Summer gets all the glory when it comes to vacations, but, in a lot of ways, fall is really the best time to get away. Most kids are in school, which means there are fewer families traveling and fewer crowds to deal with at popular attractions. Fall is considered off-season at a lot of places, which means you get lower rates on hotels, attractions, and even flights. Take a trip that goes against the grain by exploring a place you've never considered traveling to before. Here are some under-the-radar destinations that make for the perfect fall trip:
Patagonia is known for having some of the largest glaciers in the world. People tend to flock to Patagonia during the Northern Hemisphere's summer months, when American schools are out and European businesses are on holiday. Avoid the rush by heading there in the fall instead.
You'll enjoy more than just lower rates and fewer crowds by going to Patagonia from September–December. You'll be heading into Chile's spring season, which means the snow will be melting, the sun will be out for longer, and there will be more wildlife up and about. Be sure to check out Torres del Paine national park, where you can see the glaciers up close and take guided tours. You'll want to be in shape since even a one-day trek can take nine hours. It's worth it for the breathtaking, one-of-a-kind views, though.
If you're looking for a European destination that's different from the typical London/Paris/Rome tour, consider a trip to Estonia. The capital of this under-the-radar country, Tallinn, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It looks like something directly out of a fairytale, with medieval castles and Gothic architecture on every corner. In fact, the 13th-century cobblestone streets of Old Town are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you want the added romance of snowfall on an old medieval town, along with some of the world's most underrated skiing, travel in late fall or early winter. It starts snowing around November. If you want to have some warmer weather, then early fall is your best bet. In September you'll get to experience the leaves changing colors along with traditional fall weather. Temperatures range from lows in the 40s to highs in the low 60s in September.
Luang Prabang, Laos
If you love waterfalls and a slower-paced vacation, you'll want to put Luang Prabang in Laos on your list of places to visit in the fall. This beautiful city is tucked in the northern part of Laos. The main attraction is the Kuang Si Falls, located about 18 miles south of the city. This waterfall is like something you'd see in a movie as water rushes from three stories of lush jungle into a clear blue pool of water surrounded by tiered limestone rocks.
Laos, in general, is a very affordable Asian country, and it's small enough that you can stay in several cities throughout your vacation if you want. Luang Prabang tends to be rainier than the rest of the country. However, showers tend to be brief and won't get in the way too much of your vacation. Laos is landlocked, which means its climate is relatively predictable and stable. Plan on visiting in October or November for less rainfall and comfortable temperatures.
Tasmania is making a name for itself as a destination for adventure-seekers and nature lovers. As a small, compact island, you can easily see a range of environments from one day to the next. The island has grasslands, coastal sands, alpine ranges, wetlands, and temperate rainforests. Because of its location in the southern hemisphere, when you visit the isolated island of Tasmania during North American fall months you'll be seeing the island during its spring. The peak tourist season is summer, which happens from about November–March.
If you visit Tasmania in early North American fall (September or early October), you'll be at the end of their winter and might still have some snow on the ground. If you're into rafting, October is usually a good time to visit, since the water is high and temperatures are warming up. If you are really looking for some hot weather, plan your trip for late fall. Just plan on having additional crowds if you book in November.