If you've waited until now to plan an escape for the last weekend of summer, there are still bargains out there, whether you're looking to stay close to home, or to jet to a faraway land.
There are condominiums awaiting Labor Day revelers in Palm Springs for $43 a night. Rental cars parked on airport lots in Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Dallas, among others, starting at $8.55 a day. And a seven-day cruise on the Norwegian Jewel to the Bahamas (leaving from New York) for $649 for an inside cabin -- a 70% discount.
Travel experts say that there are more Labor Day deals available for vacationers than in the past, particularly from hotels and cruise lines looking to cash in on the last hurrah for summer. But travelers must not hesitate -- these bargains go fast.
"We're seeing that a lot of great summer hotel deals that typically end around Labor Day are being extended into the fall," said Darren Frei, editorial director at shermanstravel.com. "It seems like this year the dividing line between the seasons is not as strong as it's been in the past."
Cruise deals include a nine-night trip aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2, leaving from New York and traveling up the coast past New England and Canada from $1,099 -- a 74% savings over normal rates. There's also a five-night Bermuda cruise on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas sailing from Baltimore for $559, a 38% savings.
Some airfare bargains are also available if travelers are willing to leave on Saturday, Sept. 4 and return after Labor Day. For example, Midwest Airlines is offering flights between Kansas City, Milwaukee and Omaha for $168 round trip over the holiday period.
While fewer flights, escalating fuel costs and more travelers returning to the skies forced air fares higher this summer, hotel prices stayed relatively stable. And more properties are dropping their rates now in anticipation of school starting in late August and early September.
Four-star hotels in many of the summer's most popular destinations including Chicago, New Orleans, San Diego and Washington D.C. are offering Labor Day steals.
Travel-Ticker, which offers last-minute deals on its site, found rooms in New Orleans at a Hilton near the French Quarter and the river walk for $69 a night, including weekends--prices that are about 35% cheaper than regular rates. It also lists spots at San Diego's upscale Sofia Hotel downtown for $89 a night--a 40% discount.
Editors at Travel-Ticker found in a recent survey that four out of ten respondents said that they planned to take multiple vacations this summer--leaving open the possibility that travel will increase over Labor Day.
Even so, the survey also found that half of those who participated thought that they would hit the road at about the same rate as last summer, which was dismal for travel. In addition, about 42% said they planned to stay close to home this Labor Day to participate in local festivities including barbecues and parades.
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