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Making the Most of a Last-Minute Labor Day Deal

There are still deals to be had over Labor Day weekend -- even in major cities -- if travelers are flexible with their schedules.

Hotels see a large share of their business over Labor Day weekend come on Friday and Saturday night -- so rates are higher on those nights. But staying an extra night might actually put money back in the wallet. Here's why:

Because most travelers don't extend their trip to include Sunday night or even Monday night, and because business travel on the night of Labor Day will be noticeably lighter than the average Monday, hotel rates in places like New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Chicago can be hundreds less than before or after this period. This soft spot between the end of summer vacation and the beginning of the "back-to-work" business travel pickup can last through Sept. 12 in some markets.

It's also worth checking to see if the hotel has a third- or fourth-night free option that can bring the average nightly room rate down considerably.

The other advantage of changing a travel schedule to include Sunday or Monday night of Labor Day weekend is that it allows one to take advantage of last-minute fares from major carriers such as United and American. The last-minute fares, released Tuesday on select routes, require a Saturday or Sunday departure and a Tuesday return in most cases this week. Those flying on those dates will save money and deal with fewer crowds and lines at the airport.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, New York
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
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Andrew Young