What’s Booking in Late Summer And Fall

With peak-season travel winding down, bookings for late summer through fall are gaining momentum, with clients opting for a wide variety of trips, including river and ocean cruises, and vacations to US National Park, the Caribbean and Europe.

“We have many new requests for this fall between September and December,” said Trish Gastineau of Simply Customized Travel, an affiliate of Travel Experts. “We believe this is due to people waiting to see how COVID restrictions would be phased out, and because of reports that this summer Europe was jam-packed. Now that they can see how things are playing out, they are more comfortable taking action.”

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Group Business

Gastineau has been booking groups of parents traveling with college and high school aged children during fall break, and several groups of adult couples traveling together. “They are all interested in independent trips in the UK, Southern Spain and France,” she said.

“We have many new requests for this fall between September and December There is a lot of interest from my clients in the Provence region of France. People have been waiting to indulge themselves and this area – along with its food and wine – seems to be calling them!”

Avoiding Peak Season Travel

Claire Schoeder, an independent contractor at Elevations Travel, an affiliate of Signature Travel Network, said that some of her clients put off travel until late summer and fall to avoid the peak-season summer rush and issues relating to airlines due to heavy demand.

“I have a number of cruises booked, as well as trips to Europe and Africa for safaris,” she said. “I also have clients doing US road trips – National Parks, historic areas such as American Revolution and Civil War battle sites, as well as areas they have not visited before.”

Cruises are selling particularly well. “I have more cruises booked than anything – not the Caribbean but trans-Atlantic, New England/ Canada, even mid-September in Alaska, and some expedition as well,” Schoeder said. “For my cruise clients, it is the focus of the itinerary rather than simply booking a cruise.”

Caribbean Bookings

For Tammy Levent, CEO of Elite Travel, Caribbean bookings – both land and sea – have picked up for late summer and fall. “Airfare is the biggest issue for travel right now,” she said. “So, we need to find hotels that have amazing deals that will offset the cost of the airfare.

“Greece, Italy and Ireland are also standouts, and Hawaii has picked up,” she added.

VIP Vacations President Jennifer Doncsecz is witnessing strong bookings for the Caribbean and Mexico for late summer and fall, as well as Disney bookings for the fall.

“As more cruise lines remove mandatory COVID testing, I believe that we will see even more requests for cruises too,” she said.

As more countries relax their COVID entry requirements, VIP Vacations is beginning to witness an inf lux in business to a variety more far-flung of destinations, including Morocco, Egypt and Iceland.

“Those are the exotic requests we have been seeing,” Doncsecz said. “Costa Rica, Aruba and Curacao are closer-to-home destinations that are popular requests for the fall.”

Alaska Cruises

“We have had a huge boom in last-minute Alaska cruises,” said JoAnne Weeks, Vacation division director of Acendas Travel. “The space was still there, and the rates were very attractive. For fall we are seeing Europe!”

She noted the agency has also “seen a dramatic increase in European requests, including ocean and river cruising.”

Holly Lombardo of Holly Lombardo Travel, a Travel Experts affiliate, said close-in bookings remain very strong, including those for late summer and fall.

“I would say about 40 percent of my inquiries have come in with four weeks advance or less,” she said. “I am fully expecting fall travel to pick up dramatically in the next month.”

Where to Find the Best Value

Where will you find the best value for clients in late summer and fall?

“Cruises of any kind,” said JoAnne Weeks of Acendas Travel. “If you can beat the air costs, the cruise promotions for late summer and fall are incredible.”

“We have found that there is availability and the pricing is great for summer/fall cruises – and in particular, Celebrity has had incredible promotions,” said Jennifer Doncsecz of VIP Vacations.

“With the US dollar being so strong against the Euro, I’ve been encouraging my clients to travel to Europe – and a little closer to home, St. Barts,” said Holly Lombardo of Holly Lombardo Travel.

“Hotels in Europe are still running amazing rates,” said Tammy Levent of Elite Travel. If travelers are willing to spend $1,000 to $1,500 per person on airfare, she recommends such destinations as Ireland, Spain, Italy and Greece.


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