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For True Travelers, Labor Day is Not Goodbye

Chances are you’re hitting the road or taking to the skies this weekend. If you’ve had a summer full of weekend getaways like me, you’re probably having mixed emotions. Labor Day is always good for a little R&R (after all, the holiday is all about honoring workers) but because we travelers have come to associate it with the end of summer and the end of our carefree escapes, it’s a little sad too.

But don’t think of Labor Day as the end of summer – think of it is the beginning of an autumn filled with travel possibilities. The Wall Street Journal reports that the week after Labor Day marks the beginning of the off season (read: deals). That’s just one reason why the end of the summer can be a good thing.

Choose Your Own Adventure

China is a fantastic country. China is also an enormous country, and enormous countries equal enormous guidebooks. Seriously, the Lonely Planet China—which I carried around with me for two weeks last summer—comes in at a whopping 1012 pages and weighs close to two pounds. And since I was only visiting Beijing and Shanghai on that trip, meaning I only really looked at two sections of the book with any frequency, I’m estimating that I carried around about 700 pages and a pound and a half more paper than I actually needed.

But there’s good news for travelers with weak upper body strength: Lonely Planet has just come up with a solution to slim down its more portly tomes with a concept it calls the Pick & Mix.

Guerilla Yoga

Through the windows of Ottawa’s Parliament building, senators are likely to see something that you wouldn’t expect on Parliament Hill: a Cobra; a Cat; and a Downward Facing Dog.

If you’re a follower of the ancient tradition of yoga, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Keep in mind, I am no yoga expert, but you don’t have to be an Ashtanga master to know there’s something special about Yoga on Parliament Hill, one of’s Local Secrets, Big Finds. This free yoga class, sponsored by Lululemon Athletica, lures locals to the lawn of Parliament Hill, just along the banks of the beautiful Ottawa River.

Last Stops for Lost Luggage

For all my gripes about flight delays and airline-service slips this summer, I have to admit that when I book a ticket to Rome, I generally end up in Rome. My suitcase’s final destination, on the other hand, is often quite literally up in the air. And since tighter carry-on restrictions have turned my fellow toiletry fiends and me into reluctant bag checkers, it seems inevitable that we’ll face down empty luggage carousels increasingly often.

The only thing worse than the moment you realize your luggage is lost is the process of retrieving it, especially if you’re traveling abroad. And sometimes, your bag permanently checks out, never to be seen—or stowed—again.

Unusual Hotels: Sleeping Outside the Box

When I travel, I tend to book accommodations on a just-somewhere-to-sleep basis. This is for three reasons: first, I’d rather get it over with and spend more time planning things to do or, more importantly, what and where and how often to eat; second, it saves me money; and third, it’s a good way to make myself feel better about not having a single excuse to set foot in a five-star hotel, save visiting the lobby restroom. “Oh, it’s just somewhere to sleep,” I tell myself. And usually, it is.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member Jason Elite