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Final Summer Getaway Labor Day Weekend Tips

Labor Day is celebrated on the same day in the United States and Canada each year. An annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers, Labor Day (known as Labour Day in Canada), occurs on the first Monday of September each year.

Though its status as the end of summer is not technically accurate, Labor Day marks the unofficial end to the season of fun in the sun for millions of people across both the U.S. and Canada. That makes the weekend preceding Labor Day one of the most popular times to travel. Indeed, data from the Transportation Security Administration indicates that the Friday before Labor Day 2022 was the second busiest travel day at U.S. airports that summer. Travel was equally popular on Labour Day weekend 2022 in Canada, where the online booking platform Kayak reports searches for international flights had increased by 104 percent compared to the year prior.

Labor Day weekend travel figures to be just as popular this year, so travelers can keep these tips in mind as they plan one last summer getaway.

Book as early as possible. With so many people interested in traveling on Labor Day weekend, it behooves all travelers to plan ahead. Competition for hotel rooms and other lodging might be steep, and individuals who plan to fly might have trouble finding seats on flights that leave during peak travel hours the longer they delay.

Consider traveling by car. Air travel afficionados had some good news and bad news as the summer travel season began in 2023. Data from FlightAware indicated that flight cancellations were down in 2023 compared to 2022. However, FlightAware data also indicated there were an average of 7,000 to 9,000 flight delays per day in the U.S. in the first half of 2023. No one wants to send off the last weekend of summer with a lengthy flight delay, so travelers who want to spend as much time as possible celebrating may want to drive rather than fly to their destinations.

Drive during off-peak hours. Air travelers must cede some control over when to depart, but drivers can pick their own time to hit the road. Starting a trip during off-peak hours, such as early in the morning or even after rush hour on Thursday night, may enable drivers to avoid traffic.

Travel light. Warm weather tends to linger into Labor Day weekend, so there’s no need to pack heavy. That’s especially noteworthy for air travelers. The lighter travelers can pack for a flight, the less likely they will need to check a bag. That decreases the likelihood bags will be lost if a flight is delayed or canceled, and it also allows travelers to deplane and leave the airport without having to wait around to claim their bags.

Extend the trip. An extra day at the end of the trip can help travelers avoid the crowds on the way home. Parents may need to travel on Labor Day if school is already in session or starting on Tuesday. But travelers who have no reason to rush home can get an extra day of fun in the sun and travel home on a day that tends to be less hectic.