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My grandma plans to visit Cape Breton Highlands National Park for 3 days this Oct. to see fall foliage. She'll fly from Ontario to Sydney (CYQY), or Halifax and drive there.

For the lowest prices, flights ought be bought now. But how can she predict the best time, other than the vague generalization of the first 3 weeks of Oct.?

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    A good trick is to look at local hotel prices day by day. They tend to spike at the best days, and they are pretty good in knowing the right days (or they'd lose money).
    – Aganju
    Aug 26 '18 at 22:27
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This article on TripSavvy tells you how to track and predict fall colours all over Canada. For Nova Scotia, they say:

The Nova Scotia tourism website doesn't provide fall color reports, but there are other ways to track where the leaves are changing in the province. Follow @VisitNovaScotia on Instagram and @VisitNoviaScotia on Twitter. You can also search for #nsleafwatch on Instagram and Twitter. For a sure bet on seeing colors, visit Cape Breton Island during its Celtic Colours International Festival. You'll see fall colors along Nova Scotia's rugged coastline, in the mountains of the Highlands, and on the Cabot Trail.

You will have to choose among the following strategies:

  • plan a longer trip, and move the 3 days of leaf action around closer to the time
  • buy a flexible ticket, or wait longer to buy your ticket, spending more money
  • travel by train or some other mechanism with a more fixed price. For example, it takes about 2 days to drive from Ontario and the price does not depend on when you go.

Since every year is different it is impossible to know what will be the peak day this year. However, you should be able to choose a darn good day, especially if you're willing to be flexible about where you go once you reach the province. Since the "Fall Colours" event mentioned above is from Oct 5th to 13th, it seems like going for the 9th through the 11th should be a safe bet, and allow avoiding the weekend crowds.

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