8 budget-friendly places to visit this fall

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When the weather starts cooling off, the last thing some people think of is vacation, instead focusing on getting kids back to school or ramping up for a busy work season. However, fewer crowds, comfortable temperatures and a serious drop in prices might convince you to shuffle around your schedule a bit.

For many popular destinations, spring and fall are known as the "shoulder seasons," where the crowds thin out and visitors can take advantage of affordable lodging, cheaper airfare and special events. With kids back in school, this is an especially great time for couples or retirees looking for a quieter, less crowded visit. On the other hand, if your kids are young or have a flexible schedule that allows a short time away from school, it can be the perfect time for families to travel on the cheap.

These are a few of the top budget-friendly travel destinations for fall:

Chicago

In winter, the extreme winds and cold make walking through Chicago less than pleasant, and the city's peak season of summer, you are almost guaranteed an expensive and crowded stay. That's why September and October are ideal times to visit this Midwestern city. Temperatures are still warm and comfortable in early fall, and you can enjoy cheaper flights and affordable hotel stays. Just be cautious that the Chicago Marathon is scheduled for October, so you may want to consider that before planning a trip.

Savannah

Avoid the stifling hot temperatures of Georgia in summer and plan a visit to Savannah in the fall. This city is rich in history and culture, and during the fall months there is an added bonus of festivals throughout. September hosts the Jazz Festival; you can enjoy a Film Festival in October or stay in November for the Taste of Savannah or the Harbor Boat Parade of Lights. Take advantage of the area's many charming bed and breakfast inns at a lower rate.

Las Vegas

If you always wanted to visit the world famous City of Lights but were driven away by desert temperatures and premium prices, consider a trip in early fall. You can enjoy cheap hotel stays and airfare or get a package deal for even more savings. Later in the year around the holiday season and New Year's Eve prices go up again, so September and October are ideal for both comfortable temperatures and affordable prices.

Western Massachusetts

New England is an amazing destination in fall to take in the colors of the changing leaves; however, the crowds, traffic and higher rates of some of the region's more popular areas are enough to drive anyone away. Consider instead a trip to western Massachusetts, where you can take in beautiful scenery on a hike or drive through the Berkshires, or visit the area's many museums. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Grandma Moses collections and the Norman Rockwell Museum are just a few. Peak foliage occurs in early October.

Caribbean Islands

If you're not quite ready for summer to end, many destinations in the Caribbean offer great deals to drum up more visitors in the fall. Destinations such as the Dominican Republic or the Bahamas experience a "hurricane season" in late summer and early fall. It's important to research the area you'd like to visit to see what kind of weather they might predict, and the risks involved. But quite often you can enjoy a great package deal at an all-inclusive resort during this time, and in late October and November the threat of poor weather is at a much lower risk.

Cruises

If you enjoy cruises, take advantage of the "repositioning" trips boats need to take in late fall and early winter. Before the busy winter cruise season, boats often need to relocate from one port to another – and travelers can book one of these trips at a lower price and still enjoy a great vacation. Not to mention most kids are in school, so this is a nice time for honeymoons or couples looking for a quieter experience.

Ireland

Head across the pond to Ireland this fall and there's not much you can't find: Plenty of culture and history, comfortable temperatures, beautiful scenery and all for affordable hotel and airfare package deals, even in Dublin.

Here's to enjoying a relaxing and fulfilling vacation this fall!

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report


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8 budget-friendly places to visit this fall

10. Miami, Florida

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9. Seattle, Washington

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8. Sacramento, California

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7. Portland, Oregon 

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6. Boston, Massachusetts

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5. New York City, New York

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4. San Jose, California

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3. San Francisco, California

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2. Los Angeles, California

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1. San Diego, California

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