Since 1887 Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September. It’s a day to celebrate all workers and their social and economic achievements.
Traditionally Labor Day was celebrated with a parade, followed by small festivities – picnics and band concerts — for workers and their families. Nowadays most people use the long weekend to travel. And why not? It’s the last really nice weekend of the summer, and the first reminder that winter is just around the corner.
So take advantage of this nice, long weekend and plan a little getaway with your family and friends.
The keywords are “plan ahead.” It’s going to be a busy weekend, with crowded roads, higher gas prices, full planes, and sold-out hotels. But if you plan ahead you can relax and fully enjoy the time with your loved ones.
- First, make sure you’re all off on the same days. Yes, Labor Day is Monday, but some occupations, such as cooks, doctors, bus drivers, waiters, nurses, and pilots – including airline pilots! — have to work.
- Second, if you’re planning a road trip, make sure you know your route. Familiarize yourself with alternates in case of traffic; fill up the gas tank a few days ahead of time and pack proper road-trip food in advance. Doing all this on Friday afternoon will likely put you in a bad mood and start off your weekend on the wrong foot.
- Next, don’t leave your accommodations to chance. Even if you travel with an RV, make sure you have a spot reserved. If you’re staying at a hotel, make sure you have a confirmed room. Chances are if you show up without a reservation hotels won’t be able to accommodate you.
- If you’re flying, make sure you have a confirmed seat at time of booking – even if you have to pay for it separately. Print your boarding passes 24 hours ahead of time. Many flights will be oversold, and without a boarding pass you’re more likely to be bumped onto a later flight.
- How are you getting from the airport/pier/train station to your final destination? Arrange your rental car/transfer ahead of time. This way you’ll have a smooth and stress-free trip and can enjoy yourself along the way.
- As always during holiday travels, be courteous. Everybody is trying to get somewhere; everybody is anxious and stressed. Remind yourself that you are traveling to relax and to be with people who are important to you.
- And of course, consider travel insurance for your trip. In case of flight delays or cancellations, insurance will be at your side, and insurance can help turn minor disasters into mere hiccups along the way.
- The national parks are great places to visit with the whole family, yet you’re probably no more than a three-hour drive away from one. There’s lots of history and many natural wonders waiting to be discovered, so pack up the car, embark on a camping adventure, and road-trip your heart out. Hikes, boating and songs around the campfire are a great way to spend a long weekend.
- Boston is a great city for families. Enjoy a whale-watching tour, visit the aquarium, wander the Freedom Trail and enjoy some lobster for lunch. For the party animal in you, Boston offers amazing nightlife, with many microbrews to be had all around town.
- Chicago is a city of many delights. Enjoy a canal cruise, live music at the pier, tremendous food, and vibrant nightlife. You can splurge on Michigan Avenue, have a picnic in Washington Park, or climb the Willis Tower for a panoramic view of the city.
- Seattle gives you a myriad of choices: Cruise the lake, partake of a craft-beer tour or take a day trip to Mt. Rainier. You can find something for all activity levels and age groups.
- San Francisco has a warmer climate, and no shortage of things to do. You can pretend to escape Alcatraz, do a sunrise hike to see the Golden Gate Bridge over the bay or fly a helicopter over it, stop at the fish market, hike through the Muir Woods, or do a short excursion to Sonoma wine country. It’s a great city to explore via bicycle and there is no shortage of shopping opportunities.
- One of my personal favorites this time of year is Quebec City. The city is full of art and history, and I could walk those cobblestone streets for days. Take the quick lift up to the fortress for amazing views and wander through the castle before enjoying an amazing meal in one of the small French-inspired restaurants. It’s a great city to people-watch and a must visit for architecture buffs.
So what’s on your Labor Day bucket list? Wishing you all safe travels, wherever you’re heading this year.
Daniela has been a Travel Consultant since June 2010. She works for Avenues of the World Travel in Flagstaff, Ariz. For more information contact Daniela at 800.230.3322 or Daniela@avenuesoftheworld.com. For travel inspiration please visit www.avenuesoftheworld.com