Shoulder season steals on airfare and hotel rates

Airline counter
Airline counter

Anyone who took a vacation this summer knows that airfares are rising, even as carriers stubbornly refuse to add any flights to their schedules to ease congestion on board.

But travelers can typically get the most bang for their buck during shoulder season -- that period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving -- when ticket prices and hotel rates drop markedly as kids return to school and parents knuckle down at the office.