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What can travelers expect this Labor Day weekend? Beach picnics and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Melanie Lieberman

It’s the Friday of Labor Day weekend. Americans everywhere are (or more likely, already have) put up their out-of-office messages, loaded the car with beach towels and a cooler of Coronas, and are headed out to...sit in traffic for the next four to six hours. 

According to AAA, 86 percent of the 35.5 million Americans expected to travel for Labor Day are filling up their gas tanks and taking cars to the beach. And if 2015's Twitter conversations are any indication, they're headed to sandy stretches of oceanfront from South Beach Florida to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and Coney Island in New York, the most-talked about destinations on the platform this time last year.

Not only are travelers eager to soak up the sun quickly, but driving allows them to take advantage of low gas prices: just shy of a dollar less per-gallon than what they paid last year.

Meanwhile, Google has been buzzing with queries for “Labor Day sales” and “last minute Labor Day getaways,” spiking in the past seven days. Regional interest for spur-of-the-moment trips is most evident in New York, California, and Texas.

But if you haven’t made plans yet, you may want to consider joining the 7.4 percent reaching their dreamy beach destinations by air: the skies are likely to be less crowded than the bridges leading toward the coast, and less expensive than usual.

Want to follow the crowd? Data provided by AAA suggests Nassau, Bahamas is the hot spot for American Labor Day travelers, followed by San Juan, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Ft. Lauderdale.

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