Labor Day Travel Expected to be Up over Last Year

Gas prices unlikely to deter the late summer Great American Road Trip

WICHITA, Kan. – Aug. 28, 2023 – AAA expects Labor Day weekend travel to be busier this year than in 2022, on the road, in the air and for those who are cruising as well.

As usual, most Labor Day travelers will drive to their holiday destinations, closing out the summer with one more Great American Road Trip. Gas prices, which have been on the rise since mid-July and have slightly exceeded prices from this time last year, are not expected to deter those who want to get away.

It’s not just roads that will be busy. According to AAA booking data, flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises are all up over 2022.

“Whether you are hitting the road, headed to the airport or getting ready to set to sail over the holiday weekend, travelers should expect a lot of company and plan accordingly,” said Shawn Steward, AAA Kansas spokesman. “Drivers, in particular, should ensure their vehicles are road ready, especially given the toll summer heat can take on batteries and tires.”

Last year, AAA responded to almost 1,400 emergency roadside service calls in Kansas over the Labor Day weekend, and almost half those calls required a tow. AAA rescue crews are gearing up for what is anticipated to be an even busier weekend this year.

Best and Worst Times to Travel by Car

INRIX, a global provider of transportation data and insights, expects Thursday, Aug. 31, between 2 and 6 p.m. to be the busiest time on the roads during the long Labor Day weekend. Friday, Sept. 1, is also expected to have higher than normal traffic volumes between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.

“Drivers who have flexibility in planning are encouraged to travel at off-peak hours – before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m.,” Steward added.

Labor Day Weekend Flights

According to AAA Travel, bookings to domestic destinations over the holiday weekend are up 4%, and international bookings are up 44%.

Seattle, Orlando, Anchorage, New York, and Las Vegas rank as the Top 5 domestic destinations. Seattle tourism has received a boost related to strong demand for Alaskan cruises. Florida destinations are popular not only for their beaches and theme parks but also for their cruise ports in Central Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Miami. AAA data shows domestic cruise bookings over Labor Day weekend are up 19% compared to 2022.

Vancouver, Rome, London, Dublin, and Paris mark the Top 5 international destinations over Labor Day weekend. Canada is popular this time of year because of its cooler temperatures and stunning scenery. Europe has seen a surge in travel all year, with more people eager to see the world again without restrictions.

International hotel bookings for the holiday are up 82% compared to 2022, and international cruise bookings are up 44% over last year.

AAA encourages anyone flying over the holiday weekend to check airline schedules for delays or cancellations before leaving for the airport. Travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport at least two hours before any domestic travel and three hours early for international travel.

Slow Down Move Over

AAA reminds all drivers to ‘Slow Down and Move Over’ for first responders working at the roadside over the holiday weekend. Kansas’ Move Over law requires motorists to slow down and, when possible, to change lanes, moving away from police, fire, and emergency personnel on the roadside, including tow truck drivers.


Founded in 2004, INRIX pioneered intelligent mobility solutions by transforming big data from connected devices and vehicles into mobility insights. This revolutionary approach enabled INRIX to become one of the leading providers of data and analytics into how people move. By empowering cities, businesses, and people with valuable insights, INRIX is helping to make the world smarter, safer, and greener. With partners and solutions spanning across the entire mobility ecosystem, INRIX is uniquely positioned at the intersection of technology and transportation – whether it’s keeping road users safe, improving traffic signal timing to reduce delay and greenhouse gasses, optimizing last mile delivery, or helping uncover market insights. Learn more at

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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