Guest Author - Christine Wilcox
Ah, Labor Day - for lots of folks, Labor Day is the time of year when they bid goodbye to Summer and sun, and take one last trip to a time-honored family spot, like Kellerman's in Dirty Dancing. For others, it's three days of yard work and cleaning to get ready for winter. And yet for others - like me - there are no traditions, and if all goes well, the house work will be done, leaving me three days of "what can I possibly do?"
Since we're still well ahead of the 14-day window for booking flights, my first inclination is to head to Southwest.com - just to see what options may be available. A cheap ticket to Oakland, perhaps, for a few days in Napa Valley? My big rule for 3-day weekends, I don't look to go anywhere that will take me longer than 3 hours on a plane. I simply do not want to spend my vacation days in airports more than anywhere else. So my options - with Boise as an epicenter - are California, Arizona, Denver, Salt Lake (which is easily drivable, too), or Washington state.
But speaking of driving, what are my options there? Again, like my three hour flight rule, I also have a rule about driving, because I know me and I know that my stamina for driving long distances is not phenomenal. My ability to sleep in a car is unparalleled, however, so I either need to keep the trip to about six hours or less, or I need to plan for a driving companion. The good news on that is, there are plenty of places within reasonable driving distance. West Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Portland, Salt Lake City, my hometown of Idaho Falls, or even into Nevada - my ghost town geek could be fulfilled!
Remember, however, that Labor Day trips need a fair amount of planning, because lots of other folks are hitting the roads to your favorite spots. Get a hotel room ahead of time to ensure you have a place to stay wherever you go, should you need one. Have a GPS so you don't waste time trying to find your way around if you're trekking to unfamiliar territory, unless that's something that you want to do. Lastly, if you're flying, get to the airport 2 hours before your planes, because holiday travel weekends are unlike anything else.