Labor Day Travel Delays, Top Destinations, and Trends to Expect This Year

Amy Stewart

Labor Day is tied with Memorial Day as the second biggest summer travel holiday. July 4th is the most popular, to no one’s surprise. With Labor Day approaching quickly, we got data from some of the biggest travel companies on where the most popular destinations will be for the holiday this year.

Depending on which platform you book through, the busiest location will change. According to data shared with Thrillist from Vacasa, about 25% of US travelers are planning a quick getaway, and most are looking for a waterfront destination. The most popular destinations for travelers booking through Vacasa are Ocean City, Maryland, Destin, Florida, and Gulf Shores, Alabama.

While Airbnb doesn’t show the same cities as Vacasa, its list of most popular destinations for LDW seems to fit in with the trend that most people are looking to spend the last long summer weekend somewhere by the water. Here are the most popular destinations, according to Airbnb:

  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Tampa, Florida
  • North Kingstown, Rhode Island
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • San Francisco, California
  • Reno, Nevada
  • Saint Petersburg, Florida
  • North Charleston, South Carolina

The popularity of these domestic locations lined up with data gathered by Travelers heading out for Labor Day Weekend spend about 60% less than trips scheduled for other times of the year. It may be the summer’s last hurrah, but with inflation and a pending recession, most people don’t want to make it their bank account’s final hurrah too. The average cost of a Labor Day trip cost around $2,400, according to Squaremouth.

These locations listed by Vacasa and Airbnb also make more sense considering that they are all pretty accessible by road. Squaremouth found that weekend travel bookings are down by 30% compared to last year—the cost of gas and the chaos of flying have discouraged many people from venturing out. Squaremouth noted a 92% increase in travelers looking for “Travel Delay” coverage, meaning people are anticipating travel hiccups from earlier this year.

No matter your Labor Day weekend plans, you can anticipate that waterfront locations, especially those listed above, will be more popular. But maybe with fewer travelers venturing out, you’ll at least be able to deal with less traffic.

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