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It’s been a boom year for travel thus far (to put it mildly) and the upcoming Labor Day weekend period will prove no exception. If heading out of town to celebrate this September holiday, which traditionally marks the unofficial end of summer, prepare yourself for more intense crowding and congestion than last year.
Newly released AAA data shows that travel bookings are up across the board when compared with the same period in 2022. U.S. domestic bookings for flights, hotels, cruises and rental cars are up four percent, while international bookings have increased by 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.
A uniquely American holiday, Labor Day is big among road trippers who are headed to some place out of town to bid a final farewell to the summer season and kids’ school breaks. Before packing up the family and the car for several hours spent in traffic, you may want to take a look at AAA’s projections on the best time to hit the road, some of which will depend upon your origin point and destination.
“Most travelers will leave on Thursday or Friday to take advantage of the long holiday weekend,” said Senior Vice President of AAA Travel, Paula Twidale.
Family celebrating Labor Day with an outdoor picnic. (Source: iStock/Getty Images/fstop123)
“The best times to travel by car over Labor Day weekend are early in the morning or in the evening,” Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, said in the release. “If you must travel during heavy traffic, navigation apps and local departments of transportation can help steer drivers around long delays.”
INRIX, the global transportation data and insights provider that works with AAA on its holiday travel projections, said that itanticipates Thursday, August 31 between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to be the busiest time on the roads during the long Labor Day weekend. In addition, traffic is expected to have heavier than normal on Friday, September 1, between the hours 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
When road warriors go to fill up at the pump prior to setting off on their trips, they are likely to find petrol prices similar to what they saw at this same time last year. The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.78 on Labor Day 2022. While July gas prices shot up due to a limited oil supply, August has seen them level off a bit and AAA expects prices will remain steady heading into the long holiday weekend.
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Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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