The travel industry has three separate seasons - peak, shoulder, and low.
Shouldering some travel bargains
Peak season in Europe is summer; in the Caribbean it's winter; and Hawaii has two peak seasons: summer and winter. Take a trip during these times and you will encounter masses of people, long lines, and high-priced airfares and hotel rooms.
The shoulder season is the short period of time (approximately four to six weeks) that occurs just before or after peak season. It's also an excellent time to find real vacation bargains. The fall shoulder season, which generally runs between Sept. 15 and Oct. 31, can bring savings of 20 to 40 percent over peak season rates. Other advantages: The crowds are gone; airfares are low; and hotel rooms are plentiful.
With most schools opening in September, shoulder-season travel is difficult for families with children. But it's perfect for those without school-year obligations.
To take advantage of this slow travel time, call the airlines and hotels now to find out when their shoulder-season rates begin. Book as soon as you can; these bargains go quickly.
Savvy travelers know that the beaches of Hawaii and the Caribbean are just as beautiful in September as they are in June - perhaps even more beautiful with fewer people.
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