Columbus Day Travel Deals

by Jessica

November 16th, 2010

Columbus Day may not be among the top holidays people think of when they plan out their holiday calendar each year, but it’s usually a school holiday for students in the United States (it is a US national holiday, after all) and therefore can make an excellent excuse for a long weekend trip somewhere.

It’s the second Monday in October each year, since it marks the date – October 12 – when Columbus reached the Americas in 1492. And mid-October just happens to be a great time to squeeze in a trip before the weather gets too cold in some places, so why not get to vacation planning?

Unlike some other holidays during the year, Columbus Day doesn’t tend to get as much attention as a time to go on a trip. But that just means you’re more likely to find great deals and smaller crowds. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you find the best Columbus Day travel deals out there.

>> In 2012, Columbus Day falls on October 8

Finding Cheap Airfare for Columbus Day

As mentioned, Columbus Day isn’t a major vacation holiday for many people – despite it being a three-day weekend for many schools – so it’s easier to find cheap tickets than it can be for other holidays like Labor Day or Memorial Day.

Unfortunately, flights on Fridays tend to be more expensive than flights on (for instance) Wednesdays, but if you want to make the most of a three-day weekend where Monday is the holiday than a Friday flight may be your best bet. In order to find a cheaper flight on Friday, therefore, you’ll need to book your flight for late in the day – perhaps even a red-eye. Alternately, since Saturday flights tend to be cheaper, you could wait and fly out on the very earliest plane on Saturday morning (the early-morning flights are also cheaper than mid-day flights).

Another way to save money on flights – no matter when you travel – is to check out fares on budget airlines and look at flights into alternate airports. Budget carriers may just be regional airlines, or they may be bigger names like Southwest, jetBlue, or AirTran, but either way they can sometimes offer better deals than the big airlines. As for the alternate airports, some cities are blessed with multiple airports serving the same geographic area, and you never know which one will have the better fares. It’s always best to check all of the ones that are within a reasonable distance of where you want to be.

>> Learn more about budget airlines in the United States and alternate airports to big U.S. hubs

You Can Have Fun Anywhere

Most of the Columbus Day celebrations you’ll hear about are in New England or elsewhere on the East Coast, but it’s San Francisco that says it has the longest-running celebrations of the holiday with an annual parade. In other words, while a trip to New England for Columbus Day weekend to enjoy the fall colors and festivals would be lovely, it’s not a requirement for a fun three-day weekend in mid-October.

In fact, take the “Columbus Day” out of it for a moment and just think of it as a chance to get away for a long weekend somewhere. Pick a place that’s close enough to reach with a short flight or within driving distance, and you’ve got the makings of a great weekend vacation.

photo by NYCMarines

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