Tom Diecks, president of Greater Pittsburgh Travel, said that while Labor Day is a great time to enjoy a long weekend -- and the start of football season -- it is not a great time for travel agents.
"Anytime you have that extra day, people will try to incorporate vacation. But Labor Day coincides with kids going back to school, so there are not a lot of requests for travel as there are for Fourth of July or Memorial Day," he said.
Still, AAA is predicting a lift in Labor Day travel -- the period defined as today through Monday -- from last year.
AAA President Robert L. Darbeinet said the increase is expected because of "the increasingly positive economic outlook and optimism in the housing market."
Will the federal holiday that celebrates the contributions of American workers -- and symbolizes the end of summer -- mean one last celebration of sun and fun for many?
Jennifer Wachs, 43, a South Allegheny Elementary School teacher, will be one of the 34.1 million Americans that AAA predicts will journey 50 miles or more from home this weekend -- a 4.2 percent increase from the 32.7 million who traveled last year.
Mrs. Wachs, of Forward, and her family will drive to their destination, so they also will be among the 85 percent of travelers going by car.
The family will spend the weekend at a Lost Mountain campsite in Laurel Hill in the Allegheny Mountains in Somerset County.
"It is the last hurrah of summer and gets you in the mood for fall with all the park festivities and change of seasons," Mrs. Wachs said of her Labor Day trip.
Since it is only a 1 1/2-hour drive, gas prices will not be much of a factor for the family, but AAA noted that they will pay slightly less than a year ago. AAA said the current average price of a gallon of regular gas in the nation this week is $3.54, 21 cents lower than last year.
Air travel also is expected to increase -- up 3 percent from Labor Day 2012 to 2.61 million Americans.
Angeline Frenie, an agent with Worldview Travel in Mt. Lebanon, said travelers like to take advantage of the extra day to hop flights from Pittsburgh to places such as Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and the many Mexican resorts.
Some locals, however, said their destination for the long weekend will be "porchville."
Retired electrician Jim Wilson, 62, of Bethel Park, said he usually celebrates the holiday with friends and family at a Sunday cookout so that out-of-towners can fly back home on Monday.
Brian Ashton, 26, also of Bethel Park, plans to relax from his weekly labors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center by staying home and watching a ballgame.
For Joe Scarillo, there is no place like home for the holiday -- especially when it entails a barbecue and beers with fellow football lovers.
"We go at the beer and football like we're teenagers again," said Mr. Scarillo, 55, of Bethel Park, who works in security.
Georgeann Kleckner, 75, of Whitehall, said she is staying at her Conneaut Lake summer home and plans to welcome family members to a Saturday picnic by the lake. Then, she and her visitors will drive home on Monday.
That will make them part of the 43 percent of travelers who intend to return from their Labor Day trip on Monday, AAA said.
Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: email@example.com.