Originally celebrated in the name of labor unions and their members, Labor Day has been an official federal holiday since 1894. The United States sets this annual holiday on the first Monday of September, and it is often considered by American workers to be an extended weekend holiday. Whether you’re planning to stay at home and enjoy the extended weekend or intend to take a trip, it’s important to know when Labor Day is in order to be able to plan ahead. Below are the official Labor Day dates for the next few years:

More ideas: Best Weekend Getaways, Best Day Trips

- September 3, 2018

- September 2, 2019

- September 7, 2020

- September 6, 2021

- September 5, 2022

- September 4, 2023

- September 2, 2024

Labor Day is a national holiday, so all government offices, schools, and other institutions are closed. This includes post offices, stock markets, and banks. Exceptions the essential services such as hospitals, airports, and police stations.

Since this is a way for employees to get a three-day weekend, most private businesses are closed as well. The exception, of course, are businesses in the hospitality industry such as hotels, inns, restaurants, and transportation companies. Other establishments that are likewise open on Labor Day include gas stations, drug stores, convenience stores, supermarkets, and retail shops. Whether liquor stores are open on this holiday will depend on the regulations of the state in which they are located.

Let Labor Day be the holiday where you let yourself feel that all your hard work has paid off. It’s only a three-day vacation, though, and that’s not really a lot of time, so you need to plan ahead so that you don’t waste time making decisions while you’re on the go. Of course, there are many other reasons why you should be planning ahead:

Booking everything early is always cheaper, especially as prices tend skyrocket during the holidays or peak season. Considering that almost everyone will be going on vacation, the prices WILL spike if you don’t make reservations soon. This applies to both transportation (i.e. airlines) and hotel reservations.

Again, you’re not the only one planning to make the most of the holidays. This means you’ll be competing with that many people when booking flights and hotels.

Sometimes it’s better to travel by car than by plane, but you might also have to figure out which roads are less prone to traffic congestion. Making these plans ahead of time will make all the difference during your trip.

Speaking of road trips, make sure you make adequate preparations if you’re planning to drive a car to wherever you want to go. You do NOT want to spend your three-day weekend at some random repair shop after your vehicle died in the middle of the road. The more preparations you set, the safer you will also be. You’re also going to want to start your trip with a full tank so that you don’t waste time lining up for gas. Stocking up on gas also means you’ll be avoiding any sudden price hikes during the holidays.

Labor Day Vacation Ideas:

San Francisco - Start your adventure over at Fillmore Street. This is one of America’s top shopping districts, where you can find everything from antiques to clothing. Once you’ve had your fill of bargains, head off to the jazz clubs in the evening for some dinner and entertainment. Head for the Boom Boom Room if you want to dine and chill or the Sheba Piano Lounge if you want a cozier atmosphere. Visit the San Francisco Jazz Heritage Center if you prefer something more educational. If you love film, then don’t miss the Sundance Kabuki Theaters or the Clay Theater.

Of course, don’t forget the Golden Gate Bridge. Remember to bring your camera when you visit this historic landmark.

Detroit - Foodies are going to love Buddy’s Pizza! Here, they can indulge in their taste for deep fried goodness, Detroit style. Once you’ve had your fill, you’ll want to head to the casino or the MGM Grand Detroit for the entertainment of your choice.

Want something more artsy? The Red Bull House of Art is home to a lot of eye-popping pieces. If that’s not enough, the Detroit Institute of Art and the Fox Theatre are worth a visit as well. Are you in the mood for dessert? Try capping the night off with something from the Astoria Pastry Shop. If sweets aren’t your thing, you can try unwinding by taking a good look at Detroit’s skyline by the Detroit Riverwalk.

Denver - If you’re in the mood for something that will get you a little wet, Denver is the place to go. People go there specifically for the rafting at Clear Creek, which is just 35 minutes away from the downtown area. After your raft trip, Idaho Springs is also a must-see, and you can go ziplining there too.

All that adventure will definitely build up your appetite, so go to Root Down for some chow. The food there is quite filling, but you’ll be surprised at how healthy their options are. This place comes highly recommended for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Once you’ve had your fill, go to the Argo Gold Mine Mill – a historical museum that will satisfy your thirst for history and culture.

Don’t leave Denver without enjoying the breathtaking views on horseback! The A&A historical trails offer endless options for beginner and advanced trail riders.

The list of fun destinations can go on and on. The truth is, you can pretty much do whatever you want and go wherever you want on your Labor Day getaway. What’s important is that you carefully plan your trip so that you can make the most of it. Do your research and plan ahead and you’ll get the vacation you deserve.