activities and events to keep travelers busy before the crowds of the winter high season descend. Besides hitting the beach, visitors can look forward to golfing (Florida’s first golf course is in Sarasota), hiking, bird watching, camping at the area’s two state parks and visiting botanical or jungle gardens. Known as Florida’s cultural coast, Sarasota has dozens of galleries, an art museum, and 10 theaters, and is home to a professional ballet troupe, a symphony and an opera. Savvy travelers visiting Sarasota this fall can expect savings of up to $50 on airfares.
—Taos, New Mexico. Taos is a busy destination year-round. While winter draws skiers and snowboarders, and summer is popular for river rafting, hiking, and strolling through the town’s art galleries, fall is also a particularly appealing time to visit. The autumn shoulder season brings eye- popping fall foliage to the Taos Ski Valley, the mild weather is perfect for outdoor adventure, and the area offers an array of seasonal events. Taos has dozens of B&Bs, many of which offer fall discounts. Other, larger properties keep the same rates year-round, sometimes well under $100 per night, while still others raise prices only around the December holidays. By traveling in Taos’ shoulder season, travelers can expect savings of up to $50 per night.