Labor Day marks the official end of
Summer vacation. All too soon, schools will be back in session, temperatures will start to drop, and storefronts will begin replacing sundresses and tank tops with Fall boots and cozy sweaters. But before you say goodbye to the year's warmest season, there's still time to plan an epic Labor Day vacation and soak up as much Summer sun as possible. If you've yet to plan a getaway due to tight funds, don't worry, frugal traveler! It's not too late to map out an unforgettable trip without maxing out your credit card. Whether you're jet-setting with friends or family, or flying solo, the following 10 wallet-friendly destinations are sure to satiate your wanderlust without the steep price tag. Let's go out with a bang, Summer 2018!
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New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy might be famous for its massive Mardi Gras celebration, but its vibrant nightlife continues to rage all year long — but for much lower rates than in springtime. Even if boozy Bourbon Street isn't your jam, the city's stunning architecture and world-class food will knock your socks off. Bonus: research from Kayak shows that even when booking the week of Labor Day, the median airfare to NOLA is incredibly affordable at $149 per ticket. Sure, it will most likely be sweltering hot, but Old Man Winter will be here before we know it, so we'll take all the sun we can get! Cancun, Mexico
What screams Summer more than white sandy beaches, glittering blue and emerald waters, and another margarita under the sun? With Summer winding down, many Cancun hotels offer fantastic last-minute Labor Day deals, but you can also find
exceptional prices on Airbnb, like entire beachfront apartments for as low as $64 per night. Pair that with $213 median airfare (according to data from Kayak), and you have the perfect recipe for a sizzling deal on a dreamy holiday escape. National Parks
Camping in one of the
US's stunning national parks will always be a cost-effective trip, and with the colder months quickly approaching, Labor Day might be one of your last chances to sleep under the stars. Road-tripping to a nearby park will save you tons on airfare, and luckily, the country is filled with them.
Super into the idea of exploring the great outdoors but not so thrilled about sleeping in a tent? You can still score stellar deals on park-adjacent vacation homes, complete with hot tubs and huge patios! Check out this
list from HomeAway. Ski Towns
Come January, the price of lodging in your favorite ski towns is bound to skyrocket, but in the Summer, the rates tend to be a lot more reasonable. And although you won't be able to hit the slopes, there is an abundance of other adrenaline-packed activities to fill your time. Hike, fish, raft, canoe . . . or simply take in the breathtaking views that surround you.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
If you're in search of a wallet-friendly family retreat, this colorful mountain town in Eastern Tennessee is brimming with activity. Hike one of the many trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (and try to find one of the massive waterfalls), bike along the Riverwalk Greenway, or take the kids tubing down Little Pigeon River. There are tons of
cozy cabins that sleep four or more people on Airbnb in the $100 to $150 range. Memphis, Tennessee
Another affordable gem in Tennessee is the cultural mecca of Memphis, touted as the home of blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll. Stroll down Beale Street ("America's Most Iconic Street") for live blues and eat some of the freshest barbecue of your life. For the families, attractions like the zoo and Mud Island Riverwalk are always hits with the kids, and for adults, the eclectic after-dark scene is abuzz with live music and some of the coolest nightclubs in the country. Bonus: Kayak data shows median airfare to Memphis is currently $131.
Even if you wait until the very last minute to book a long weekend getaway, you can still be sipping on piña coladas on a beautiful beach in no time. Kayak found that the median airfare of a flight to Puerto Rico when booked the week of Labor Day is still well under the $300 mark. And with oceanside suites renting for as little as
$55 per night on Airbnb, your dreamy late Summer escape won't make a huge dent in your wallet, either. Get ready for three days of exploring mountains, waterfalls, and dense rainforests — or if you'd rather spend all weekend basking in the sun, there's no shame in that, either. Texas Hill Country Wineries
When it comes to wine tasting in the US, your mind might be conditioned to immediately think West Coast. But the rest of the country is quickly catching on to Texas's (not so) best-kept secret — Hill Country is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the country, and currently boasts more than 50 wineries, sans Napa Valley prices. And with median airfare into Austin at a remarkably low $149, you could be sipping on a crisp Viognier before you know it.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The beginning of September is the ideal time to visit this stunning resort town on a budget, and
Airbnb listings will back that claim up. Imagine yourself relaxing in a beachfront suite with panoramic ocean views for just over $60 per night or sipping Rosé in your private pool for only $86 per night. Labor Day rates are incredibly low right now for this Pacific Coast oasis, and for the icing on the cake, Kayak data is showing a median airfare of $270 when booking the week of the holiday. Portland, Maine
Perched on a peninsula peppered with cliffs, bluffs, and lighthouses, this idyllic seaside city offers all the appeal of more expensive New England coastal towns but at much more affordable prices. Given its Northern position, the weather won't be temperate for long, so Labor Day is the perfect time to explore this historic city. Be sure to visit the Western Promenade with sweeping river and mountain views!