For a growing number of Americans, vacation season no longer ends with Labor Day.

Consultant Sabre Airline Solutions says advance airline bookings for the September-November period are up an average 5% from this time a year ago. Many in the industry say the increase may reflect more than the effect of a growing U.S. economy.

Travel agents across the USA are seeing more Americans building travel plans around the advantages of autumn, mainly smaller crowds and better bargains.

"Boomers, singles, even honeymooners are changing their dates (from summer) because of the better fares, better values, better hotels and more choices for their money," says Linda Criswell, a manager for Dillard's Travel, which has 60 offices.

At travel agency AAA, with 1,000 locations, airline bookings for September-November travel are up 23% this year over last year, spokesman Michael Pina says. Tour bookings are up 14%, he says.

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