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new england mill fall autumnEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Fall has arrived, and so has this year’s crop of shoulder-season travel deals. Especially ripe for the picking is AirTran’s latest three-day sale, which launched this morning with fares as low as $43 each way. The airline is offering reduced-rate flights to destinations all over the U.S. as well as to Aruba, Bermuda, Mexico, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

Travel is good between October 7 and December 14 — ideal dates for catching some fall foliage or booking a tropical getaway before the busy winter season. The cheapest domestic flights we saw were between Boston and Baltimore ($43 in either direction), while you can escape the continental U.S. to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from as little as $69 each way (from Tampa).

Eight Unique Ways to Experience Fall

The Catch: The lowest sale fares are only available for domestic travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; on any other day of the week you’ll have to pay peak prices. Fortunately, travel dates for international itineraries are a little less restrictive: You can fly Monday through Friday. And of course, sale fares are unavailable on the most convenient Thanksgiving travel dates (November 22 – 23 and 26 – 28).

The Competition: Southwest Airlines is offering a similar three-day sale with matching fares on competing routes. Southwest doesn’t fly to any international destinations, but it’s worth checking out this deal if you’re flying within the States, as the airline covers some cities and itineraries that AirTran doesn’t.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

– written by Sarah Schlichter

paris winterEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Fall’s first day is Friday, but travelers mourning the end of summer can take comfort in knowing that super-cheap winter flights are a-comin’. Scratch that — they’re here already. Aer Lingus, the Irish discount airline, has just rolled out an expansive low-season Europe sale featuring tickets as cheap as $227 each way plus taxes and fees. Travel is valid this winter, from November through March.

Book early for your winter trip and you’ll snag low fares — but you’ll also have plenty of flight options from which to choose. We did some digging and found low-priced tickets available on a wide range of Aer Lingus transatlantic flights. For example, a quick search for discounted flights departing on November 23 turned up 16 departures throughout the day, each for $233 each way or less. The cheapest total price we unearthed, for a flight from New York to London in November, totaled $691.76 including all taxes and fees.

The Catch: Be choosy about your European destination when planning a winter trip. Some places in Europe — the ones with skiing, Christmas markets or dog sledding — make for spectacular cold-weather travel. Other European cities and towns basically shut down when the tourist season ends.

The Competition: Fall and early winter flights to Europe are currently on sale from Icelandair, with fares starting at $489 roundtrip plus taxes and fees. However, the very cheapest fares are only available on a few dates in October.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

 Glacier National Park If you’re traveling domestically within the next four months, take heed. Now might be the best time to book your flight.

A cluster of U.S. carriers have rolled out rival fare sales, offering fall plane tickets starting at $39 each way. Which airline wins the war? It depends where you’re flying. Travel dates vary by sale, as do prices for select routes. Run your itinerary through multiple airline sites and book what works best for you. Don’t forget to factor in those checked bag fees. (See Airline Baggage Fees for the scoop on your carrier.) Here’s what’s on sale:

JetBlue: Select domestic routes are on sale with fares starting at $39 each way plus taxes. Travel is valid in September through early November, and a two-week advance purchase is required.

Southwest: This three-day sale features fares from $39 each way before taxes for travel between September and mid-December. Southwest, we must add, has a pretty decent baggage policy. Passengers may check up to two bags for free.

American Airlines: American’s offering $39 fall fares on select routes (taxes are additional). Travel dates stretch from now through mid-December. A two-week advance purchase is required.

AirTran Airways: AirTran isn’t offering that golden $39 fare, but the airline’s systemwide sale features a wide range of discounted routes and some competitive prices. Travel is valid on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from late August through mid-December. Additionally, AirTran’s sale includes cut-rate fares to destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoToday is August 1, which means two things: Your rent is due, and it’s Colorado’s birthday. One hundred thirty-five years ago today, President Grant, er, granted statehood to Colorado. (It’s known as the Centennial State because it joined the union roughly a month after the 100-year anniversary of the U.S.)

A fan of Celestial Seasonings Tea, Denver microbrews and Rocky Mountain skiing, I’m planning to crack open a Coors and eat an extra portion of frozen dessert today in celebration of this momentous occasion. (I think rocky road ice cream would be appropriate.) But I’m not the only one observing Colorado’s big day. A few airlines have rolled out Colorado fare sales with a nod to the state’s anniversary, and some surprisingly cheap flights are on offer. Here’s what’s on sale:

- Southwest Airlines is running a one-day Colorado sale, with discounted fares between select U.S. gateways and Denver. Fares start at $24 each way plus taxes and fees and are valid for travel in September and November. This sale expires today, so travelers looking to book shouldn’t wait.

- We’re practically drooling over these next-to-nothing Colorado Day fares from Frontier Airlines, which start at just $9.99 each way plus taxes and fees. Travel dates are pretty wide-ranging, too. You can fly through mid-December, but you’ll get the lowest prices by traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

To find more discounted plane tickets, see our Airfare Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

French PolynesiaEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Air Tahiti Nui is currently offering discounted fares from the West Coast to Papeete for as little as $980 roundtrip plus taxes and fees — a savings of 30 percent. The extra fees generally amount to just $92.60 roundtrip, bringing your total lowest possible roundtrip fare to $1,072.60. But, as this is an early-bird sale, travel isn’t valid until this fall, between November 1 and December 14.

Tahiti’s wet season starts in November and lasts through April, so if you take advantage of this deal you’ll be hitting the islands during low season. But not to worry — Tahiti’s like Hawaii. There’s not really a bad time to visit. Conditions will likely be humid and occasionally rainy, but crowds will be fewer and you’ll have a better shot at snapping up the more sought-after hotel rooms.

The Catch: Your tickets must be booked a whopping 120 days in advance, which shaves some time off that November 1 to December 14 travel period. According to my calculations, November 23 is 120 days from today’s date. The longer you wait before booking, the smaller your window of available travel dates becomes.

The Competition: We haven’t spotted a published fare from another airline that beats this price. But Air Tahiti Nui is offering another similar deal with a wider range of travel dates: fly from Los Angeles to Tahiti for just $965 roundtrip plus taxes and fees from November through May (with the exception of some blackout dates). The catch? Your trip must be quick. Travelers who book this deal may stay in Tahiti for no longer than five nights.

– written by Caroline Costello

Washington D.C.Every Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: For just 48 hours, JetBlue is slashing prices on fall fares to destinations in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Discounted flights start at $29 each way plus taxes and fees, and travel is valid between September 6 and November 16, with the exception of some blackout dates and day-of-week travel restrictions. Prices for select routes are rather competitive. For example, you can fly between Los Angeles and New York for $159 each way, between Chicago and Boston for $52 each way, and between Orlando and Washington D.C. for $74 each way.

The airline is touting this deal as “The Fall Shipping & Handling Sale,” advertising free first checked bags for JetBlue passengers. While a complimentary first checked bag isn’t particular to this sale (it’s simply JetBlue’s policy), it’ll save you as much as $25 each way when compared to what many of the major carriers charge for checked luggage.

The Catch: Travelers looking to cash in on this sale will have to think ahead and act fast. This offer expires at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time tomorrow, and travel isn’t valid until the beginning of September. Additionally, there’s a web of day-of-week travel restrictions that apply to select destinations, so be sure to keep an eye on the fine print when booking.

The Competition: AirTran Airways just announced this systemwide sale featuring fares to destinations in the U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico starting at $54 each way plus taxes and fees. JetBlue beats AirTran’s prices on many routes, but AirTran offers a wider range of travel dates (fly from the end of July through mid-November) plus a healthy selection of cut-rate fares to Caribbean gateways.

– written by Caroline Costello

Now may be the best time to book your summer flight across the pond. Airfarewatchdog reports a recent drop in fares from the U.S. to Europe. According to the fare-tracking site’s blog, “If you’re planning on spending a month in Europe, the sweet spot this summer is, for some unknown reason, departing on July 18 and returning August 17. That’s when the lowest fares are available in general, for summer travel. Some of these fares are as low as $500 round-trip with tax. That’s amazing for peak summer travel, but only specific dates are available.”

We’re delighted to see that summer fares to Europe are hovering in the $500 roundtrip range — an impressive price for travel during the Continent’s most popular tourist season. Of course, you could always snap up even lower fares by jetting to your Italian chalet — or hostel with shared bathroom — in fall, spring or winter. But you’ll be missing one of the best reasons to see Europe in summer: the gorgeous, heavenly weather. Summer’s sunny blue skies and warm breezes make beautiful European landscapes all the more lovely. Let’s face it. If you want to see this, you’re going to have to sign up for a summer flight:

venice



norway



Palma Cathedral, Spain



portofino



Now, are you aching to pack your bags? Good. Because we’ve unearthed a bunch of wallet-friendly fares from the U.S. to Europe that make summer travel as cheap as an Anthony Weiner joke.

-British Airways is selling flights to London for as little as $552 roundtrip plus taxes and fees. Granted, the lowest prices — like that $552 ticket — are for fall travel. But we found fares as cheap as $598 roundtrip for flights departing in August.

-American Airlines fares to Europe are on sale starting at $284 each way plus taxes and fees for travel from mid-August through the fall. Destinations include London, Paris, Manchester, Milan and Helsinki.

-Lufthansa‘s Europe and Africa fare sale features discounted flights to a wide variety of destinations from Accra to Zurich. Fares start at $322 each way for travel in late August.

-Air France flights to cities like Paris, Pisa, Barcelona, Rome and Madrid are on sale for as little as $328 each way for travel in July. And, as with all Air France flights, you can add a stopover in Paris for free.

-Check Continental Airlines for low-priced flights to Europe in August and September. The airline offers a useful rate calendar that helps visual learners plan the least expensive itinerary.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

Editor’s Note: IndependentTraveler.com is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Airfarewatchdog.com.

– written by Caroline Costello

New York central park Every Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Sometimes it pays to book a few months in advance — especially when an early-bird sale like this three-day Southwest deal comes along. Plan ahead and enjoy significant savings on late-summer and fall travel with this domestic fare sale. More than 1,000 discounted routes between U.S. cities are featured in this offer, including cut-rate flights to popular vacation destinations like Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Orlando and more. Fares start at $29 each way plus taxes and fees — and don’t forget that Southwest allows passengers to check up to two bags free of charge.

To be clear, only one route is priced at $29 each way: Birmingham to/from Louisville. But bunches of affordable $39, $49 and $54 fares (and up) are on offer for a nice variety of domestic routes.

The Catch: This deal’s distant travel dates are probably its biggest drawback. You’ve got to book by Thursday, June 9, but travel is valid from late August through mid-November. And, as is the case with most airfare sales, these tickets are nonrefundable.

The Competition: AirTran has initiated a similar 72-hour sale, which features fares starting at $54 each way plus taxes and fees. AirTran’s current sale includes international fares to destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico, while Southwest is selling discounted tickets to U.S. destinations only. AirTran’s limited weekly travel dates (to get the cheapest fares, you have to travel on Tuesdays or Wednesdays) are a drag. But AirTran beats Southwest’s prices on select routes, so be sure to check both sites before booking your flight.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

Brussels Every Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Fares to Europe are creeping up along with summer temperatures. A recent search on Kayak.com showed June flights from New York to London topping out at just under $1,000 roundtrip (including taxes and fees). So when we spotted this American Airlines Europe deal, we caught our breath. Less than $300 each way for a flight from New York to Barcelona? San Francisco to London for $339 each way? Sign us up!

This American Airlines late-spring Europe sale is on through May 22, and features discounted flights from select U.S. cities to a variety of European destinations for travel through the end of June. The cheapest total fare we found — including all taxes and fees — was $625.80 roundtrip for an early-June trip from New York to Barcelona. Not too shabby.

The Catch: The lowest fares are valid for travel on weekdays only. You’ll get the cheapest flights by traveling from Monday through Thursday. In addition, a Saturday-night stay is required.

The Competition: Really, there’s not much competition here. These American Airlines fares are some of the most affordable transatlantic June flights we’ve seen this year. But if you’d like to investigate further, Air France and United are also running spring/summer Europe sales, with fares hovering near $900 roundtrip.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

Orlando, Florida Every Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: The clock is ticking, and travelers have just one day to book cut-rate spring flights from JetBlue. Fares to destinations including Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, San Francisco, New Orleans, Washington D.C., New York, Boston and other popular places are on sale starting at $39 each way plus taxes and fees.

For most city pairs, travel is valid on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only in May and June (exceptions apply for select flights). All in all, 39 bucks is a fantastic price for a spring flight, and this deal features an impressive selection of departure and destination cities across the U.S., with a few Caribbean and Mexican gateways thrown in as well.

The Catch: Of course, the big catch is that one-day time limit. This deal turns into a pumpkin at 11:59 Eastern Time today (May 3). We’ve seen JetBlue one-day deals sell out hours before the official expiration date, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The Competition: Fellow discounter Southwest is matching some of JetBlue’s routes with its newly released three-day fare sale. While Southwest provides travelers with more time to book, the airline flies to U.S. gateways only and isn’t offering discounted fares to Mexico or the Caribbean.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello