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Fall Vacation Ideas for 2018: Best Deals and Travel Tips

Fall vacations offer mild weather, less crowds, and cheaper prices. Skip the busier summer travel season and take advantage of affordable flights, vacations, hotels, and cruises with travel dates between September and November. Whether you're looking for a cheap Europe trip, a Caribbean cruise, cheap flights across the U.S., or something in between, we've got you covered with great deals to many destinations. 

Browse our top travel deals for your fall vacation:

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When should I book my fall vacation?

When it comes to booking your fall vacation, you'll almost always do better to book ahead of time, but not too far ahead. When to book also depends on how far you're traveling—while the best range for booking domestic flights, deals, and hotels is probably around 2-3 months, for trips abroad you may want to book as far as 5-6 months in advance, particularly to destinations that are popular in the fall. 

Fall Foliage: Colorful Fall Vacations in the US and Abroad

Nature lovers rejoice, because fall is your season. The air is cool and crisp, the cities and trails that are normally packed in the summer are clearing out, and the leaves are starting to change. Whether you're touring the dense forests of the Northeast or walking the tree-lined canals of European cities, you can experience a kaleidoscope of color on a fall vacation in the US and abroad. We've outlined some of our favorite destinations for leaf peeping around the world here:

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Fall Vacation in Vermont

In the summer, Vermont draws families in with trips to the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory and lazy days at the lakes. In the winter, sports enthusiasts grab their skis and snowboards and hit the slopes. In the spring, wildflowers bloom in fields and on mountainsides, encouraging hikers to stop and smell the roses. But fall is where Vermont truly shines: the vivid reds, fiery oranges, and dazzling yellows of the foliage against cool gray-blue autumn skies make your natural surroundings feel like a work of art. Drive through the winding back roads of small towns, kayak out onto tree-lined lakes, or hike through the mountains to take in the leaves up close. 

Fall Vacation in Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, just a short drive from Charlotte, Nashville, and Atlanta, is ideal for a weekend getaway, particularly for families with children. With proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, and a handful of other lush parks and national forests, Asheville offers a perfect blend of city and nature. While you can while away the evenings moving between the cozy bars and restaurants of the city, the day can be spent enjoying a long trail hike or looping along mountain roads on one of the many nearby scenic drives.  Kids will love apple-picking at a local orchard, and adults will enjoy a brewery tour at one of several craft breweries in town.  

Fall Vacation in Amsterdam

The canals of Amsterdam are renowned for their beauty, and millions of tourists arrive each year to stroll by the water. Photo buffs will love the fantastic backdrops, as the visitors on foot and the Dutch on their bikes criss-cross on the busy city streets. Stop in at a cozy cafe for a coffee and a stroopwafel and take in the brilliant hues through the window. 

Fall Vacation in Denali, Alaska

Summer may be the most popular season to visit Denali National Park, but there are plenty of great reasons to travel in the fall. The stark white backdrop of the snow-capped mountains with the gradients of red, orange, and yellow highlight the awe-inspiring natural beauty of this park . Although services are more limited in the fall, you can still hike on many of the trails leading from the visitor center. Drive up to Teklanika River before sunset for an unforgettable visual display as the warm light of the setting sun enhances the color of the surrounding foliage and sets the river aglow. After dark, stick around for a chance to see the aurora borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights. 

Fall Vacation in Iceland

With many airlines offering cheap flights to Iceland (sometimes as little as $160 return), there's even more incentive to travel to breathtaking Iceland. Well-known to nature lovers for its impressive waterfalls, volcanoes, and hot springs, Iceland is a country thats full of contrasts—the heat of the springs and the biting cold of the air, the rich red hues of the lava flows and the startling arctic blues of the lagoons, the ever-rushing waters of the falls and the unyielding cylindrical rock columns. These contrasts are heightened in fall, when many tourists have fled for warmer climes, but also when the island gets injected with a shot of color. You'll appreciate the foliage best at the waterfalls, where the multi-colored leaves and brush frame the free-flowing water.  

Fall Vacation in Kyoto

While many people head to Japan in the spring to see the famous cherry blossoms, fall in Kyoto offers a visual display that is equally impressive. Take in the contrast of the clean lines and dark accents of the city's temples and the mismatched splashes of color from the surrounding trees. Step across the many small bridges scattered throughout the city, where you can admire swirls of color in the water below as trees shed their leaves. Highly recommended for a day trip is the Seiryu-ji Tokugen-in Temple (shown above) about an hour and a half outside the city by train or car. The blanket of superbright red leaves underfoot will leave you feeling like you're on a totally different planet.

More inspiration and cheap travel deals for your fall vacation: