There’s still time to get away for Labor Day weekend.
“If you waited and you still don't have a trip, it doesn't mean that you can't find something within your budget,” Steve Sintra, regional director of North America at Kayak, told Yahoo Money. “It might take a little bit of flexibility, but it doesn't mean you can't get a quick two- or three-day getaway in for an affordable price.”
Regardless of where you celebrate the unofficial end of summer, there are ways to make your travel budget stretch.
Be flexible on timing. Sintra recommends breaking the conventional timeline of Friday to Monday and augmenting your plans to find the savings.
“Flying out on Saturday and returning on Tuesday when median airfare runs about $219,” he said.
Also consider delayed gratification and opt to travel the weekend immediately following Labor Day. Sintra said that “median airfare is about 22% lower the following on September 6 - 9 as compared to Labor Day that falls on August 30 - September 2.”
In any case, data shows that Thursday is the most expensive day to fly.
Set up a price alert. If you already have a destination in mind, set up a price alert and chart how the fare has fluctuated. Based on trends, you’ll be able to see the cost trajectory and make an informed decision about when to lock down the cheapest rate.
End destination indecision. When deciding the locale for your next vacation, the struggle is real for the perpetually indecisive. Sintra suggested using Kayak Explore, where you can input a few parameters like your origin and a range of travel dates and budget. Kayak then whittles down the four corners of the globe to find a destination at the right price.
Make the most out of 72 hours. To make sure you spend more time relaxing on vacation than sitting on a plane, commit to searching destinations that are a four-hour flight (or less) from your origin.
“The best way to take advantage of a long weekend is to find a destination that is only a few hours away from home,” Sintra said.
Hot destinations this year
Martha’s Vineyard — where Barack and Michelle Obama are reportedly buying a $15 million on a vacation home — is the top trending destination for Labor Day weekend this year, according to Kayak.
The following have all more than doubled in search volume from last year:
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Panama City Beach, Florida
Santa Barbara California
Key West, Florida
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina
Stephanie is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.