Best and Worst Days to Travel for Labor Day

by Jessica

August 2nd, 2010

laborday1The three-day weekend that is Labor Day in America is the traditional last hurrah of summer before kids head back to school and adults think about digging sweaters off the high shelves at the back of their closets – so it’s not surprising that people try to make the most of it by getting out of town and traveling one last time before they start hunkering down for the fall and winter.

Because Labor Day falls on the same day of the week each year (although the date itself will change), it’s actually fairly easy to talk about what days are the best and worst days to travel for Labor Day, regardless of the year or the date. But because it’s only a three-day weekend, there are huge numbers of people who drive (rather than fly) to wherever they’re spending the holiday.

So while it’s a short trip and the airports may be busier on Labor Day weekend than they are in the weeks before and after it, people who are flying over Labor Day won’t have to deal with the same kind of crush at the airport that they’d face over, say, Thanksgiving.

>> In 2012 – Labor Day is on Monday, September 3rd

Worst Days to Travel for Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day is always on the first Monday on September, so it’s relatively easy to plan a Labor Day trip. But it’s sort of like Thanksgiving in that most people don’t (or can’t) ask for additional days off around that weekend in order to take a longer trip. This means more people are traveling on certain concentrated days around the holiday.

Typically, the worst days to leave on a Labor Day trip are Friday (especially after midday) and early Saturday morning. And the worst days to return from a trip tend to be Monday (also later in the day) or early Tuesday morning. Again, because many people are driving to the place where they’ll spend the weekend, you might find the airports aren’t nearly as busy as you might have thought – but of course if you can avoid the worst days to travel you’re still doing yourself a favor!

Best Days to Travel for Labor Day Weekend

As is often the case with shorter holiday periods, the best days to travel for Labor Day are outside the actual holiday weekend and therefore require you to have more days off than just the Monday itself. So if you can finagle some extra time off over Labor Day, not only do you score a longer vacation but you can avoid the worst of the travel days at the airport, too.

If you can swing it, one of the best days to leave on a Labor Day trip is the Thursday before the weekend. And, if you want to get creative about your trip and push your return out further, another good day to leave on your trip is the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Assuming you’re leaving for your weekend on Thursday (or even before that), some of the best days to return from your trip are the Tuesday after the holiday (especially later in the day) or even early on the Monday holiday itself. Starting your trip on Saturday instead? Then try to return on Wednesday and you’ll miss the busy airport then, too.

photo by steveb_ohio

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