Between beach weekends and family outings, it’s easy to let summer slip away without planning a Labor Day weekend getaway. Later is better than never, though, thanks to these last-minute hotel deals and surprise airfare savings.
Editor’s note: For the most current version of this story, see 10 Cheap Labor Day Weekend Getaways for 2019.
Affordable Labor Day Weekend Getaways 2018
Here are the best places to take a last-minute advantage of your day off this year—without breaking the bank.
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St. Louis, Missouri
Always affordable and home to beloved barbecue, music, and the newly reopened Gateway Arch, St. Louis is even better as a Labor Day weekend getaway thanks to the annual Big Muddy Blues Festival that falls on the holiday weekend each year. Beyond blues music, the city offers plenty of craft beer and spirits to sample, a rising culinary scene, bike-able outdoor spaces, and green parks to explore. Budget hotels in St. Louis average at just $105 per night, and St. Louis flights are forecasted to be some of the most affordable airfare for Labor Day by KAYAK from $131 roundtrip when you book three weeks out.
Hotel savings at the Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta Hotel include a summer sale of 20 percent off two nights or more when you book by August 8th, for travel through September 3. The property also offers a ‘Rosé All Day’ package that includes two bottles of wine and $100 in credit to the hotel spa. For families, the hotel also offers a cinema package with movie theater tickets, parking, and breakfast included.
Feeling ambitious enough for a Caribbean Labor Day weekend getaway? Spirit has budget flights to both Montego Bay and Kingston, and Jamaica marks the holiday with plenty of hotel deals. Rooms at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa are on “Summer Sale” through September 14th, offering 45 percent off of room rates and a complimentary airport transfer to the all-inclusive.
Or get away from the island’s big hotels of Montego Bay with treehouse style villas at the Sunset at the Palms Hotel in Negril, which are half off through Labor Day. Bluefields Bay Villas in Jamaica’s countryside is also offering 30 percent of all villas starting at $540 per night, per two-bedroom villa. These open-air villas offer expansive sea views, infinity pools, butler and maid service, and a chef—a value-packed option perfect for families or two couples.
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Escaping the city for wine country relaxation doesn’t have to be pricey if you know where to look. Swap Sonoma for SoCal and head to Temecula, California, which is home to more than 40 wineries. Temecula is about an hour from both San Diego and Orange County—which means there are multiple airport options for this Labor Day weekend getaway.
Deals from local businesses on activities like wine tastings and private horse-and-carriage rides are available from the tourism board, and nearby hotels like the Courtyard Marriot Temecula Murrieta and Fairfield Inn & Suites Temecula report some of the best value in the area, with nightly rates from $161. Once you’ve had enough wine there’s golfing, antiquing, hiking, and even a family-friendly kids museum to keep you busy.
Finding affordable airfare for a Labor Day weekend getaway is no easy feat. Data from Fareness.com suggests airfare averages for the long weekend have increased across the board from 2017, with only one domestic destination seeing a year-over-year reduction in average flight prices: Puerto Rico. This is likely a result of the damage the island endured during last year’s hurricane season, but for tourism, Puerto Rico is back in action and encouraging travelers to visit.
There are plenty of savings to take advantage of on the island because of this, and visiting is the best way to help Puerto Rico continue to recover from Hurricane Maria, like staying at a locally owned hotel. The O:live Boutique Hotel, known for its lively rooftop bar and 15 sleek rooms in San Juan’s trendy Condado neighborhood, is offering a bottle of wine, chocolates, and daily breakfast for two-night stays starting at $499 per night if you want to up the romance on your Labor Day getaway.
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With multiple airports for flight deals, plenty of free museums, and the National Symphony Orchestra’s free Labor Day concert outside the U.S. Capitol, hotel deals are almost an afterthought when it comes to saving money on a D.C. Labor Day getaway. But the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill is surprisingly affordable for the holiday this year, offering nightly rates from $112. AAA Members can also get 10 percent off the rate and complimentary daily breakfast for two.
Hot summer temperatures make for hot savings in Arizona. Hop a budget flight to Phoenix’s affordable air hub and head to the swanky Scottsdale W Hotel for 50 percent off Labor Day getaway packages. From $258 per night guests can stay cool at the property’s WET Deck, which is hosting a Labor Day pool party featuring a live DJ. Tickets include two cocktails per person and come with the rate.
The equally chic Boulders Resort and Spa, also in Scottsdale, is also offering 65 percent off its usual rates, including spa specials and night activities to stay cool like moonlight bicycling and desert stargazing. For stays through September 3 the Andaz Scottsdale is also waiving its resort fee, with rates from $169 including daily breakfast and four daily drinks at the pool.
An airfare-free option for New Yorkers and New Englanders, Vermont in summer is perfect for a Labor Day weekend before the high-season crowds file in for fall and winter. You can hike, brewery hop, and explore the shores of Lake Champlain while it’s still swimming weather. Hotel Vermont is a sleek, lake-adjacent lodging option complete with free bike rentals. The property’s Romance Package will snag you a top-floor room with a lake view and a whirlpool, and includes a bottle of wine and chocolates from $304 per night for the holiday weekend.
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New Orleans, Louisiana
A wide variety of budget flights to New Orleans combined with the downright cheap hotel rates that precede busy season (fall through spring) makes New Orleans an affordable Labor Day getaway worth springing for. And it means you’ll get there before the crowds: Fareness.com forecasts New Orleans among its top ten fall destinations being searched for airfare right now. KAYAK anticipates flights to be affordable up until the week of Labor Day weekend, though, from $149 round-trip.
The Big Easy hosts its beloved LGBT festival Southern Decadence each Labor Day weekend, and hotel and activity deals for the event are in no short supply. NOPSI Hotel, a new luxe property in the Central Business District right near the festivities, is offering a Summer Days package from $179 per night that includes 30 percent off its brand-new rooms and suites.
If festivals aren’t your idea of a Labor Day weekend getaway, booking the new Navigate NOLA package at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside from $129 means you’ll get a $30 credit for each night, plus exclusive deals on experiences around the city: An included coupon book worth over $200 contains discounts on Bayou swamp tours, Jazz cruises, live music shows, and more.
Cruisers and all-inclusive dwellers can still get to the Bahamas’ white-sand beaches in time for a Labor Day getaway and at shockingly low rates to Nassau: Carnival Cruise Line is offering a three-day cruise from Miami to Nassau on the Carnival Victory from $284 per person. Breezes Resort & Spa is up to 56 percent off thanks to its summer sale—and to keep you busy beyond the beach, the waterfront property boasts three freshwater pools and activities like trapeze, rock wall climbing, kayaking, and windsurfing.
Or, get away from the crowd in more-remote Great Exuma, of the Bahamas Out Islands, where the Grand Isle Resort & Spa (as seen on the 2016 season of The Bachelor) is offering more in savings for the longer you stay for your Labor Day weekend getaway: Three to four nights will get you 15 percent off, five to six means 20 percent, and a week-long stay is 25 percent off.
New Brunswick, Canada
Head to Canada’s maritime province of New Brunswick for rugged wilderness and—Oktoberfest? The beer-hoisting holiday comes early in the village of Bertrand for Oktoberfest Des Acadiens from August 29 through September 2.
Looking for something for the kids? Rates at family-friendly hotels throughout New Brunswick like the Delta Hotel Fredericton average around $150 per night, and the American dollar is still strong—so you’ll get more for what you pay. For an extended trip, the nearby Atlantic Balloon Fiesta brings colorful hot-air balloon flights to the province September 7. The festivities are an airfare-free option for New Englanders, and flights average around $350 from New York.
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SmarterTravel Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Instagram at @shanmcmahon.