Don't Miss These Last-Minute Labor Day Weekend Getaways!

By The Budget Travel Editors
January 27, 2022
grand lucayan
Courtesy Grand Lucayan

It's not too late! You can still book the ultimate Labor Day weekend getaway. Budget Travel's Senior Editor, Jamie Beckman, talked about these three great last-minute options this week on AMHQ with Sam Champion on The Weather Channel. Here's where you should be heading this weekend.

Miami Beach

Beat the heat by chilling out at the pool (or beach) in Miami. Dance the day away on Sunday at The Shore Club's Reload pool party, where ladies pay $44 for unlimited mimosas and bellinis (men must pay $44 for the brunch plus an additional $20 for unlimited drinks). Take a 30-minute spin on Miami's Citi Bikes for $4 or use them to explore the city longer—one-hour passes are available for $6, two-hour passes for $10, four-hour passes for $18, and full day passes for $24. Looking for a calmer beach experience? Stake out the perfect spot on any of Miami Beach's seven miles of sand. The best part: it's free. Stay at The Congress Hotel South Beach, a classic South Beach Art Deco hotel with a rooftop pool, from $123 per night, or for glitz and glamour, check out, where you can find flash sales on fancy properties like the trendy SLS South Beach from $149 per night.

Henderson, Nevada

Instead of heading to the ocean, escape to the lake near Las Vegas. The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa has a fire pit, kayaking, coves to explore, and even a white-sand beach! With lots of family-friendly activities to choose from (life-size chess anyone?), movies you can watch from the pool, a complimentary shuttle to and from the Las Vegas strip, and rooms from $109 with daily breakfast, you're running out of excuses not to visit this weekend.

Grand Bahama Island

Don't wait, take that dream Bahamas vacation now! The Grand Lucayan resort just rolled out a terrific weeklong sale you won't want to miss: book your trip by Tuesday, Sept. 8th, for travel between now and Nov. 15th, and you'll pay just $90 per night (for a minimum two-night stay) and receive a $125 resort credit. Three pools, a private beach, and a beachside fish fry every Wednesday? Yes, please!

Keep reading

Shoulder Season Bargains for Under $100/Night!

It’s Shoulder Season! The weather’s still great, but the crowds have thinned out at some of our favorite travel destinations. Translation: Luxurious vacations at a discount. Budget Travel’s president and publisher, Elaine Alimonti, shared these three amazing vacations for under $100/night on the Weather Channel’s AMHQ this morning. For 19 more awesome and affordable trips, read 22 Vacations for Under $100/Night. MAUI Visit Maui before mid-Decenber (when the winter crowds arrive) and you can find a stylish steal at one of the island's resorts. You can relax on legendary Ka’anapali Beach, three miles of white sand that’s often been named the most beautiful beach in America; check out Maui’s ultimate must-see Haleakala, a 10,000-foot-tall dormant volcano; and pig out—literally!—at a traditional Hawaiian Luau with kalua pork cooked in an underground imu oven, plus hula performances! STAY: Maui Beach Hotel has rooms from $85 during the week, and you can get 10 percent off by showing your best “shaka sign” (the thumb-and-pinkie finger “hang loose” hand sign) at check in. NEW HAMPSHIRE Here in the east, a fall weekend calls for a New England road trip to see the amazing fall foliage. White Mountains National Forest is one of the best New England leaf-peeping destinations. Bright red foliage should start appearing in New Hampshire around September 15, with peak color usually arriving in early October and lasting into the first half of the month. STAY: 1785 Inn, in the White Mountains, has rooms from $79/night, including full country breakfast. Book a room in winter and you’ll get two complimentary passes for onsite snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. LOS ANGELES Can you keep a secret? Los Angeles's warmest, sunniest beach weather comes in fall—after the summer tourists are gone. Hike in the Santa Monica Mountains by day, dine on perfect seafood right on the beach at sunset at Gladstone’s (where Sunset meets the Pacific Coast Highway) and savor the city’s art collections, which are the finest on the West Coast, including the Getty, the LA County Museum of Art, and the Norton Simon. STAY: While some of L.A.’s swankier hotels can be pricey, but a vacation rental in Silver Lake—LA's hippest neighborhood—can be yours for $98/night from HomeAway. Browse the cool boutiques and delicious food trucks, and stroll over to the Saturday farmers market for fresh food and celebrity spotting.


#BTReads: 'Wine in Words'

Though Wine in Words (Rizzoli, 2015) is a new book, its author, Lettie Teague, has been schooling me on all things wine for more than a decade. Teague and I worked together at Food & Wine, where she was the magazine's wine columnist, and I was blown away by her ability to educate, entertain, and induce authentic lol's while writing about grapes, wineries, bottles, corks, and the fascinating (and sometimes quirky) people who devote their lives to them. Now the wine columnist at the Wall Street Journal, Teague has delivered the one wine book every Budget Traveler should keep on his or her shelf. Wine in Words can be savored one short chapter at a time or consulted as a handy reference on pairings (contrary to longstanding guff, for instance, white wines go better with cheese than reds), demystifying terminology (there's one word you should never use when describing a wine's texture and I'm not going to give it away), and the world's great wine regions (you'll learn, for instance, the lesser-known differences between Napa and Sonoma and what residents of each region say about each other behind their backs). After reading Wine in Words and placing it on my cookbook shelf for frequent re-reading, I asked Teague to share a travel tip for budget-minded oenophiles: "The North Fork of Long Island, to this transplanted Midwesterner, is like that part of the country perfected—rolling fields, farms, and horses but with (quality) wine grapes as well!" Your turn: Tell us what you're reading now by tagging #BTReads on social media! Or let us know below in the comments.


Leaf-Peeping Escapes from NYC!

As lovely as New England's forests and charming small towns are in autumn, the region has not cornered the market on fall foliage. A short road trip or train ride away, the NYC metro area has colors as vibrant as anyplace in America. I shared these four "weekend escapes" with PIX11 Morning News co-host Sukanya Krishnan today: Sleepy Hollow, NY: Yes, that Sleepy Hollow! Trace the ride of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman through the blazing autumn finery of Rockefeller State Park Preserve, take a lantern-light cemetery tour (if you dare), tour Historic Hudson Valley sites such as Washington Irving's Sunnyside and Philipsburg Manor along the river, and chow down at one of the outstanding nearby eateries in Tarrytown. Planting Fields Arboretum, Oyster Bay, Long Island: Sure, we think of beaches when we think of a Long island weekend, but you can make like a millionaire when you stroll the grounds of Planting Fields Arboretum, a Gatsby-esque “Gold Coast” estate and botanical gardens, whose trees burst into full-on autumn colors. Natchaug State Forest, Eastford CT: New Yorkers sometimes forget that New England is closer than it might seem: Northern Connecticut is home to authentically rustic New England forests, including Natchaug State Forest and others, and charming small towns that are close enough for a weekend drive with affordable vacation rentals. New Hope, PA: Just over the Delaware River from New Jersey, Bucks County’s trees light up in autumn, and the town of New Hope, with its galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and artsy vibe, will impress even Manhattanites.  


5 Blissful Spa Week Escapes You Can Actually Afford

At BT, we love indulging in affordable spas when we travel. If you do too, now is a great time to take that relaxing spa vacation you've been dreaming about: October 12–18 is Spa Week, a magical time when mega-expensive treatments—think fancy pumpkin facials and soothing Swedish massages—are offered at deep discounts at luxe spas across the country. Most services are just $50. Where to go? Here are some of our favorite on-sale, decadent, ahhh-inducing treatments in cool vacation destinations across the country to inspire your Spa Week escape—either as a girlfriend getaway or an excuse to take a little solo travel "me time." Prefer a staycation instead? Search for your town at Sign up with your email address to see the deals. 1. Palm Beach Gardens, Florida Spa: Juno Dermatology (3801 PGA Boulevard, Suite 107, Try this deal: 60-Minute Pumpkin Enzyme Facial With Extractions ($50; regularly $125). Because what's more festive in October than a pumpkin facial? Budget Traveler tip: To further boost your circulation, go for a walk, run, bike ride, hike, or canoe trip in Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area, only 10 minutes or so away. Trails and wetland overlooks are open from sunrise to gorgeous sunset. 2. Scottsdale, Arizona Spa: Amethyst Spa at Wekopa Resort & Conference Center (10438 North Fort McDowell Road, Try this treatment: 30-minute Signature Amethyst Facial and 30-minute Yavapai Swedish massage ($50, regularly $190). The hydrating acai berry facial refines and resurfaces skin with vitamins A, C, and D, and you decide whether the full-body theraputic massage should consist of slow, gentle relaxing glides or vigorous and bracing strokes to relieve stress. Budget Traveler tip: Amethyst's Spa Week services come with a complimentary glass of champagne and h'ors d'oeurves, plus access to the spa's outdoor desert-oasis pool area, which has a heated swimming pool and two whirlpools with views of the Sonoran Desert. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, a somewhat mysterious preserve highlighting the ruins of an ancient desert people's community, is about an hour away by car ($5). 3. Chicago, Illinois Spa: Oxygen Spa Studio (400 South Green Street, Try this treatment: Gold Coast mask facial with LED light therapy treatment ($50; regularly $135). The facial lifts, tightens, and boost circulation; the LED treatment plumps skin and treats acne. Budget Traveler tip: The Art Institute of Chicago is less than two miles away from this spa. Admission is free for Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. If you're visiting from out of state and plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, a Chicago CityPass gets you into the institute as well as four other attractions at a discount, plus you get to skip the lines (from $79). 4. Fountain Valley, California Spa: Origins Massage and Bodyworks (18303 Brookhurst St., Try this treatment: Specialty deep-tissue, Swedish, prenatal, sports, or trigger-point massage tailored to your pressure preference, with an enhancement of your choice, including aromatherapy, a blackberry vanilla foot scrub, or peppermint scalp massage ($50; regularly $130)  Budget Traveler tip: Huntington Beach—dubbed Surf City USA—is a 15-minute drive from Fountain Valley. Hang out on the beach or bike along the pier, then grab a treat at a place we can vouch for: On her recent coast-to-coast #BTRoadTrip, Budget Travel Photo Editor Whitney Tressel discovered Sandy's, a restaurant with an ocean view where the Signature S'more is legendary ($7). 5. New York, New York Spa: Ling Skin Care (12 E. 16th Street, Try this treatment: 50-minute charcoal facial ($50; regularly $260) (Bargain alert! That's less than a fifth of the original price.) The treatment begins with a papaya enzyme peel, followed by an herbal clay clarifying mask, a ginseng moisturizing mask, and, finally, the charcoal mask to absorb oil and leave skin smooth. Budget Traveler tip: With more than 50 spas in New York City offering $50 treatments, you can spa-hop all week between legendary names like the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa on Fifth Avenue and hidden gems like Skin Spa, aloft on the fourth floor of a Flatiron District building. When you're sufficiently relaxed, take a leisurely stroll among the fall foliage on the High Line, one of the best free activities in New York City.