With European summer officially kicking off, American travelers are flocking overseas to enjoy a summer vacation in Europe.
According to Allianz Worldwide Partners, a travel insurance company, the number of Americans traveling to Europe this summer will be up 55% compared to last year. The most popular destinations on many travelers’ itineraries include London, Paris, and Rome.
But far from being a dreamy vacation, traveling in Europe this summer may offer a harsh reality check: massive crowds, heat waves, and high prices can put a damper on your plans.
Instead of visiting Europe this summer, here’s why this fall is actually the best time to go:
1. Cheaper Flights
Flights to Europe are exorbitant this summer, but those prices immediately drop going into fall.
You can pay as much as 50% less to book a flight from the U.S. to Europe in September, October, or November compared to July or August.
Now that summer is in full swing, it’s getting harder and harder to find good deals on airfare to Europe. But if you push your travel dates out a few months, you’ll find excellent prices on airfare to many European cities from the United States.
According to travel booking company Hopper, the cheapest time to fly to Europe from the U.S. is between October and March.
2. Lower Prices
It’s not just flights that are cheaper in the fall. Everything in Europe will be cheaper come September, including hotels, rental cars, and even tours and restaurants.
For example, Positano, Italy’s famous luxury hotel Le Sirenuse runs $3,000+ a night for a room in July or August. But in October, that drops down to $1,000 a night.
You might be thinking that’s still hardly a good deal, but the principle applies to cheaper hotels too. A hotel room that’s $300 a night in the peak summer months might be $100 a night in the fall.
You can save big on a European vacation just by pushing your dates back by a couple of months and traveling in the fall instead of the peak summer months.
3. Fewer Crowds
This summer is expected to be one of the most crowded on record in Europe, with a 55% increase in tourism compared to last summer.
Visiting Europe in the summer means battling excessive crowds, especially in popular tourist destinations. If your idea of a fun vacation includes shuffling through the Louvre or jostling your way to the front of the Trevi Fountain for a photo amid thousands of other tourists, then summer is a great time to visit Europe.
But if you’d prefer to enjoy empty streets, uncrowded museums, and no lines at tourist attractions, wait until the fall.
The tourist crowds in Europe largely disperse starting in September. In the fall, you can enjoy a sunset in Santorini or a beach day on the Amalfi Coast without having to share the experience with massive crowds.
4. Better Weather
Finally, fall can offer better weather in many parts of Europe. If you’re after a beach vacation, September can still feel like summer in many parts of Europe, including Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Greece.
There are still plenty of sunny days, and the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas are still warm enough for swimming in September.
For the past several summers, many places in Europe have been experiencing record-high temperatures and extreme heat waves that make summer travel unpleasant.
So visiting during the fall can offer a nice respite from the heat. Cities like London and Paris are much more pleasant in the cool fall months than they are in the middle of July.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com