With Labor Day just in the rear-view mirror and Thanksgiving a blip on the horizon, early fall can be a cornucopia of travel bargains.
Experts say leisure travel usually dips once the kids are back in school. That means plenty of discounted airfares and hotels for people who can get away.
(Read more: Six standout airline perks—when money is no object)
Hawaii, for example, has a prime shoulder season through October, said Courtney Scott, a spokeswoman for Travelocity. You can get even-night packages, with hotel and airfare, for under $1,000. Early ski season deals kick in early November, with many resorts offering a third night free when you book two.
But autumn travelers should heed a few precautions, too. Hurricane season lasts through Nov. 1. Before booking, check into policies on changes and cancellations, and assess whether travel insurance is a good idea.
—By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant. Follow her on Twitter @KelliGrant.