Getaway Day: 9 Super Shoulder-Season Travel Deals

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If you know your travel terminology, you know that we’re about midway into the “shoulder season,” that biannual festival of pretty good weather, reduced traveler volume and great travel deals. (In fact, if the shoulder season were an actual shoulder we’d be about to that weird knobby part, but that’s kind of icky so we won’t talk about it anymore.)

Just how great are the travel deals? To give you an idea, we spent some time playing around at the website run by our friends at Airfare Watchdog. Now, you can find great deals on airfares all over the interwebs, including at Hopper, Google Flights, and many of the airlines’ own sites, and we still love the “lock in your best fare” concept of Options Away. But these are some of the best – and most highly perishable – deals out there.

Asia

There are many great deals to Asia right now – fortuitous, since this is one of the better times of the year to visit the continent. Assuming you’re not a points-and-miles whiz like our Ariana Arghandewal, and able to laugh at the idea of at 14-hour flight in coach, you’re not going to go wrong with these:

Singapore Airlines, from Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles to numerous Asian destinations. Singapore Airlines doesn’t just fly to Singapore; it flies to many desirable destinations across Indo-China – and now that it’s having a sale on many of these routes, you can go from SFO to Koh Samui for as little as $657, or Houston to Hanoi for $628, or San Francisco to Vientiane for $669. If Tokyo is more your style, Singapore has you covered too, with a $551 fare from LAX to Tokyo Narita. These flights are particularly nice because Singapore Airlines is world-renowned for punctuality and service.

China Eastern from New York to Phnom Penh: On the other hand, if your main squeeze is a low fare, it’s hard to beat China Eastern’s $530 fare from JFK to Phnom Penh, with a stopover in Shanghai. Still, there’s that Singapore service, and they fly to Phnom Penh too …

Europe

We’ve been doing a lot of research prepping for our annual “State of Travel Insurance” report, and here’s what we find about Europe: Lots of people have gone there, lots of people are going to go there, but lots of people were scared off from traveling there this summer, and lots of people are still scared. Nothing in the middle.

That’s reflected to an extent in the fare deals to Europe this fall and winter. There are deals but there isn’t a cornucopia of deals, perhaps because the airlines know that those who are gonna go are gonna go and those who aren’t aren’t. (Not to mention all those pesky people who know the tricks of getting a first-class fare for less than a first-class price.) Still, there are these:

KLM from New York to Amsterdam: The departure dates are January through March, but the $439 price is crazy good. And average March temps in Amsterdam are already into the 50s. You can handle that.

United from Chicago to London: One of the under-the-radar aspects of Brexit has been an unprecedented surge in travel to England. Hard to say whether it’ll still be that way in March, but you can do your part by hopping on this $569 fare. And if you thought the temps in Amsterdam in March are mild, London temps are slightly milder. Just pack a raincoat.

WOW Air from San Francisco to Berlin: Looking to do a little traveling on this side of the year-end? Trust the disrupters at WOW Air to come up with a good one. They can get you from San Francisco to Berlin for $440 – including a stop in Reykjavik! If you talk to them nicely they may even let you stay over in Reykjavik before continuing on.

Speaking of WOW Air, its website is always a good place to go bargain-hunting – as are the websites of fellow pot-stirrers Norwegian and Air Berlin.

Domestic

The winds of change are blowing in favor of travelers, at least for a short time. Southwest is having a fare sale and JetBlue is encroaching on a number of traditional Delta markets, lowering fares there as well. In addition, destinations to the south are looking to rebuild the tourist trade after hurricanes and Zika. The result is some super-low fares to the sun-and-fun capitals of the Western Hemisphere. Here’s what we mean:

JetBlue from Boston to Salt Lake City: The satisfaction surveys and on-time reports don’t lie: JetBlue is arguably America’s best domestic airline. Its expansion means that more people get to find that out for themselves – including residents of Salt Lake City et environs. Fly there from Boston in November for $137, catch some early-season skiing, and you have a great getaway on the absolute cheap.

Southwest from Fort Lauderdale to Havana: You can probably ignore the Republican presidential candidate’s promise to reinvoke travel bans to Cuba, but if you’re the least bit worried, Southwest has you covered with a $150 fare to Havana for travel in December. All things considered, this might be your best chance to see the real Cuba.

American from New York to Los Angeles: Here’s a fare you can get right now, for a whopping $287. The important thing here is to not do the math and realize that for another $250 you could go to Tokyo. On the other hand, if you gotta get to NYC, this is how you get there.

Houston to Latin America on Southwest: Southwest is becoming much more aggressive with its semi-international fares, and here’s your proof: Fares from Houston Hobby to hot Latin American destinations like Cancun ($231), San Jose ($256), Puerto Vallarta ($277), and Los Cabos ($300).

And of course, one thing goes great with all these low fares: travel insurance from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. We can protect your lights with AirCare and your total trip with ExactCare. You’ve scored a bargain; now protect it.

Author: Kit Kiefer

As content engineer for Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, I have one of the world's great jobs. Not only do I get to write about travel, but I get to edit the work of fantastically talented contributors from around the world. Plus I get all the maple syrup I can drink.