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Home Vacation Start planning your 2024 weekend getaways around these holiday dates

Start planning your 2024 weekend getaways around these holiday dates

by Staff

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A long weekend away can do wonders for wanderlusters bogged down by the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And many workers may not even need to take time off.

Seven federal holidays fall on Mondays in 2024, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, making them built-in long weekends. 

While not all employers observe every federal holiday, a great deal grant at least some of them off. Many schools close, too. 

Here are all the long weekends travelers can look forward to in the new year and the best times to book and save on those trips.

What are the three-day weekend days in a year?

  • Monday, Jan 1:  New Year’s Day.
  • Monday, Jan. 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday.
  • Monday, Feb. 19: Washington’s Birthday, also known as Presidents Day.
  • Monday, May 27: Memorial Day.
  • Monday, Sept. 2: Labor Day.
  • Monday, Oct. 14: Columbus Day, alternatively Indigenous Peoples Day.
  • Monday, Nov. 11: Veterans Day.

What are the other federal holidays?

  • Wednesday, June 19: Juneteenth.
  • Thursday, July 4: Independence Day.
  • Thursday, Nov. 28: Thanksgiving Day.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day.

When holidays fall on weekends, many employers grant the preceding Friday or following Monday off as the observed holiday. Next year’s holidays all happen to fall on weekdays.

When is it cheaper to travel?

Hayley Berg, lead economist for online travel booking agency Hopper, says midweek flights and hotel stays are generally cheaper than weekends, so travelers who can tack a few extra days onto their trips can save money, but it depends on when they do it.

“Don’t try to add time to your trip before the weekend. A lot of times, you fly out Thursday night, you take Friday off. Monday off makes a it a four-day weekend. You’ll pay a premium,” she said.

“Fly on Saturday and come home on Tuesday or Wednesday if you’re tacking that extra day on because the prices for Thursday and Friday departures are going to be so much higher than if you leave on Saturday,” she continued. “And if you’re staying at a hotel, a Friday and Saturday night stay is a lot more expensive than a Saturday, Sunday, Monday.”

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When should I book my travel?

“If you’re thinking about especially long weekends that are bookended by a federal holiday where a lot of people are going to be traveling, if you’re planning to go domestic, I would say start monitoring prices four or five months in advance,” Berg suggested. 

Price monitoring tools like Hopper’s can alert travelers to the best times to book, which may be later than expected because booking too far in advance can cost more.

“The reason is that airline revenue management systems take into consideration how many seats have been booked, cost of airfare, how many cabin classes have how many tickets booked,” Berg explained. “That far out, there aren’t that many bookings so if you are booking 10 months before your flight, it’s easy for the airline to assume you’re not very flexible. You really want to book this trip and you’re probably willing to pay more.”

She says the sweet spot for domestic airfares is typically one to three months before departure. For international flights, she says prices are lowest three to five months before departure.

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How to get the cheapest travel deals

Flexibility is crucial when it comes to scoring travel deals.

“Oftentimes when we’re looking for vacations, we say ‘I want to fly direct, I want to check some bags,’ whatnot,” Berg said. “If you can be flexible on those things and consider trips that add stops or consider low cost carriers or Basic Economy fares, you can also often get much lower prices than you would for a fare that might include two checked bags or a higher cabin class seat.”

She suggests using online travel agencies to search for the cheapest fares each way, which may be on different airlines instead of a roundtrip on the same carrier.

Being open to different destinations can also save money.

“This one is always tough for travelers when they have their heart set on something, but there are a lot of interchangeable destinations, especially for winter trips because most people are either headed to go skiing and snowboarding or they’re headed to the beach,” Berg said. “So Florida for example, if Miami Beach is too expensive, look on the other coast. Oftentimes you’ll find lower prices for a very similar experience.”

How to find staycation deals

Travelers who want a change of pace without going far from home can watch for staycation savings.

“Hotels, especially in big cities, drop prices at the last minute. Reason being if they don’t sell all of their rooms, they’re competing with all of the other hotels that are one block away that have the exact same offering, so the best thing they can do to try to capture last-minute business is drop prices,” Berg said. “You can often get really good deals for those more last-minute staycations around holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, even long weekends that are more popular for people to head out of the city.”

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