Labor Day Travel Expectations Are On Par With 2019 and 2020 Levels

Ocean City, Maryland

The summer 2021 travel season is coming to a close, but the Labor Day weekend and holiday provide one final opportunity for a travel surge. According to a recent Tripadvisor survey, 31 percent of U.S. adults plan to travel this Labor Day weekend. This is level with last year’s holiday weekend travel (32 percent) and not far off from 2019 (35 percent).

Notably, 22 percent of U.S. travelers have not yet decided if they are going to hit the road this Labor Day, according to Tripadvisor. The majority of U.S. travelers have been booking trips last minute, with 70 percent of trips booked on Tripadvisor in the first week of August were for travel within the next three weeks; therefore, it’s possible that many undecided to travel may choose too soon.

Tripadvisor’s Labor Day travel trends include:

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  • Millennials are the most eager demographic to travel, with 38 percent planning a trip for the holiday weekend. Unsurprisingly, Boomers are the most apprehensive, with only 13 percent planning to travel. And 32 percent of Gen X and 31 percent of Gen Z are planning to travel.
  • The most popular check-in date is Wednesday, September 1, 2021, followed by Friday, September 3, 2021, for the week of August 29 through September 6, 2021.
  • Of those traveling this Labor Day, 86 percent will remain domestic, with 45 percent traveling locally (close to home by car/train) and 41 percent traveling domestically (flight within the country). And 14 percent will travel internationally.
  • For accommodations, flexibility remains a top priority for travelers; filters such as free cancellation, pay at stay, and travel safe are among some of the most widely clicked filters on Tripadvisor currently.
  • Beaches and national parks are the top searched attractions.

Tripadvisor also shared the 15 most popular Labor Day weekend 2021 travel destinations as compared to those in 2019. The most popular travel destinations include:

  1. Ocean City, Maryland, in 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2019
  2. Orlando, Florida, in 2021; New York City, New York, in 2019
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2021; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 2019
  4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 2021; Orlando, Florida, in 2019
  5. New York City, New York, in 2021; Ocean City, Maryland, in 2019
  6. Cancun, Mexico, in 2021; Chicago, Illinois, in 2019
  7. Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2021; San Diego, California, in 2019
  8. Miami Beach, Florida, in 2021; Miami Beach, Florida, in 2019
  9. Key West, Florida, in 2021; Cancun, Mexico, in 2019
  10. Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, in 2019.
  11. Panama City Beach, Florida, in 2021; Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 2019
  12. Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2019
  13. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in 2021; Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2019
  14. Chicago, Illinois, in 2021; Niagara Falls, New York, in 2019
  15. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in 2021; Washington, D.C., in 2019

The data provided shows that major cities were more popular in 2019 and outdoor and beach destinations grew in popularity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the trend of visiting large cities still persists this labor day, with New York City and Chicago reemerging as popular destinations.

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