Labor Day Travel Demand Soars with Bookings on the Rise, AAA Reports
Labor Day weekend is set to be a bustling time for travel, as the demand for flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises has surged, according to AAA. Domestic trips are up 4%, while international getaways have seen a staggering increase of 44%.
International hotel bookings have experienced a significant spike, rising by 82% compared to the same period last year. The cruise industry is also catching up, with international cruise bookings jumping by 44%.
Notably, travel app Hopper projects that around 20 million seats will depart from US airports over the Labor Day weekend, marking a 14% increase from last year. The international capacity is also expected to swell by 10%.
To accommodate the influx of travelers, airports are bracing for a hectic Friday, with an estimated 3.7 million people set to take off. On the flip side, Monday is expected to be the busiest day for return travel, with 3.6 million people departing on that day.
Bob Pishue, an analyst from INRIX transportation, advises travelers to plan their journeys cleverly to avoid traffic congestion. Early mornings or late evenings are recommended to steer clear of prolonged traffic. Specifically, the worst time to travel on Saturday is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Monday, it is between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
When it comes to ticket prices, domestic flights are more affordable this Labor Day, with an average round-trip cost of $226. This is down 11% from last year and 20% lower than the prices observed in the pre-pandemic Labor Day weekend of 2019. Flights to Mexico and the Caribbean are also experiencing downward price trends, averaging between $350 and $430, which is a 10% decrease compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, European airfare remains somewhat elevated, averaging $1,132 per ticket. However, it has seen a drop of nearly 10% from 2022 levels.
While hotel stays have seen price increases, with an average nightly rate of $215, representing a 2.8% rise from last year, rental car prices have taken a dip. Rental car rates have declined by 14.5% from last year, with an average daily rate of $41.
With these insights, travelers can make informed decisions about how and when to travel this Labor Day weekend.
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