Organize Your Labor Day Getaway

Posted on Aug 22 2013 - 7:57pm by Dayna Hathaway


To me, any excuse to travel is a good one! Summer is almost over, and the long Labor Day weekend offers a perfect opportunity for one last getaway before autumn. Even if you don’t have a lot of time to plan, it can be easy to organize a Labor Day getaway. To motivate you to take that well-deserved trip, I have some tips for you!


Avoid Crowds: Visit a Charming Small Town

Certain cities really draw Labor Day visitors. According to booking data from Travelocity, these are the most popular Labor Day getaway cities for 2013: New York City, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando, San Francisco, South Florida, Boston and Las Vegas. You’re not going to be the only one waiting for a table or looking for a hotel at these cities. On the other hand, if you’re a foodie, you may want to go with the flow and visit a crowded city anyway. Why? Many large cities host Labor Day food festivals!


Galena, Illinois photo by Alan Light

Galena, Illinois photo by Alan Light


But, if you’re looking for a slower-pace, more relaxing destination, consider a smaller city like Galena, Illinois, recommended on Fodor’s list of 10 Best Small Towns in America. Or you can check out Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, suggested in Smithsonian’s The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013.


Get the Car Serviced Now and Learn How to Save on Gas

The automobile is still the most popular way to travel on Labor Day weekend. So, if you’re taking your own car, make an appointment now for a general inspection and oil change. Your mechanic is going to be very busy on the days surrounding Labor Day, so don’t leave this important task to the last minute.


And don’t forget the gasoline! Barring any surprises, gas prices for Labor Day weekend 2013 are expected to be between $3.45 and $3.65 a gallon. Not bad. But don’t forget to read up on ways to save money on gas.


Get the Best Rates for Your Car Rental

If you’re renting a car for your Labor Day getaway, play it smart. If you find a better deal after you’ve booked, don’t hesitate to cancel your first reservation. Be sure to read the fine print, but, in general, most car rental companies don’t have change fees or cancellation penalties. In other words, it’s not as difficult as getting out of a plane ticket!


Go ahead and book early, but remember to recheck your rate in case you can get a better deal at the last minute. Use AutoSlash, and they’ll check the rates for you, making it even simpler to rebook for a better deal.


Gettysburg photo by Joe Shlabotnik

Gettysburg photo by Joe Shlabotnik


Avoid Hotel Fees, Find Hotel Perks

Don’t be surprised by hotel fees. That great hotel rate may not be as cheap as it sounds. Before you book, call your hotel to ask about extra fees. For example, is there a charge for parking or Internet access? More hotels than ever offer free WiFi to guests, but don’t count on it. Find out which hotels give you free WiFi by visiting The 2013 HotelChatter Hotel WiFi Report.


I pretty much refuse to stay in a hotel that doesn’t offer free WiFi, but I will stay at hotels that don’t offer free breakfast. However, if I can get a special rate that includes breakfast, I go for it. Be sure to ask your hotel whether they have rates that include breakfast, but do the math to make sure you’re getting a good deal. If you’d rather not negotiate, just stay at a hotel chain that offers free breakfast. Check out the Reader’s Digest article on 12 Hotels that Offer a Free Hot Breakfast.


And, if you’re a fan of coffee, make sure your hotel offers free coffee in the lobby anytime you may want it. Free breakfast is great, but free anytime coffee can be even nicer! If your hotel doesn’t offer complimentary coffee, stay at a hotel that has one of the best hotel coffee bars in America!


Whether you’re staying home for Labor Day, or planning a last-minute getaway, I hope you have a great time!


What is your favorite Labor Day destination? Do you prefer to visit smaller towns or large cities?