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Americans took more road trips over Labor Day than any holiday in 2020, Arrivalist Data Shows

Published on Sep 8, 2020 in Blog, Daily Travel Index

Initial Data indicates Labor Day travel by car rose to within 4.3% of the same period of day 2019  

Road Trips that initiated from some states – like Florida – increased in 2020 compared to 2019

A first look at Arrivalist Daily Travel Index – comparing trips starting Friday, 2020 to the same Friday of Labor Day in 2019 – shows that 2020 road trip activity was within 4.3% of 2019 activity.

Friday of Labor day Road trips - 2019 vs. 2020

The surprising uptick in this type of travel comes amidst the continuing impact of COVID19 pandemic and the social unrest in certain cities. Travel by plane and other modes of transport continued to a fraction of pre-COVID19 levels.

The initial analysis only compares road trips that began on Friday of 2020. A full analysis of the entire weekend of 2020 compared to Labor Day car travel during 2019 is forthcoming. Arrivalist predicted, earlier last week, that Labor Day travel activity would rise to within 5.3% of the prior-year period. This prediction applies to the full weekend period, whereas the initial results reported year just look at the Friday of Labor Day weekend 2019 compared to Labor Day Friday 2020.

Both the Daily Travel Index and Arrivalist’s predictions based on it were developed by the New York-based company to give the travel industry, and consumers, a leading indicator of the return of travel activity following the CoronaVirus outbreak which grounded most travel in the middle of March 2020.

Origin Market States

Changes in road trip activity were not consistent across the states. Some states, such as Florida and Alaska saw increased departures on road trips on the Friday of Labor Day weekend in 2020. The top 5 states with the highest increase in road trip departures were: 

  1. Florida
  2. Alaska
  3. Hawaii
  4. Montana
  5. District of Columbia

The states with the greatest decrease (year over year) in road trip activity that began on the Friday of Labor Day weekend were: 

  1. Vermont
  2. Oregon
  3. Kentucky 
  4. Virginia
  5. Utah
Labor day 2020 - Year over Year Change by Home State

Methodology

Arrivalist’s methodology is based on a representative balanced panel of GPS signals representing road trips taken specifically in cars (excluding travel by air). A trip is measured as one where the user has traveled a minimum of 50 miles and spent a minimum of 2 hours at the destination. Commuter travel or other frequently repeated trips—i.e., cargo deliveries or other recurring activities — are excluded from the Daily Travel Index. 

 About Arrivalist

Arrivalist is the leading location intelligence platform in the travel Industry. The company uses multiple location data sets to provide actionable insights on consumer behavior, competitive share, media effectiveness, and market trends. Over 200 travel marketers, including 100 cities, 40 U.S. States, and four of the top 10 U.S. theme parks, use these insights to inform media strategy, operations, and destination development. Arrivalist is headquartered in New York City, with offices in San Francisco and Toronto.