What You Need to Know About Traveling This Labor Day

Many Americans view Labor Day the first sight of fall and the last opportunity to get away for a warm weather retreat. This summer was undoubtedly a busy one for travelers: According to a recent article by USA Today, the industry estimated 222 million travelers would fly from June 1 through Aug. 31 – higher than the previous peak of 217 million travelers in 2007.

This Labor Day weekend looks hectic, too. Over 14.2 million–or 3% more travelers than last year, will take flight during the holiday, and it’s likely that many in that total will be business travelers. Let’s face it: some of you will work through the Labor Day weekend. In fact, one in five American workers will be laboring away on September 7th this year instead of spending time with family, and many of you will be heading out for a business trip. Whether you’re traveling for vacation or business, watch for the heaviest traffic on Friday, September 4th. And whether you’re always assigned to work during the holidays or you choose to put in extra hours instead of taking vacation, here’s an excellent reminder that you’re not alone.

Some places are more common than others among Labor Day vacationers. While you can’t choose where you need to go for business travel projects, you can be aware of the most crowded airlines and cities so you can plan ahead to avoid traffic and flight stalls. According to travel analysts, these are the 2015 Labor Day hot spots that will harbor droves of travelers in early September:

Las Vegas, NV
Chicago, IL
Atlanta, GA
San Diego, CA
New York City, NY
Seattle, WA
San Francisco, CA
Orange County, CA
Orlando, FL
St. Louis, MO

Other bustling Labor Day destinations include Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles, Denver, and Atlantic City. Plan plenty of time if you have to commute within these cities because you can expect plenty of company as not only families but tourists will convene in these locales in the coming weeks. The best time to snag tickets? According to CNBC data, July 21 is the optimal day to book for Labor Day, at an average savings percentage of 17%. Data from Adobe demonstrates that one in three travelers waits to book 20 days before the flight, although each day raises the cost approximately 3% during that 20-day span.

It’s important to consider when you’re leaving your Labor Day destination, too–especially if you’re driving. Many people will head home on Monday to avoid taking the next day off (probably to save time for the winter holidays). That means countless numbers of drivers will leave after one last big meal and a few drinks. Since that sounds like a recipe for disaster, experts suggest starting back either before 4 pm or after 10 pm to avoid the post-cookout/happy hour rush. Remember to plan your route to avoid all heavy construction zones: Apps like Waze will help you locate them quickly.

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