If you haven't taken your summer vacation yet, don't worry. Aside from being cheaper, fall travel can actually be a more pleasant way to spend your vacation days, depending on where you go.
"A lot of people tend to plan trips in the fall, because they know that prices come down after the summer," says Jesse Saba, a travel adviser at STA Travel in Manhattan. "This fall, people are traveling to places in Europe, like Rome, that they avoided in high season due to price and crowds." In Italy, the summer weather can linger into October, at which point the crowds mobbing the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum are long gone.
Getting there is also much cheaper after Labor Day weekend, when airlines like Delta Air Lines (nyse: DAL - news - people ) and American Airlines traditionally drop their fares--sometimes by as much as 60%. Saba says that a Delta fare to Rome from New York City, which costs $1,075 through Sept. 6, has now dropped to $430 (not including taxes). And if your travel dates are flexible, you could save even more: The same fare is going for $360 in November. Just try to avoid Thanksgiving weekend, when high demand kicks fares back up again. The same logic applies to major cities the world over, including London, Paris and Hong Kong: Fall is a good time to go, when the crowds have died down, and the weather is more temperate (Hong Kong's dreaded summer heat, for example, is gone by October).
For anyone living in Europe, autumn also makes sense as a time to visit the U.S. Big cities, like New York and Chicago, are up and running after the summer lull. Picturesque destinations, such as South Carolina, are cooling off, and Vermont and the rest of New England is perched on the edge of its glorious fall foliage season. Packages to Las Vegas, including hotel and airfare, are much cheaper starting in October, when vacationers pack up for the summer. A four-night package at any major hotel in Vegas in July, originating from New York or another primary hub and including round-trip airfare, costs $550, minimum. In September, the package price drops to $350.
Finally, Sapa recommends Montreal as a particularly nice destination for fall travel, easily accessible via train from many major U.S. cities for under $150 round trip. "The good thing about the fall is it only gets better from here fare-wise," he says. "Prices go down once in mid-September, and they drop to the lowest points of the year in November," with hotels offering similar promotional deals just to reach half-capacity.
Slideshow: Autumn’s awesome rainbow Forbes.com has compiled a list of the best fall destinations, complete with hotel recommendations, whether you're in the States and looking to escape or considering a visit from abroad. We've included five new hotels worth checking out and five classic favorites.
So what are you waiting for? Those fall fares will only last until November.
© 2012 Forbes.com