SAN DIEGO, Sept. 1, 2015 —Labor Day is a much anticipated federal holiday observed on the first Monday of September every year. Labor Day signals that summer is coming to a close, so many Americans take the weekend as an opportunity to celebrate and travel, but the holiday has a history.
The holiday was born from the hardship and strife experienced by the American workforce of all ages throughout the time of the Industrial Revolution, most of whom labored 12 hours per day, seven days per week. When Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, it provided workers one day off during the year and a glorious three-day weekend to relax and enjoy their families and friends, a victory for the labor movement of its time.
It is estimated that 35.5 million Americans will travel during this coming weekend. Of the millions of American travelers, 30.4 million are expected to travel the roadways by motor vehicle; 2.6 million will be traveling by air, the highest volume of Labor Day air travel since 2007; and 2.64 million will travel by train, bus or boat, according to the American Automobile Association.
Greater overall economic optimism could help explain why Labor Day travel in 2015 is predicted to be the highest it has been in several years.
According to Beth Mosher, a spokesperson for the Chicago-based AAA, “A strong labor market coupled with greater job security and rising home prices have all helped to increase disposable income.”
Lower gasoline prices could also help explain the rise in Labor Day travel this year.
Travelers will go all over the U.S. to participate in a multitude of exciting activities including Labor Day fairs, festivals, concerts, parades and other forms of live entertainment.
Outdoor recreation is also high on the list of favorite Labor Day activities, creating the perfect opportunity for walkers, joggers, hikers, campers and others to enjoy the great American outdoors while visiting lakes, beaches and national parks.
To stay safe while enjoying Labor Day travels, the American Red Cross offers the following safety tips.
Safe Travel Tips
- Carry an emergency supply kit in your vehicle.
- Let someone know your travel destination and route.
- Buckle up and observe speed limits and other travel laws.
- Don’t drink and drive.
Remember to stay hydrated and practice sun safety while enjoying outdoor activities–wear sunscreen, a sun-safe hat, and sun-protective clothing and outerwear.
Make sure to pack human-safe insect repellents when you will be in areas with large flea, tick or spider populations.
Check the weather forecast of your travel destination, be aware of the surrounding temperature and climate changes and prepare for them with weather-appropriate gear.
Most of all make the most of the Labor Day Weekend and the chance to travel to destinations with opportunities for fun, adventure and relaxation.
It would be well to remember that Labor Day is a federal holiday we can all enjoy because of the sacrifices and advocacy of the hard-working Americans who came before us.
Because of their efforts, Americans today have the opportunity to experience a balanced work and family life, more than any American work force ever has before.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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