As the lazy days of summer come to an end, it's time to fit in one last vacation before demanding fall schedules take over. And Labor Day weekend is a great time for an escape.
If the beach is calling your name, perhaps the perfect getaway is a weekend cruise to the Caribbean. Or, maybe staying local and exploring your own backyard would be your ideal.
Regardless of whether you're the indoor type or you're looking for something to do outside, CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg has the perfect advice for you to plan and celebrate the unofficial end of summer.
Planning a vacation under a time crunch can be quite stressful in terms of finding a desirable destination that offers affordable deals.
Greenberg says the key to booking a quick getaway is asking the right questions, such as, "Can my kid stay and eat for free? Will you throw in free parking? Can you get rid of that dreaded resort fee?"
"Nine out of 10 times, all of that is negotiable," he said. "It's on the table. But if you don't ask, you don't get. It doesn't just go to the internet in terms of how you make your booking."
Travel has been redefined by the number of destinations that are available to tourists across the globe. You don't necessarily have to look for a direct mode of transportation anymore to get to your final destination — the best deals may pop up in layover itineraries. In most cases, airlines offer great deals on connecting flights between their home city hubs.
"(You could go) anywhere, because right now, we have airline connections worldwide that will get you there," Greenberg said. "You go through those cities and get great deals."
Don't get discouraged if you're feeling constrained by children or concerned about paying top dollar for transportation. The options for travel are limitless!
Plan ahead for next time
Picture this: It's 5 o'clock on Thursday, just before Labor Day weekend kicks off. Your cellphone rings. It's your significant other on the line, asking about travel plans for the long weekend. The conversation quickly goes south when you realize procrastination took over. You've dropped the ball on planning the trip you've been talking about for months.
So, if you find yourself in this situation, or something similar, what should you do?
Don't fret — we've all been there at one point or another. Instead, start making travel plans for the following year in order to avoid making the same mistake.
"If you want to plan ahead, you don't necessarily have to plan 330 days out," Greenberg said. "You can plan 45 days out and still get a great deal."
There are many benefits to planning your vacation in advance, one being discounts on accommodations. Airfare, hotel and cruise sales have gone down across the board.
"There's no more seasonality with travel," Greenberg said. "One of the reasons for that is we've seen the rise of low cost, low fare, long-haul carriers that have increased their capacity to the United States by 61 percent. That's a lot of empty seats. That's a lot of excess cabins that are coming to the market."
One thing's clear — it's a buyer's market, virtually all year long. Take advantage of the discounts!
The perfect staycation
If you're in need of a summer escape, a "staycation" might be right up your alley — especially if you're not inclined to drive or fly long distances.
You don't have to actually leave town to get away. Cities tend to clear out on the weekends during the summer, especially on Labor Day weekend. So, no matter where you're located within the country, you're bound to tap into a gold mine of deals while planning the perfect staycation.
"It's all about the law of supply and demand," Greenberg said. "Local city hotels see their occupancy drop from 80 percent down to 20 percent. They can't close."
"They have pools, they have spas, they've got great restaurants," he added. "The discounts are anywhere from 40 to 60 percent off what they would charge during the week."
Traveling within a 30-mile radius of your hometown could perhaps be the most enjoyable way to pass time and relax. After all, what's better than a little peace and quiet?