Sept. 20, 2011 -- intro: Daydreams of your next vacation distracting you on the job? Start planning now, because the getaway of your dreams might be cheaper than you think if you travel this fall.
A hotel stay in the ritzy ski resort town of Vail, Colo. or a week's stay on Bermuda's pink beaches is significantly cheaper during the fall season than during peak travel months, making it the right time for bargain hunters to book a fabulous vacation.
The Orbitz Fall Shoulder Season Travel Index reveals 10 popular beach and mountain resort destinations where prospective travelers can take advantage of fall's lower rates and save on hotel rates and vacation packages.
Mountain getaways like Vail (down 56 percent), Aspen (down 50 percent) and beach getaways such as Barbados (down 53 percent) and Punta Cana (down 38 percent) all made Orbitz's list of fall's best deals where hotel rates are down compared to each destination's peak rates.
"Shoulder season is really one of the best times to travel since you can find great prices and fewer crowds, in exchange for a slight dip in temperatures," Orbitz Worldwide Senior Travel Editor Jeanenne Tornatore said. "Unlike traveling in the true off-season, September and early October offer a happy medium for these places, where you are still getting enjoyable weather but paying 30, 40 or even 50 percent less."
From Aspen to Aruba, here are 10 bargain getaways that could be your next vacation.
quicklist: 1media:14555822 title: Vail, Colorado (down 56 percent)text: When Vail first opened as a resort town in 1962, the area had just four homes, one telephone and five ski lifts. More than 50 years later, Vail is one of the nation's premiere ski destinations. While the ski season doesn't officially begin until Nov. 18, fall remains one of the best times to visit the mountain resort town with its luxury spas, fine dining, shopping, parks and nature trails.
quicklist: 2media:14555832title: Whistler, Canada (down 51 percent)text: Located in British Columbia's Coast Mountains and just two hours north of Vancouver, this ski resort destination is a great place to spend fall's crisp off-season with its four golf courses, numerous scenic bike trails, horseback riding tours, lake activities and thrillseeker's favorites like zip lining, ATV tours and bungee jumping. Host to the 2010 Olympics, this Canadian resort town is also home to art galleries, cultural centers, museums and a variety of seasonal festivals.
quicklist: 3media: 14555845 title: Aspen, Colorado (down 50 percent)text: Situated in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, Aspen is a hub that draws serious skiers, nature lovers, foodies and fans of the arts. Known for its glorious ski trails, opera house, galleries, culinary festivals and film series, the resort destination is home to dozens of hotels and lodges, many which are offering rates at as much as 50 percent less than standard peak season prices.
quicklist: 4media:14555862title: Breckenridge, Colorado (down 43 percent)text: This historic gold mining town offers easy access to several ski slopes, but outdoor enthusiasts flock to Breckenridge in the off-season due to its numerous biking, fishing and hiking opportunities. Although a trip to this resort town can be steep, fall's cooler temperatures mean lower prices with average savings of 43 percent in lodging alone this fall.
quicklist: 5media:14555887title: Jackson Hole, Wyoming (down 43 percent)text: Jackson Hole's proximity to Yellowstone National Park, National Elk Refuge and Greton National Park makes a getaway to enjoy fall's gorgeous foliage a natural choice for outdoor enthusiasts. This "Cowboy State" destination also attracts vacationing celebrities who flock here for serious skiing and seclusion, but deep hotel discounts and shoulder season perks like resort credit and room upgrades make this resort town an affordable vacation for those on a budget.
quicklist: 6media:14555734 title: Barbados (down 53 percent)text: Barbados tops Orbitz' list of deepest discounted beach getaways this season. Vibrant island culture, folk art, fishing, boating, diving, nightlife and sandy beaches attract thousands of yearly visitors to its shores, and with lodging rates priced at 53 percent less than normal summer peak season prices, the opportunity to explore this island paradise is too tempting to pass up.
quicklist: 7media: 14555745title: Aruba (down 40 percent)text: Home to a variety of hotel and all-inclusive resorts offering deep discounts this fall, a vacation on the island paradise of Aruba is an attractive getaway for beach bums and island adventurers within any budget. With swimming, sunbathing, water activities, casinos, great restaurants and an exciting nightlife, there's no end to fun activities to fill the sunny days of your beach vacation.
quicklist: 8media:14555762title: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (down 38 percent)text: Located on the on the sandy shores of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is home to a number of the world's best golf courses, a national ecological park, a variety of beautiful beaches and several attractions that honor the island's Afro-Spanish heritage. The Caribbean island also draws visitors from all over the world with its lively art scene, rum-fueled nightlife, amber jewelry and merengue dance beats.
quicklist: 9media:14558062title: Bermuda (down 36 percent)text: Pink sand beaches are Bermuda's primary attraction, helping make it the winner of Condé Nast Traveler's 2010 Readers' Choice for No. 1 island in the Western Hemisphere, where vacationers can sunbath, snorkel, dive and fish while enjoying the island's legendary hospitality.
In addition to the lower rates being offered for fall, many resorts and hotels are offering a variety of travel deals and promotions just in time for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which will be held this year on Oct. 18-19.
quicklist: 10media:14555811title: West Palm Beach, Florida (down 34 percent)text: Affectionately known by locals as "America's First Resort Destination," West Palm Beach has it all: championship golf courses, an award-winning equestrian scene, nature centers, wildlife sanctuaries, a vibrant nightlife, beaches, curated antiques shopping for discriminating shoppers, a thriving art community and noteworthy restaurants. West Palm Beach's appearance on the list is welcome both for the great savings available and its potential for an exciting fall getaway.