Holiday Travel

Labor Day Travel Deals

laborday4Most of us can remember the joy that the first days of summer vacation brought with them – and on the opposite end of the spectrum, the sadness that came with the last vacation before school started again. Labor Day weekend is, in the United States, essentially the end of summer and the last chance most Americans have for a vacation before the December holidays.

In other words, it’s an incredibly popular time for people to get the heck out of their houses for even a couple of days – and that means all the vacation spots nearby are way more popular than usual.

With popular travel dates and destinations come higher-than-average travel prices, so finding Labor Day travel deals gets more challenging the longer you wait to plan your trip. Here are some articles to help you figure out your Labor Day travel plans, whether you’re booking a few days in advance or several months ahead, and we hope these tips will save you some cash in the process.

>> Labor Day in 2013 is on Monday, September 3rd.

>> And if you’re looking for other holidays we’ve covered, have a scroll through our Holiday Travel tips category and see what pops up!

August Travel Deals

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the month of August usually means one thing – that there’s only a month left of summer. That’s only a month left to cram in as many getaways as humanly possible before school and work schedules conspire to keep you indoors.

Of course, throughout much of the world, August is a semi-official month-long holiday. Throughout Europe there are “on vacation” signs up in cities big and small all month long as people escape the heat of the city for more temperate places like beaches or mountains.

In other words, why not take your cue from so many others and take advantage of the last few weeks of summer for a vacation of your own?

If you’ve got your sights set on an August trip but you don’t have unlimited resources, it’s important to do your research in advance so you don’t pay too much for your trip. Yes, you can find August travel deals, you just need to know where to look.

U.S. Open Tennis Championships Travel Deals

There are several reasons why you might balk at the idea of a trip to New York City in August – the high heat and high cost being two of the biggest ones. If you’re a tennis fan, however, you’ll go anyway – because New York is the place to be for the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.

Since 1978, the U.S. Open has been played at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, taking place over the course of two weeks in late August and early September. Not every match is worth writing home about, of course, but if you plan ahead (and are willing to shell out the cost of the best tickets) you can get in to see some of the biggest names in the tennis world playing in the tournament.

New York is a famously challenging destination for budget travelers, so going to the city during a major sporting event isn’t going to be cheap. There are ways to make it less painful for your bank account, however, and in this article we’ll outline some of the ways to get to the U.S. Open Tennis Championships without spending your life savings.

>> In 2012, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships are taking place from August 27-September 9.

Where to Go in August: What’s in season  in August?

For most of the year, the weather is essentially on its way to being warmer or colder – but twice a year the mercury hits the furthest reaches of where it’ll end up.

Usually, one of those times of year is August. It’s the hottest month for half the planet, and the coldest for the other half – and regardless of which you call home, by the middle of August (if not before) you’re probably wishing for a respite.

Because August in the Northern Hemisphere is the last gasp of summer before going back to school or re-focusing on work, it tends to be one of the most popular vacation months. Top holiday destinations are often crowded and expensive. Travelers with a substantial budget can afford to make a trip to such places hassle-free, but budget travelers will likely need to look to other places in order to get the most bang for their holiday bucks.

This list of where to go in August is primarily for those who are looking for vacation destinations that won’t cost a fortune but will still offer good weather. We’ve also included some cold weather spots for those of you who just can’t wait to strap on ski boots.

>> Traveling to a big event in August? Here’s how to find Lollapalooza festival travel deals, Edinburgh Fringe festival travel deals, and Burning Man travel deals.

Ramadan Travel Tips

Often we book trips based on our own calendars, and not the holiday calendars of the places we intend to visit. This is especially true if we’re going to a place that has different celebratory or religious customs than our own, since we may not even be aware that there’s a holiday taking place during our vacation. Such is the case for many Westerners traveling to Muslim countries during Ramadan.

Maybe you planned a trip to a Muslim country and only after you’d bought your tickets did you realize you’d be there during Ramadan. Maybe you’re curious about Ramadan and are wondering whether you, as a non-Muslim, can experience it.

Either way, if you’re going to be in a Muslim country during Ramadan you’ll need to know enough about it so you’re prepared and so you don’t inadvertently break the rules. Not only that, if you haven’t planned your trip yet, you definitely need to know whether traveling during Ramadan is a good idea in the first place.

You’ll find all that information here.

When is Ramadan this year?

Because Ramadan isn’t based on the Gregorian calendar, and is instead based on the lunar Islamic calendar, the “dates” for Ramadan vary depending on the year. In 2012, Ramadan starts at sundown on July 19 and goes through August 18. The holiday marking the end of Ramadan, called Eid al-Fitr, begins on August 19. The name of the holiday means “festival of fast-breaking,” and it typically lasts for three days.

In 2013, Ramadan will run from sundown on July 9 through August 7.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Travel Deals

fringe1Edinburgh is a popular enough place to visit any time of the year, but for most of the month of August the city is transformed into one gigantic open-air arts festival. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe – lovingly known simply as “The Fringe” – is the biggest arts festival anywhere, and rather than being just a fancy festival with art or theatre exhibits behind closed doors, The Fringe spills out into the streets of Edinburgh, so that everywhere you look there’s performance art going on. It’s a feast for the senses.

Because the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh is so popular, however, it can make planning a trip to Edinburgh in August quite complicated – not to mention expensive. Hotels and hostels book up well in advance, for instance, and even if you’re on the ball and book ahead of time you’re going to notice the room rates are higher than normal. But perhaps the biggest expense of your trip to Edinburgh – especially if you’re traveling from far away – is going to be your airfare. Not only is the Festival Fringe a big draw for thousands of people, it also falls right in the midst of the peak tourist season in Europe. That’s two counts against anyone who’s a budget traveler.

Still, there are ways to find Edinburgh Festival Fringe travel deals, and we’ve talked about some of them in a series of articles this past week. You’ll find links to those articles below – including what airports to fly into if you’re coming to Edinburgh from overseas, and how to find cheap airfare no matter which airport you’re flying into.

Lollapalooza Travel Deals

lollapalooza4Even if you’re old enough to remember Lollapalooza as a touring summer music festival, the current incarnation of the event bears such little resemblance to the original that it’s worth checking it out again. And if you’re just a fan of music and you didn’t know Lollapalooza was ever anything but a big music festival in Chicago, then ignore the previous statement’s reminiscing and carry on.

Since 2005, Lollapalooza has been a three-day music festival held in Chicago’s Grant Park, featuring live performances by some of the top musical acts from around the world. The 2005 event wasn’t huge in terms of the number of attendees, but more recent years have brought in enough festival-goers (and money) that Chicago has agreed to host the festival through 2018.

Music lovers who already live in or near Chicago are lucky to not need much guidance when it comes to travel tips for Lollapalooza – but for the rest of us, here are links to some articles that will help you save money on your flight to Lollapalooza, scope out alternative airports in search of better deals, and figure out how to get there.

>> When is Lollapalooza in 2012? It’s the weekend of August 3-5. 

Burning Man Travel Deals

burningman2One of the rites of passage for many travelers is going to the famous Burning Man party in the Nevada desert at least once in their lives. The event is one part community building, one part performance art, and one part off-the-grid living – and although there are often musical or other artistic performances, the only scheduled event is the burning of the giant wooden statue that gives the annual party its name.

For the uninitiated, however, the first problem of planning a trip to Burning Man is how to actually plan your trip. It takes place in the middle of the Nevada desert, there’s no official transportation organized from any nearby airports, and since one of the themes of Burning Man tends to be “self-reliance” it’s not always easy to figure out how to travel to Burning Man.

In this series of articles, you’ll find some information to help you plan your Burning Man trip – from how to find cheap airfare to Burning Man, what airports are close by, and how to get to the Burning Man site from where you are.

>> When is Burning Man? In 2012 it runs from August 29-September 5.

Budget Travel to see the Northeast Fall Foliage

There are many great excuses for a road trip in the United States, and seeing the glorious colors in New England as the leaves turn from green to all sorts of fiery shades is definitely one of them.

It’s a popular vacation, but the good news is that New England is a big enough area that you aren’t stuck visiting the same three spots as everyone else.

In fact, getting away from the crowds may be a good way to see the New England fall foliage on a budget.

>> Find cheap airfare to Boston, the busiest airport in New England

Budget Travel to the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular natural sights on earth, so it’s not surprising that it’s not only one of the most popular U.S. National Parks but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This popularity means that it’s hard to find a time when the Grand Canyon’s main visitor centers aren’t swarmed with people, and high demand means high prices. In other words, planning a trip on a budget can be tough.

Adding to the complication is the fact that the Grand Canyon’s high season is longer than most – it has essentially swallowed what are normally the shoulder season months. Still, it’s possible to avoid paying the highest prices for a trip to see the canyon, but you’ve got to do your research well in advance. Here are some tips to help you do the Grand Canyon on a budget.