Labor Day weekend. It’s the last hurrah of summer. Soon, it’s back to school or back to work, and in the northern hemisphere the planet tilts away from the sun as we move into fall. It’s tempting to book one more plane ticket, squeeze in one more overnight hike, one more weekend road trip. After Labor Day weekend, it’s closed toe shoes and alarm clocks and carpools and behaving like a grown up again.
Don’t give into the hype. Labor Day isn’t the last weekend ever, there’s no need to act like it. And there are a number of good reasons to stick close to home. Let’s break it down.
Campgrounds are packed. Oh, you wanted to get away from it all, but now, you’re in a parking lot of RVs and listless teenagers and that guy who won’t turn down the Bryan Adams. Sure, you might be able to snap up a last minute campsite, but if you’re going camping with everyone else, you might as well stay in town.
Traffic is a disaster. According to the National Safety Council, Labor Day weekend ranks fifth for the most dangerous driving day in the US. In addition to the dangers of sharing the road with sunburned, hungover, dehydrated lunatics, you’ll share the road with thousands of perfectly sober and sun-screened drivers, all trying to make it home for a good night’s sleep before school or work the next day. You don’t really want to spend 12 out of your 72 free hours in gridlock, do you?
Labor Day hotel rates are inflated. A random search revealed a difference of 50-75 dollars less for rooms in San Francisco on the weekend after Labor Day. Manhattan rates? About 100 dollars less a night for the weekend after Labor Day. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself.
There are top notch festivals in your back yard. Seattle has Bumbershoot, four days of headline music acts, art, literature… Brooklyn has the West Indian American Day Parade & Carnival with incredible food and costumes. Sure, it’s about West Indies pride, but everyone is welcome. Check your local events site or paper; there’s something fantastic happening near you. Don’t dismiss those small town events, often, they’re an opportunity to fall in love with your home town all over again.
Your local friends and family want to see you. When did you last have everyone over for dinner? When did you go for a picnic in the park by your house? Spring was crappy, and then, you were away and they were away… It’s time you got your tribe together for grilling and shandy and making up stories about what’s next. You’re all off work; take advantage of it.
It’s a great time to take a break. Travel is fantastic, but it would be a lie to say it’s always easy and relaxing. Why not take the long weekend to just wind down? The end of summer is the perfect time to swing in the hammock and mentally write that “What I did on my summer vacation” report. Stock the cooler, park the car, and give yourself three days to just chill.
The weather is great and beer is on sale. ’nuff said.
Photo via Flickr user Myki Roventine.