20
August
2023
|
17:00 PM
America/Chicago

Labor Day: Americans Appetite for Travel Remains Strong

As summer winds down, many Americans are heading out of town. AAA booking data shows Labor Day weekend travel is up over last year: domestic bookings are up 4 percent and international bookings are up 44 percent.

"Labor Day weekend will be the big sendoff to what has been an extremely busy summer travel season," said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. "If you haven't booked your plans yet, you can work with a AAA travel agent to find the best combination of price and availability."

Popular Destinations

AAA booking data shows Vancouver, Rome, London, Dublin, and Paris are the Top 5 international destinations over Labor Day weekend. International hotel bookings for the holiday are up 82 percent compared to 2022 and international cruise bookings are up 44 percent over last year. Canada is popular this time of year because of its cooler temperatures and stunning scenery. Europe has seen a surge in travel all year, with more people eager to see the world again without restrictions.

The Top 5 domestic destinations are Seattle, Orlando, Anchorage, New York and Las Vegas. Seattle tourism has been boosted by the strong demand for Alaska cruises. Florida destinations are popular not only for their beaches and theme parks but also for their cruise ports in Central Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Miami. AAA data shows domestic cruise bookings over Labor Day weekend are up 19 percent compared to 2022.

Gas Prices

Drivers taking road trips this Labor Day weekend will likely see gas prices similar to last year. The national average for a gallon of regular was $3.78 on Labor Day 2022. This summer, gas prices spiked in July because of tight supply and the high cost of oil. The month of August has brought some relief and, barring a major storm in the Gulf of Mexico, prices should remain steady – or even go down – heading into Labor Day weekend.

Extended Vacations

A new survey of AAA travel advisors reveals topics and trends on the minds of travelers this summer:

  • AAA travel advisors are seeing high interest among travelers for ocean and river cruises, plus all-inclusive and guided tour vacations.
  • 64% of AAA travel advisors say travelers who booked extended vacations (at least 14 nights) said having more time to explore destinations was their main reason for taking an extended trip.
  • 83% of AAA travel advisors say the most common concern from travelers over the last 60 days was getting stranded by a delayed or canceled flight.
  • 59% of AAA travel advisors have seen more interest in travel insurance over the last 60 days.

Stranded Motorists

Nationwide, AAA expects to rescue more than 300,000 stranded motorists during the Labor Day holiday weekend. The three most common reasons are flat tires, dead batteries, and lockouts. These could be avoided by having your car inspected before leaving for your destination and bringing an extra set of keys.

AAA advisors say the best way to avoid spending your holiday on the roadside is by getting a full vehicle inspection before your trip.

In the event you do suffer car trouble, here are some important steps to take:

  • Pull as far over on the shoulder as safely possible to create more distance between your vehicle and passing traffic.
  • Turn your hazard lights on so other drivers are aware you are there.
  • If you are able to safely make it to the next exit or stopping point, do so.
  • Call for assistance via phone, website or the AAA Mobile app.
  • Remain with your vehicle as long as it's safe to do so.
  • If getting out of your vehicle, watch the oncoming traffic for a good time to exit, and remain alert and close to your vehicle. Avoid turning your back to traffic whenever possible.

Prevent Collisions

  • Remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on driving.
  • Constantly scan the road ahead. This will help you identify and avoid potential hazards.
  • Move over a lane when approaching a vehicle on the roadside. AAA reminds motorists that a new Minnesota law requires drivers to move over for disabled vehicles with their hazard lights on. If you can't move over, slow down to safely pass.
  • Watch for people on the roadside. People may be in or near a disabled vehicle. Just because you don't immediately see them doesn't mean they aren't there.
  • Be a good passenger. Help identify roadway issues and remind the driver to slow down and move over.

Survey Methodology

AAA sent surveys to a random sample of AAA travel advisors between July 12 and July 26, 2023. 165 AAA travel advisors responded.