By Mark Chesnut
Within a matter of weeks, cooler temperatures will start descending upon North America. So it’s the perfect time to take a look at how to make the most of business travel during the autumn months—including how to find the best travel deals and how to avoid seasonal hassles. If you have a bit of flexibility when planning, keep these ideas in mind to make those trips go smoothly.
Where to Go for Deals: Prices for Europe hotels and airfares start to drop in the autumn, as summer vacations wrap up and temperatures cool. The same goes for some Florida hotels, since the summer crowds have left but the wintertime snowbirds haven’t yet moved in. The fall is also a good time to consider a meeting or executive getaway in the Caribbean; peak season for Caribbean hotels usually doesn’t start until late November or December.
Where to Go for Scenery: September is prime grape stomping season in California’s wine country, so if your itinerary takes you to the northern part of the state, check with your concierge about special events taking place. Fall foliage is a big draw in the northeast, and its easy to enjoy the changing colors when you stay at a business-friendly Massachusetts hotel with a view, such as the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center in Sturbridge or the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. In New York City, check into a room facing Central Park at the Jumeirah Essex House or the Mandarin Oriental, New York and you’ll be treated to vistas of Manhattan’s largest expanse of natural beauty.
How to Avoid Headaches: Autumn is a beautiful time of year to travel, but there are certain times and places during the season that are best to avoid. Destinations with large universities, for example, can become congested during fall orientation and the beginning of the new semester—and airports may get a bit crowded, too. Thanksgiving, of course, is the most heavily traveled period of all, so it’s a good idea to avoid the few days before and after, when possible. Europe-bound business travelers might want to steer clear of the festivities in Munich during Oktoberfest—but then again, they might want to make a point to be there to join the celebration.
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on travel to Latin America. He loves cool weather.