“Fall is proof that change is beautiful.”
The majority of student tours travel during spring and summer breaks. That makes sense as that’s when schools give the most time off. This means group leaders can plan for longer tours. However, if you can swing it with the school’s calendar, you should look into taking your next student trip in the fall.
Top Five Reasons To Travel In The Fall
1. It’s Less Expensive
Let’s start with one of the most important reasons. For most student tour groups, price can make or break the trip. Group leaders are always looking for ways to make the trips more affordable. Why? Because the cheaper the tour, the more kids will get to travel. And at The Student Travel Hub, we want more kids to travel!
For the majority of popular destinations (Washington DC, Paris and most student travel meccas), fall is shoulder season. Air and hotel prices are historically lower because summer, which is high season, is over and families aren’t vacationing. Air and hotel are two of the big ticket items included in tour pricing, so saving even 5-10% (sometimes more) on each of those pieces can significantly lower your overall trip price.
2. It’s Less Crowded
Again, families aren’t traveling in the fall. Their kids are back in school and vacation time is over. This means that many popular destinations are much less crowded. If you’ve ever visited any major city in Europe in the summer, you know what crowded means. Long lines at sites and attractions, oftentimes in high heat. Activities that are sold out. Or if you do make it inside say, the Louvre, you’re behind 100 people when you see the Mona Lisa.
3. Activity, Flight, Hotel Availability
Fewer people means your group will have better choices when it comes to flights, hotels, and activities. The likelihood of having to split your group between multiple flights is lower and you’re more likely to have fewer connections. Activities and sites will have greater flexibility to schedule your group. For instance, if you’re trying to get into Shear Madness in DC, you’ll probably be able to choose the night you want to go whereas spring groups have to take what’s available or run the risk of not getting tickets at all.
And probably most crucial is hotel choices. Spring and summer groups are all fighting over the same hotel space. Everyone wants a nice clean, safe hotel in a good location. That might mean something completely different in high season. Good location could be 45 minutes outside of the city because that’s what’s available. Your group is more likely to be closer to city centers in the fall, when demand isn’t quite so high.
4. Better Weather
Ever been to Italy in July? Spain? Atlanta? DC? It’s hot. Super hot. Sometimes humid too. This is all well and good, but if heat is a problem for you or your student group, definitely consider traveling in September or even October or November. Temperatures can dip pretty low in some places, so you’ll have to pack accordingly, but you won’t be sweating through your days.
5. Seasonal Festivals and Food
Fall is festival time in much of the US and Europe. You’ll find a different celebration every weekend, usually complete with traditional foods and music. The most famous of fall festivals is probably Oktoberfest in Germany, which probably isn’t student appropriate. Look beyond Germany perhaps and check out the multitude of other options both in the US and abroad. If you’re in Barcelona in September, you’ll get to enjoy La Mercè, a five day event honoring the city’s patron saint. Or check out the International Chocolate Exhibition in Perugia, Italy where chocolate is king. Arts more your thing? Try the Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival. And if you just must have your Halloween fix while traveling abroad, a stop in Londonderry for the annual Halloween Festival is a must do. Finally, if you’re sticking closer to home, harvest festivals abound! The Georgia Apple Festival, celebrated north of Atlanta, always offers great food and fun. Or visit the Wellfleet Oyster Festival in Massachusetts to have your students try a new kind of cuisine. A taco festival perhaps? The Arizona Taco Festival takes place in Scottsdale, AZ.
All in all, it’s a good idea to ask your tour company to check out trip options in the fall for your student group. A city you’ve visited many times before might come alive in a different way AND you’re likely to get better pricing. Win win!
Disclaimer! Many sites, venues and activities are closed, have limited hours or other various restrictions due to Covid-19. Be sure to check with your tour company and/or the sites themselves for more detailed information.