By Sarah Waffle Gavin, on August 16, 2014

Best Labor Day weekend getaways

The first day of summer seems like it was just yesterday when we were dusting off our strappy sandals and shorts and sundresses. Yet here we are, halfway through August, full-on with Shark Week, and now we’re talking Labor Day travel. But rather than tell you what we think the best Labor Day destinations are, we’re letting the data do the talking. We have analyzed recent Labor Day weekend booking data to bring you the most popular destinations for the holiday, and have seized the opportunity to tell you about some overlooked Labor Day weekend getaway packages on which you can save big bucks.

First, the most popular spots. No. 1 on our list: Las Vegas, one of the least likely destinations to see clouds and rain. Also high in our ratings: the beach, of course. When it comes to Labor Day travel, most people want to hit the sand to get that last day of sunbathing in. With this in mind, it’s no wonder San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles are among our top 10.

Other notables in our data include Chicago, which has seen hotel bookings rise 130 percent over 2013, and Houston, which had bookings up a whopping 220 percent.

The formal list of our top 10 most popular destinations for Labor Day weekend include:  

1. Las Vegas

2. Chicago

3. New York City

4. Atlanta

5. San Diego

6. Seattle

7. Orange County, California

8. Los Angeles

9. Miami

10. Houston

  • Miami

  • Seattle

  • Palm Springs

  • San Diego

  • Las Vegas

  • Charleston

  • Washington, D.C.

  • New Orleans

The best part of this list is that some of these destinations actually have CHEAPER hotel rates this year than they did in 2013. In New York City, for instance, our data shows rates have dropped an average of 7 percent. Rates are down in Houston, too; the average there for 2014 is right around $150, lower than where it was last year and the year before that.

We mentioned we’d spotlight some deals for Labor Day weekend, and there are plenty. While SoCal beaches were well represented on our list of popular spots, just east of this Nirvana is a place where you’ll find great discounts: Palm Springs. We’re seeing hotel rates in that market down 12 percent from where they were last year. Other cities with similar bargains: Washington, D.C., Denver, and Charleston, South Carolina. The full list of destinations with the best Labor Day weekend deals is:

1. Palm Springs, California

2. Charleston, South Carolina

3. Virginia Beach, Virginia

4. Ocean City, Maryland

5. Austin, Texas

6. New Orleans

7. Washington, D.C.

8. Denver

In general, this is one of the busiest Labor Day weekends we’ve seen yet. Air travel bookings over Labor Day weekend have increased 20 percent, while hotel bookings have increased 32 percent when compared to 2013. Also, although car rental rates are on the rise this year, they are slightly lower this Labor Day weekend. This is one of the reasons we recommend bundling car rentals with your flight and hotel, as Expedia customers on average save $500 when booking vacation packages. Happy traveling!

*All flight and car data is based on flight and bookings on between January 1 – July 20 for travel beginning between August 28 – September 1

*All hotel data is based on standalone hotel bookings on between January 1 – July 20 for travel beginning between August 28 – September 1