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Travelers ready for holiday.

Labor Day weekend: The last great escape

September 4, 1998
Web posted at: 3:00 p.m. EDT (1500 GMT)

(CNN) -- For millions of Americans, this weekend is the unofficial end of summer, a chance for that last great escape.

It should be a grand finale to the busiest summer ever for the travel industry, with AAA predicting that more than 36 million people will vacation this Labor Day weekend.

"The highest percentage of people go to relatives as well as the beaches and resort areas, and the second most popular destinations are the major theme parks across the U.S.," said Don Needham of AAA.

The majority of Labor Day travelers will travel by car, and this year's holiday won't empty their wallets.

"Gasoline prices are at a nine-year low right now. It is an average of $1.07 per gallon for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline. That's a difference of 18.9 cents a gallon over last year," Needham said.

Those who prefer to fly also may be finding that a Labor Day trip won't break the budget.

"There are a lot of bargains out there. The best advice is pick up a phone and call a travel agent right now, before you lose the opportunity. Some tour operators' products are available up to 24 hours before leaving," said Bob Whitley, president of the U.S. Tour Operators Association.

If you're staying at home this weekend, you might fill your time by planning your next trip. Now is the best time to find the best rates and rooms for the December holidays, according to the experts.

CNN Travel Correspondent Stephanie Oswald contributed to this report.

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