I know what you’re thinking, it’s just price isn’t it?!
Trigger warning. This is a post complaining about Memorial day and Labor day travels. It does not mean that you shouldn’t go! You should! Just… be aware of what appears below. Getting the day off rules, it makes a wonderful long weekend! Be sure to enjoy it, your way.
Here’s the problem with Memorial day and Labor day Travel
Problem #1: The seemingly unexpected Memorial day and Labor day weekends
Labor day and Memorial day can sneak up on you. It’s just one day off tagged onto a weekend so it’s unlikely that you’d be traveling very far even if you add one extra day to the trip it’s just too small an amount of time to really consider.
Most people don’t plan their Memorial day and Labor day vacations far in advance because of that.
Problem #2: Traffic is chaos
Hop in your car, get an early start and you’ll still be stuck in traffic both getting there and coming home. I recall a 2 hour drive taking 6 hours instead on Labor Day weekend. This is what you call vacation, this is what I call hell. Taking a train could be a better option, but still crowded.
Problem #3: If you don’t go, you’ll be the only one
Oh yes, old school peer pressure. Everyone else is going, why don’t you want to go? My wife loves me, but she despises not leaving town on these weekends. Who wants to be the only person that you know who stayed in town for those weekends? If you’re in a couple, at least one of you may feel depressed if you don’t go somewhere. Or one of you may be angry if you don’t go somewhere. Thus, you must adjust.
What would you do at home if you stayed home anyway? Look, this is an article about not loving these 2 weekends so I’m going to answer this question and indulge myself – skip ahead if you like. First I would stay up late, maybe have a few drinks and listen to music. Then I would wake up late, have a big breakfast and dance around the house butt naked before jumping into the shower. A shower that I would enjoy with all of my soul. Then I’d towel off, make a big latte plunk down in front of my Xbox or Playstation and play 1-2 hours of video games followed by taking some time to read a book that I totally wanted to finish at some point. Then it’s lunch time. I would grab my wife and head out for a local lunch at off-hours to avoid crowds. Then I might head to a park for a little walk with my wife. Then back home, because why do I want to be out among all of the tourists for an extended period of time. Back home I would take care of some things I’ve been meaning to get to, things that will make me happy once they are fully complete. Then I would celebrate the fact that I completed them and watch a movie with my wife before settling in for a made-at-home dinner. I do enjoy making a meal so I would like to make it. Then afterwards I would kick back and look forward to doing the same thing the next day. Indulgence is complete!
Problem #4: Too many tourists
Whether you’re looking to do a road trip or take a flight somewhere on those weekends, so is everyone else. There will be traffic, there will be full hotels that cost double what they would any other weekend, and there will be people, lots and lots of people. That’s right, you want to go to the roof of the empire state building? So does everyone else. You want to keep up with the Joneses don’t ya?
That means crowds at all times of the day.
My biggest preference when I travel is to start my day early. Even if I’m tired I want to drag my butt out of bed and get to an activity because I know the earlier I get somewhere the more amazing a time I will have because there’s nobody else to wait behind. You can see this plainly if you go to a big amusement park. Get there right when it opens, run to the ride you most want to go on, then go on it twice, or three times before the line gets long enough for you to actually start waiting.
Crowds are a bummer. Crowds mean that I move slower, I need to wait my turn to get into a location and I often will need to wait to be able to actually see “that thing”, whether it be a Van Gogh painting or a canoe down a remote river, there will be other people there slowing me down.
Ideally, I would go at a time when less crowds would be there. But this is Labor day or Memorial day so I need to go somewhere.
Problem 5: The prices
Yes, since everyone is traveling the prices shoot up. Flights are often 3 times as much as on a less popular weekend. Rental cars have no cheap cars, hotels take you for what you’re worth.
Prices on a Labor day or Memorial day weekend are absurd. When I pay for them, which I do, I realize how I could have simply taken 3 different long weekend vacations instead of going right now. But I digress.
Labor day and Memorial day rip tourists off on hotel stays, flight prices, tour prices, etc.
Problem 6: It’s hot
I know what you’re thinking, it’s labor day or memorial day, it’s supposed to be hot!
Actually, Labor day and Memorial day are bookends in the summer. Memorial day is often one of the first really hot days of the year and Labor day can be one of the last really hot days of the year.
However, with the gut of people that you will be traveling with everyone will be hot. People who are too hot are uncomfortable. People who are too hot are unhappy. Cooling down is not much of an option unless you went to the beach.
Getting to the beach from the lucky parking spot that you found a half mile from the beach with all of your umbrellas, chairs, towels, etc is not a fun experience. Ladies, you can tell your man to get all that stuff. Men, I am sorry. I see you hauling this stuff to the beach and it makes me sad. I see your red, sweaty faces, your naturally drenched t-shirt and your look of terror as you make your way to the beach. Once at the beach finding a place to sit down on this weekend is a whole other task. Your ladies point to where they want to sit and no, it’s not very close to where you entered the beach. So drag this stuff over there, between family X and family Y and then you can sit down for a few minutes. I recommend jumping in the water to cool down, but not everyone is into that.
If you’re not at a beach, great! Perhaps you found your way to a location where you can dip in and out of various stores or coffee houses to get a couple minutes of that sweet air conditioning before venturing out to the next location. Also, dipping into various places means one thing! BUY. Yes, whomever you are with or perhaps yourself will browse the store no matter how horrible it is and someone will pull something out and have to buy it. Only for it to be worn once on the trip and never again. Stores get costly.
If you are not phased by any of that, then awesome! Have a great long weekend! Send me a postcard!