by Terry Gardner
This Labor Day weekend, Americans aren’t just piling in the car for a quick road trip; many are grabbing their passport for an international getaway.
When Kayak, a travel search engine, analyzed its flight data for Labor Day travel (including the dates Sept. 1-8, 2016), it made some interesting discoveries about where most Americans hope to kiss the summer goodbye. The flight searches analyzed were made between Mar. 1 and July 15, 2016.
Although sunny beaches beckon many, others hope to cash in on Brexit, this summer’s referendum in which U.K. voters opted to leave the European Union. The chief effect of the vote for U.S. travelers has been to make the exchange rate between our dollar and the British pound one of the best rates seen in many years (one British pound is currently worth $1.31).
When I visited London last summer, a pound was worth closer to $1.50 USD, and in 2008 I remember feeling the pinch when the pound was worth close to $2 USD. In other words, the U.K. is basically on sale. Kayak’s statistics show that Americans living in Maine, Michigan, Tennessee and Oregon are longing for London, while those who reside in Massachusetts and Georgia are being drawn to Dublin.
Travelers ready to escape Washington, D.C., were searching for airfare deals to Havana while São Paulo beckoned Floridians and Pennsylvanians. And folks in Indiana and Minnesota are interested in trips to Calgary, Alberta and Montreal because one Canadian dollar is worth 77 cents in U.S. currency. Similarly, Quebec whets the Labor Day travel appetite of residents in New Mexico.
Californians, meanwhile, continue to march to the beat of a different drummer. Taipei capturing their fancy with a growth of 426 percent in flight searches to that destination. Americans living in New York were focused on an early September getaway to Korea with a 184 percent spike in Seoul flight searches.
U.S. cities that are catnip to some travel cats include: San Diego (Alabama, Idaho, Montana and Vermont), Dallas (Alaska, Kentucky, New Hampshire and West Virginia) and Orlando (Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming). Other Florida cities in the Labor Day mix are Tampa (Arkansas), Valparaiso (North Carolina) and Key West (Ohio).
Last Minute Escapes?
The best flight deals on Kayak and other flight search engines are usually two weeks out. By using Google Flights, however, I was able to find some roundtrip flight deals out of LAX to Salt Lake City, Denver and Juneau for between $300-$450 for next weekend, leaving Saturday and returning on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
John DiScala aka Johnny Jet says: “Don’t forget to check Southwest because you won’t find the airline on Google Flights. Look at secondary cities too. If you want to go to south Florida, don’t look at Miami, look at Ft. Lauderdale. If you’re coming to Los Angeles, you can fly into LAX, Long Beach or even John Wayne Airport.” If you want to visit the Bay Area, he adds, don’t forget that you can fly into SFO, Oakland or even San Jose.
Note: All conversions were calculated using the currency converter from Oanda.
Terry is a freelance journalist who contributes to several newspapers (print and online) and websites, including the Los Angeles Times Travel, Chicago Tribune Travel, Dallas Morning News, Travel Weekly and Global Traveler. She writes a syndicated monthly travel app column for Chicago Tribune and is passionate about travel, the environment, wildlife, scuba diving and adventure.