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Next Tuesday marks the first official day of fall. As we mentally prepare for the autumnal equinox and the many glorious accouterments that come along with it — pumpkin spice everything — we’re bringing you our suggestions for some of the best places to enjoy the brilliant colors abroad. Read on for our picks.

Tuscany, Italy: Tuscany is romantic enough on its own, but when you throw in jaw-dropping colors (mid-September and October) and the crisp chill of fall, it’s a great place for anyone hoping to relax — particularly with a nice glass of wine.

a wine glass and grapes on a stone wall set against fall colors



11 Best Italy Experiences

Honshu, Japan: During November and December, this island bursts with fall colors, particularly in Kyoto, where fiery leaf hues surround local temples and koyo celebrations abound.

Buddhist Temple near Kyoto with fall colors all around



12 Best Japan Experiences

Nova Scotia, Canada: September and October are key months for this leaf-peeping destination. Set against picturesque lakes, the leaves there offer a worthwhile experience for travelers seeking an autumn respite closer to home.

fall colors



11 Best Canada Experiences

Bavaria, Germany: Couple bright, leafy landscapes with grand castles and mountain backdrops, and you’ve got a recipe for stunning autumn views. The best time to catch them is in October.

Bavarian castle with field and forest



12 Best Germany Experiences

– written by Ashley Kosciolek

Grand CanyonAugust is over; to many, this means that summer has left town and fall is pulling its car into the driveway. But if you’ve got a case of the first-day-of-September blues, perk up. Falling leaves signal falling prices in the travel space. And we’ve got proof. Feast your eyes on the following four fabulous fall packages, which offer shoulder-season savings in top destinations: the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

$100 Savings, Rental Car Steals and More in Las Vegas
Southwest Vacations is running an enticing Las Vegas sale, piling deals on top of more deals. The savings include up to $100 off packages plus up to 30 percent off your hotel stay, 20 percent off car rentals and more. The longer your trip, the more you save. (You have to stay five nights or longer to get that $100 discount.) This deal is valid for travel through the end of December.

Deep Discounts at the Grand Canyon
Two- and three-night Grand Canyon Railway packages are on sale for travel through the beginning of November. Discounted packages start at $390 per couple — a savings of $88 — and include accommodations and train travel to the Grand Canyon. Some of the pricier packages (the $575 three-night Canyon Limited package and the $772 three-night Canyon Limited Plus package) include a stay inside Grand Canyon National Park at the Maswik Lodge North, which is a short walk from the canyon rim.

Half-Off All-Inclusive Adventures in Aruba
Travelers can save up to 55 percent on all-inclusive fall stays at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Aruba when they travel by October 31. We found all-inclusive nightly rates as low as $315 (for two people) for a week-long stay in October. The beachfront Aruba resort’s all-inclusive rates cover unlimited meals, some alcoholic beverages and non-motorized water sports. Additionally, kids ages 12 and younger stay free.

Cut-Rate Costa Rica: Save 60% on Vacations
Fall marks the last few months of Costa Rica’s rainy season, and it’s an excellent time to find discounts on hotel stays and packages in the region. We found a great one: TravelByJen.com, a discount travel agency, is offering a seven-night Costa Rica package with roundtrip airfare, accommodations and a car rental for just $599 per person. Airfare prices are based on travel from Fort Lauderdale, but you can find quotes for travel out of your local hub on TravelByJen.com.

– written by Caroline Costello

airfare deal U.S. airlines are courting shoulder season travelers by slashing fares on fall flights to as little as $34 each way. Carriers including AirTran, Virgin America, Frontier and American have announced significant fare reductions for domestic routes (plus some flights to Mexico and the Caribbean). But buyer beware: Restrictions — from baggage fees to blackout dates — can make an airfare deal, well, not so much of a deal.

How do you get the best price for your particular itinerary? It all depends on which cities you’re flying between, what your travel dates are and how many bags you want to check — so it’s important to search for your itinerary on multiple airline Web sites to see where you can find the cheapest rates (and check out our airline baggage fees roundup for info on different airlines’ checked bag charges). To give you an idea of which bargain may be best for you, here’s a brief rundown of what’s on offer:

AirTran Airways
This systemwide sale includes hundreds of discounted routes with fares starting at $54 each way before taxes. Available travel dates are broad: fly through the end of January on any day of the week except Fridays and Sundays.

What’s the Catch? There are some holiday blackout dates, and your first checked bag costs $20.

Virgin America
Travelers heading to California or Las Vegas can book flights for as little as $39 each way before taxes. This includes noteworthy coast-to-coast fares like Washington D.C. to Los Angeles for $109 each way.

What’s the Catch? Travel dates are limited. You’ll only get the very cheapest fares by traveling between September 14 and October 6 on select days of the week. Plus, each checked bag costs $25 each way.

Frontier
Frontier’s offerings include discounted flights to cities throughout California, the Midwest, the Rockies and other U.S. regions, starting at $34 each way before taxes. Travel is good through December 15.

What’s the Catch? Flights are not available on Fridays or Sundays, and a $20 fee applies to each of your first two pieces of checked luggage.

American Airlines
Fares start at $59 each way plus taxes, and this deal encompasses a wide range of travel dates. You can fly through the end of January.

What’s the Catch? Look out for numerous holiday blackout dates, including seven blackout days in November. You can only fly on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Keep in mind that American charges $25 each way for your first checked bag and $35 each way for your second checked bag.

To see more cheap flights, check out our Airfare Deals. Which deal do you think is the best? Will you be booking fall travel with any of these airlines? Post your comments below!

–written by Caroline Costello

boston fall New England and Canada are immensely popular autumn destinations — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fall deals to be found in these parts of the world. You just have to know where to look. We did some travel deal detective work and unearthed several exceptional bargains in harvest-time havens from Maine to Montreal. Travelers can look forward to blazing foliage, crisp autumn weather and fun fall festivals when visiting these regions in September and October.

Third Night Free on Maine’s Coast
This October, get a free night’s stay at Cedarholm Garden Bay Inn, an oceanfront property located in the Camden, Maine area. The inn’s guest cottages, which start at $225 per night, all have private decks overlooking the water. Guests wake up to a complimentary Continental breakfast served each morning.

7-Night Canada/New England Cruise from $549
Pay less than $80 per night — that’s roughly half off standard fares — for a week-long Caribbean Princess cruise sailing roundtrip from New York on September 18. This leaf-peeping cruise stops in scenic ports including Halifax, Bar Harbor and Newport.

Save 25% in Montreal
Receive 25 percent off weekend stays at the Hotel Omni Mount-Royal, a centrally located Montreal hotel set in the city’s popular Golden Square Mile neighborhood. Discounted nightly rates start at $104.25 CAD for travel before December 30.

U.S. Fares from $44 OW
AirTran‘s latest systemwide sale includes low-priced flights to fabulous fall destinations like Boston; Portland, Maine; Rochester; and Buffalo. These sale fares are valid for travel through mid-December, and must be booked by August 24.

Save 25% on Northeast Regional Train Travel
Travelers departing from New York, Washington D.C., Boston and Philadelphia can get discounted Amtrak tickets to lovely New England towns like Providence, New Haven and Stamford. Discounted tickets start at just $10 each way when booked 14 days in advance.

Save 30% on Boston Hotels
For a limited time, travelers heading to Beantown this autumn can take advantage of reduced rates at dozens of local hotels. Book with Hotels.com by August 30 and save up to 40 percent on accommodations in Boston. This deal features nightly rates as cheap as $58 (for the Westgate Hotel and Conference Center), plus discounts at upscale properties including the Copley Square Hotel and the Langham, Boston.

Find more bargains in our Discount Travel Deals.

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