Labor Day island getaways from Wanderfly

Labor Day is fast approaching along with the official end of summer. If you haven’t had enough sun yet, maybe it’s time for one more weekend of lying on the beach, fruity cocktail and fun book in hand? We asked our friends at, a web travel tool that helps you choose a vacation spot, for some Labor Day island getaways offering deals for the long weekend.

Domestic: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head is a 45-minute drive from Savannah, Georgia (one of our favorite romantic destinations), with miles of public Atlantic beaches, dolphin cruises, and renowned golf courses. Not bringing your private yacht? ResortQuest will pay for your gas ($150 credit card) on Labor Day stays of 3 nights or more, plus free tennis and discounted golf.

Caribbean: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Feeling decisive? If you can book by tomorrow, you can save 35% on stays at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas. They’ll also throw in a free sunset sail and cocktails at their beach bar. Summer is the low season for most Caribbean islands, but a tropical weekend knows no season. Check out more of Wanderfly’s picks for St. Thomas here.

Europe: Iceland
So Iceland might not be known for sandy beaches or fruity cocktails, but relaxing in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon works pretty well too. Iceland Air is offering a free stopover in Iceland on flights booked to European cities such as Stockholm and Amsterdam. Just have time for one destination? Reykjavik is only about 5 hours from the East Coast with direct flights from New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and Orlando, as well as Minneapolis and Seattle.

If you’ve had enough sun, Wanderfly has plenty of other travel ideas. Visit their site and tell them what you’re looking for (with interests from art to extreme adventure) and how much you want to spend and they’ll give you personalized recommendations. Stay tuned for more Labor Day travel ideas on Gadling.

Hilton Head Island photo courtesy Flickr user Lee Coursey.

Video of the day: Reykjavik, Iceland

So there’s this guy I met while living in New York, Dave Pinke. He’s one of those really cool guys with a really cool taste in music and things that look good. He even has a really cool taste in where to go when he travels. When Dave started compiling video footage from his journeys and making fun music-themed videos for me, and, well, everyone else, I was excited. And I’m still excited. I’ll share his videos with you when I get the chance. Here’s one of my favorites from his trip to Reykjavik, Iceland.

Reykjavik from Dave Pinke on Vimeo.

Five travel suggestions for Julian Assange of Wikileaks

If you were just let out of solitary confinement after having wandered the globe, where would you go? Now, let’s make it complicated: what if you were one of the most controversial figures on the planet?

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is now out on bail, and for now, he’s staying in the United Kingdom. But, there’s some doubt on how long he’ll be there, since the charges on which he’s being held may not be crimes there (though they are in Sweden, which is the country that wants him).

Well, he’s been granted bail, which means he’s out of solitary confinement but that his ability to travel is still constrained. If he winds up free of the charges against him in Sweden, Assange will probably want to hit the road for a bit and enjoy his newfound mobility … and Gadling is ready with some options.

Here are five travel alternatives for Julian Assange if he beats the rap (please forward this to Assange if you know him):

1. Washington, D.C.: given that he gets a lot of material from our nation’s capital, he could double it up as a work/pleasure trip. Nothing beats multitasking!

2. Reykjavik: Iceland has its own problems; I strongly suspect they don’t give a damn about any emotional or historical baggage that Assange will stuff into an IcelandAir overhead compartment.

3. Pyongyang: The U.S. State Department isn’t particularly active there, which means Assange will be able to vacation in relative peace. Even better, he could go to the Majong Bathing Resort and relax on the beach for a bit.

4. Back in time: since Assange’s lawyer claimed he was being “held in Orwellian conditions,” maybe he should revisit 1984 to see just how accurate the claim is.

5. Stockholm: nothing is as satisfying as delivering a big ol’ F*** YOU in person to the people who wanted to detain you.

Assange can’t really go anywhere until his next court appearance, which is on January 11, 2011. So, he’ll be in the London area for a while especially with curfews and a daily 6 PM check-in at the police station (I wonder if there’s a badge for that on FourSquare …).

If you know Assange, please send him this link with a few ideas on how he can spend his time.

[Via Business Insider, photo by Mataparda via Flickr]

Germans give Iceland a reason to brag, Italians not so much

The past few years haven’t been all that kind to Iceland. After practicing a uniquely aggressive form of finance – maybe it should have been called “Viking derivatives” – the country felt massively the effects of the global financial crisis, screwing things up for British depositors who were parking their cash in these arctic savings accounts to score double-digit interest rates for (supposedly) no risk. Then, the country had to deal with the implications of a volcanic eruption this past spring. It’s hard to find a silver lining in that volcanic cloud.

Nonetheless, the tourist season is being declared a success. Spinning adversity into triumph, Icelandair CEO Birkir Hólm Gudnason believes the volcano‘s blast could have a long-term upside for the country’s tourism business.

Meanwhile, the hoteliers are finding ways to be bullish in the near term. Laufey Helgadóttir claims to be happy with the summer, saying it could be better than last year, thanks in large parts to German tourists who are sticking to their travel plans. Italians, unfortunately, seem to be canceling. Notes Helgadóttir: “[W]e won’t complain after this tourist summer.”

[photo by Deivis via Flickr]

Tourists flock to erupting Iceland volcano

A recent volcanic eruption in Iceland has proven a much-needed shot in the arm for country’s tourist industry. The Fimmvorduhals Volcano in Southern Iceland began pouring molten lava late last month, Iceland’s first volcanic eruption since 2004. Although the initial eruption triggered evacuations of nearby residents, the event was minor enough to allow most locals to return home. A steady stream of visitors has soon followed.

The volcano, which lies approximately 125 kilometers east of the capital Reykjavik, has proven to be quite a sight. Not only does the lava-spewing eruption make for a dramatic show, it also happens to be set among two massive glaciers. The eruption has also triggered a stream of visitor activity in the region. A hiking trail leading the volcano was reopened, another company is offering bus tours, and the nearby Hotel Ranga has seen a surge in new bookings.

You can check out a photo gallery of the volcano, in all its erupting glory, here.