Labor Day Travel 2022: Are Consumers Ready to Get up and Go?

September 1, 2022

Traveling on Labor Day weekend is a long-held tradition among Americans. But every year, the scope of that tradition can change in a variety of ways.  

That’s why we conducted an online survey to explore Labor Day travel plans among US adults aged 18+ within the 360 Travel Community.  

We discovered that travelers ages 18-39 have dramatically different travel tendencies for Labor Day weekend compared to travelers ages 40-54.  

Here’s what we found in our community:  

1. To Go or Not to Go…

Our first point of interest comes from whether these two age brackets choose to travel at all.  

While we discovered that 58% of travelers are planning to head out from home over Labor Day weekend, we also discovered that average skews heavily toward the younger generations.  

More specifically, 74% of 18-39-year-olds are planning to travel, while only 42% of 40-54-year-olds plan to do the same.  

 1.2-planning-to-travel-labor-day

Even with this difference between age demographics, the total percentage of those planning to travel this year is still higher than it was in 2021 (53%), according to a report from The Vacationer. 

For those who are planning to travel, there’s also a broader question to answer — how will they do it? 

2. Hitting the Road or Taking to the Skies?

In our survey, we discovered that 65% of consumers plan to travel in a personal car over Labor Day weekend with only 33% saying their travel plans included a plane.  

This time, we discovered that 18-39-year-olds appear significantly more comfortable with the idea of air travel (41%) than their 40-54-year-old counterparts (19%).  

 2.2-how-are-you-traveling-labor-day

Rental cars were the third most-popular choice, with trains, RVs, and cruises trailing distantly behind.  

These findings presented us with another question — if members of both age brackets planned to travel, why did their preferred methods of travel vary so widely?  

One contributing factor could be the places they want to go.  

3. Is It about the Journey or the Destination?

In our study, we discovered a significant difference in the destinations that 18-39-year-olds planned to visit when compared to 40-54-year-olds.  

Our younger age bracket has a much more varied list of destinations, while the older age demographic focuses on road trips in particular.  

 5.1-traveler-differences

While the younger generation may be looking to go far-and-wide to find the perfect destinations, the older demographic appears happier to pack up the car, hit the road, and enjoy the journey.  

4. Roaming Together or Going It Alone

Though we discovered several data points that showed differences in both of our age brackets, there were also some areas of overlap.  

The younger generations may have different ideas about whether to travel, how to travel, and where they’re going, but they also align with their older counterparts when it comes to the people with whom they travel.  

Most notably, 76% of all travelers say they’re traveling with a spouse / partner over Labor Day weekend with 56% saying they’re traveling with children younger than 18.  

3.1-who-traveling-labor-day

Interestingly, 11% of travelers say they would be heading out solo for Labor Day weekend. While that may sound high as the third most-popular answer in our survey, other studies strongly support this data. 

Google Trends shows that search engine queries for “travel solo” jumped significantly in 2022, hitting their peak in the beginning of July. 

 google-trends-travel-solo

While interest has somewhat declined as summer comes to a close, interest in “travel solo” shows a minor leap in the last few weeks of August — just before Labor Day.  

Such high interest could show that potential travelers are researching their abilities to travel solo, but not booking trips quite yet. There may also be people who dream of taking a trip by themselves, but they may not get around to it for some time.  

Regardless, the trend of traveling alone is something to watch going into 2023.  

5. Oh, the (Top 5) Places You’ll Go!

The graphic below features the most popular travel plans among all consumers planning to travel for Labor Day weekend.  

The dominant destination is an adventure or outdoor experience, with 43% of all travelers saying that’s on their docket for the weekend.  

While not mutually exclusive from the other options on our list, it’s followed by social gatherings, cultural experiences, road trips, and beach escapes.  

 4.1-top-5-travel-plans

While we know that plans for these destinations may vary based on a traveler’s age, they paint a picture of travelers in 2022 who are ready to leave home and enjoy themselves in whatever way they feel best.  

And for those who don’t plan to travel at all, their home may be the destination they’ve wanted all along.  

Discover What the 360 Travel Community Can Do for You 

This study is just one example of what companies like yours can learn from the travelers in our proprietary 360 Travel Community.  

We built this community from the ground up to ensure companies can get the forward-thinking insights they need to thoroughly understand their audience.  

Best of all, working with the 360 Travel Community, our dedicated travel industry research expert understands how to conduct the best studies, parse the resulting data, and show you the significant takeaways that your business needs to make its next moves.  

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