Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah for summer travel. Last year, 35 million Americans decided to venture away from home with most hitting the road (8 percent took to the skies).
This year, Labor Day falls on Monday, Sept. 7, and you still have time to plot a getaway without spending a lot of bank.
First consider taking a cruise. Last-minute travelers (considered three to six weeks before departure) can often get rock-bottom fares, say the experts at CruiseCritic.com. The accommodations may not be the best, but the prices will be much lower than the average fare. Also check weekly or monthly sales from cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival, which may publish price drops on desirable suites up to two weeks before travel.
With any type of travel, the more flexible you are, the more you will save. According to Kayak.com, among the top 10 destinations for Labor Day travel, Chicago ($357), Orlando ($352) and Las Vegas ($405) are the most affordable. For air travel, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday tend to carry the lowest fares as do flights in the early morning or late evening. Check airline websites early in the week for weekend travel specials up to two weeks before your desired travel date. If you can travel midweek, you will also find better rates for hotel rooms in popular destinations.
Orlando is the sixth most popular U.S. destination for Atlantans this summer, according to Hipmunk.com, and Disney World is a big part of the reason. Mid-August to mid-September is considered one of the best times to visit Disney World as the crowds are low and the travel deals are high.
Finally, one of the best ways to save on Labor Day travel is to keep it local. Take a staycation in the city and use the time to see attractions and restaurants that you typically would not visit. You could also take a quick trip to a nearby location as many resorts and inns in the region offer specials around Labor Day. At North Carolina’s High Hampton Inn, for example, now through Nov. 1, you can stay three nights and get a fourth night free with rates staring at $266 per night for double occupancy. The room fee includes meals for the first three nights (you pay fourth-night meals). The deal does not apply for weekend stays, so stick with midweek travel.