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Save Hundreds on Last-Minute Fall Vacations — Here’s How

Fall travel doesn't have to be expensive.

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Fall is officially here, which means the kids and grandkids are back in school and the leaves are starting to take on beautiful new colors. Most people may travel during the summer, but fall can be an ideal time to plan a spur-of-the-moment vacation, since prices are often lower and the transitional weather makes a welcome respite after months of heat. Of course, no matter when or where you travel, the journey can add up financially. Luckily, we’ve found some easy ways to save on every step of your fall vacation. It turns out tickets and hotels don’t have to break the bank after all.

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Snag Airfare Bargains

You may already know that the closer you get to your departure date, the more expensive airfare is, since fewer seats are available. A way to still find bargains? Look for oneway tickets to and from your destination on Google’s flight section. Airlines often end up with empty seats on sold-out flights because some passengers changed their departure or return date, or they switched destinations. As a result, airlines are eager to sell the seats left empty for as much as 25 to 50 percent less to avoid losing the entire fare.

Also smart: When flying with others, buy tickets individually. There are usually more single seats available at the last minute, one or more of which may cost less because they’re part of a tier of tickets that’s priced lower than others. If you buy a bundle of seats together, you’ll automatically pay the higher tier’s price for all of them.

Book a Room for Less

Worried that even if you can find a hotel room at a late date, you’ll be stuck paying a sky-high price for it? Here’s a secret to sidestepping it: Buy someone else’s hotel cancellation at Roomer Travel. These are trips that have been canceled but had no-refund policies, so the folks who booked them are willing to sell them for up to 50 percent less, rather than lose their entire payment. If you find a room you like with the dates you want, click the room and the reservation will be transferred to your name.

Another option: Visit Hotel Tonight to look for rooms that are still empty tonight and are being sold at a discount. Just input the city you’re staying in for a list of available rooms.

Renting a home? Hosts on Airbnb and Vrbo often discount their properties up to a week before they’re available to ensure they don’t stay empty.

Nab Cheaper Car Rentals

Finding a rental car for your fall vacation can be difficult and expensive right now due to manufacturing problems that left rental companies with fewer vehicles in their fleets. Luckily, car sharing websites, like Avail, Getaround, Lyft, and Turo, make it easy for you to rent from regular folks who have an extra vehicle they’re not using. Log on and you can reserve cars, trucks, and SUVs for as much as 50 percent less than you’d pay from a traditional rental company while still having the protection of vehicle insurance.

Snap Up Cruise Discounts

Dream of relaxing on the deck of a cruise ship? Most major cruise lines offer last-minute deals that save you up to 70 percent on your fare! Some even throw in free airfare, credits for excursions, or complimentary perks like Wi-Fi. Whether you’re available to leave next week or next month, you can find a wide range of discounted cruise destinations on cruise lines such as Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess, and Royal Caribbean.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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