Fall travel offers lots of deals

CHERRY HILL, N.J. - September 26, 2013

Around here, the coastal beach communities in New Jersey and Delaware win hands-down. But with autumn here and kids back in school, fewer people are going places.

The law of supply and demand being what it is, you can find big travel bargains if you can get away now.

We visited Avenue Travel Group, the American Express affiliate in Cherry Hill, where consultant Donna winner told us the deals are everywhere.

Ocean temperatures locally may make a beach experience less desirable locally. But many warmer-weather resorts, including domestic ones...are a short plane ride away. You could be swimming and sun-bathing at one of them at up to 40-per cent off peak-season prices.

Likewise, European destinations have vacant rooms, and you could get a significant upgrade if you go now.

And cruise lines are in the process of moving their ships from summer routes like Alaska back to the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Because their next "boom" season will be in cold-weather months, you could find all sorts of incentives to sail now.

Cabin upgrades, meal packages and more are common. Since theme parks do major business when kids are out of school, visiting one now is likely to get you a bargain price and shorter waits in line.

Again, you may be able to get an incentive like a meal deal. Sometimes, these packages are so irresistible that a family will pull kids out of class for a short period.

If you're thinking about that, check with the teacher or an administrator before you book.

There's also a spike in travel this time of year among people who want to see autumn leaves. These colorful experiences start north and head south.

The season's probably over in Canada, but there's still time in the southern Appalachians. Your travel agent will know.

There was a time when all a travel agent's services were offered to customers free of charge. Many still are, but agents usually charge a fee to book flights.

You can avoid this fee by booking yourself online or by phone, but note that letting the agent to it for you has advantages.

First, they're more likely to know of last-minute schedule changes that may not show up on your favorite website.

Perhaps more important, if you need to change flights because of weather or other concerns, a travel agent can make those changes for you at no additional charge, and you beat standing in line at the airport or waiting on the phone.

It's true you can find all sorts of package deals online yourself, but be aware that agents get alerts each and every day on packages that never make it to the web.

Agents affiliated with American Express, as Avenue Travel Group is, sometimes get access to special upgrades like a better view.

Avenue Travel Group is online.

Outside New Jersey, you may phone them at 1-800-777-0070. Within New Jersey, you may phone their Cherry Hill office at 856-428-8300.

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