We're just as sad as anyone that summer is coming to an end, but look on the bright side: Travelers can score big savings after Labor Day, when off- or shoulder-season rates kick in, and crowds head out, at many popular destinations. The experts at ShermansTravel.com have uncovered four great off-season travel bargains to extend your summer fun into fall. For more travel deals, sign up for ShermansTravel's free Top 25 newsletter.
St. Lucia photo courtesy Flickr/Le Gallerie, Saint Lucia
While many Americans might be drawn to Jamaica for a mid-winter or spring break, fall and early winter are ideal for snapping up deals. True, the rainy season lasts through November, but the showers are blissfully short. Travel to Kingston October 11-15 for the Commonwealth Creative and Performing Arts Festival, a showcase of visual, performing, and culinary arts.
2. Puerto Rico
Heat and humidity can be oppressive and this is prime hurricane season, but you'll find hotel bargains, especially heading into September. Rain, always a factor in Puerto Rico's mountains, peaks in San Juan from May through October with afternoon showers, usually short in duration. To see how coffee beans go from field to Frappuccino, visit the coffee plantation Hacienda Pomarrosa during their September to December harvest season.
3. St. Lucia
Morgan Bay Beach Resort
The greenest of all the Caribbean islands, much of St. Lucia's interior is covered in lush tropical rain forests, while the coastline offers serene bay beaches. Hurricane season brings sporadic tropical storms and higher temperatures and humidity. From August to November some restaurants close for weeks at a time or shorten their dining hours, so be sure to inquire before you go.
Visiting Walt Disney World or Universal Studios right after the summer school break alleviates the crowding issue somewhat and hotel prices dip, but temperatures can still be quite toasty. Because few families visit right after Labor Day, park attractions are remarkably free of long lines. Added bonus: Some events and theme park buffets cost less when the parks are emptier.
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