Cover photo: A stay at Atlantis on Paradise Island is only $189 a night during hurricane season.
September and October travel bargains
By Sue Loudon
If you like bargains for travel, now is the time to look for them. September and October is the shoulder or off season for resorts in Colorado. The summer cool seekers have gone home. So resorts need to attract customers before the ski season with low prices and beautiful fall scenery. For instance, resorts in Vail can run $1500 per night during the holidays with a minimum of several nights. This is for resorts like the Four Seasons and Sebastian-Vail. In January the cost goes down to $850 a night depending on occupancy. In mid- September the same room is $350 a night for two people and may be less in October depending on the weather.
“ Hikers like September weather in Colorado but in October it can be too cool with possible snow so the costs are lowest. Your best chance to see the Aspen trees turning colors is the very end of September to October first,” said Cheryl Waag, Ascendas Travel in Kansas City.
If you have always wanted to treat yourself to a stay in a really luxurious resort on a beautiful tropical beach September and October are the bargain months. Afterall, hurricane season is from June through November. But August through October is when most of the major hurricanes have occurred. No one wants to be stuck in a horrible storm especially when they were expecting to be relaxing in a fancy resort. Resorts know they need to do something to attract customers so they lower prices significantly. For instance, Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas has rates from $189 a night, which is 30 percent of the high season rate. They will also give $100 resort credit which may be used in their shops or restaurants. If a hurricane watch or warning is issued within 14 days of arrival at Atlantis the resorts hurricane guarantee allows guests to change their reservations without penalties, as long as they rebook within 60 days and pay any difference in cost for the new reservations which must be within a year of the original plans. This is travel insurance provided by the resort at no cost to guests.
Club Med has six resorts in the Caribbean Sea area and offers a Hurricane Protection Program that offers a future guest a travel certificate equal to the number of nights reserved that are affected by a Category 1 or higher hurricane. Guests can rebook without any penalties. However, travelers must ask about this policy at the time of making the reservation not when a storm is approaching. The savings at all Club Med locations are significant in September and October. In September a standard room with all activities included can be booked for certain days for about $195 per person. Around the holidays it’s $535.36 and in mid-January $267 for certain mid-week days. This does not include the cost of joining Club Med which started the all inclusive resort trend.
The airlines are a different matter. Only Southwest offers no change fee among the major carriers. They fly to the Bahamas and several other Caribbean locations now. American Airlines charges $200 for a change to a domestic reservation and up to $750 change fee for international.
Of course you can buy regular travel insurance which can be expensive depending on what is covered.