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TripIt Data: Rental Car Reservations Surge for Labor Day 2022 

One of the busiest travel seasons we’ve seen in years is about to come to a close, but not without a strong finish. Nearly all holidays this summer have set travel records, and we expect Labor Day 2022 to be no different. 

TripIt analyzed U.S. origin flight, rental car, lodging, and vacation rental reservations in TripIt for Labor Day weekend 2022 and compared the findings to the equivalent booking period in 2021.  

We found that despite the reported chaos, Americans are still taking to the roads and skies for one last getaway before the fall. Yet again, international travel continues to make the strongest return—with bookings less than 20% shy of 2019 levels. Even with unprecedented heat, airport passenger caps, and abundant lost bag reports, it seems nothing will deter Americans from their love of going abroad.  

Meanwhile, domestic travel both via plane and by car are not to be ignored as they show strong increases over last year, as well. 

Current Percentage of Flight Reservations Compared to Year Prior

2022 Flights
(All)
2022 Flights
(Domestic)
2022 Flights
(Int’l)
2022 Car Rentals 2022 Lodging 2022 Vacation Rentals
% change from 2021 +96% +63% +222% +55% +40% +16%

More than a third of travelers headed abroad for Labor Day 

Airports across the U.S. will see the largest crowds on Thursday, September 1, and Friday, September 2, with Atlanta, Boston, Denver, and Dallas Forth Worth among the top 10.  

Many of these airports also rank among the top 10 for most cancellations or delays, but regardless of the airport you plan to travel through, allow some extra time to account for crowds and long lines, and keep an eye on your flight alerts (hint: TripIt Pro can help!) to stay on top of any changes and how they might impact your travels. 

We expect some of the busiest airports and busiest departure times to be:  

International travelers account for more than a third (34%) of flights for the Labor Day holiday. Though this is slightly down from the 40% we saw during Fourth of July, many international destinations made huge jumps in ranking from last year, and there are new international destinations ranking among the top 25, including Dublin (#20) and Athens (#22).  

When it comes to domestic destinations, it seems many Americans may be checking off their bucket-list trip destinations, as identified in recent TripIt surveys. 

Flight Destination Rankings and Rank Changes

2022 Ranking City, State 2021 Ranking Rank Change (2021 to 2022)
1 Las Vegas, NV 1 0
2 Denver, CO 2 0
3 New York, NY 4 1
4 London 28 24
5 Chicago, IL 3 -2
6 Boston, MA 8 2
7 Orlando, FL 5 -2
8 Seattle, WA 6 -2
9 Paris 19 10
10 Los Angeles, CA 7 -3
11 San Francisco, CA 10 -1
12 San Diego, CA 12 0
13 Newark, NJ 21 8
14 Honolulu, HI 13 -1
15 Phoenix, AZ 15 0
16 Rome 36 20
17 Atlanta, GA 11 -6
18 Cancun 9 -9
19 Washington, DC 20 1
20 Dublin 65 45
21 Dallas, TX 14 -7
22 Athens 26 4
23 Amsterdam 54 31
24 Barcelona 64 40
25 Minneapolis, MN 23 -2

A break at the pump could give rental cars the green light 

Gas prices have remained high throughout the summer season, starting with Memorial Day at an average of $4.60 a gallon and peaking at an average of $5.06 a gallon. Drivers of personal cars and rental cars alike will be pleased to know that the national average gas price has dropped nearly every week of the past nine. We saw a 26% increase in the number of rental car reservations booked for Labor Day compared to Fourth of July (near when gas prices peaked), although gas price fluctuations are only one of the many possible reasons for this increase.  

And while nearly every state is experiencing intense heat this summer, it does still seem that Americans want to soak up as much sunshine and fresh air as possible, with destinations like Orlando (#4), Los Angeles (#5), San Diego (#13), and Fort Lauderdale (#17) all making climbs up the top 25 list.

Car Rental Pickup Destination Rankings and Rank Changes

2022 Ranking City, State 2021 Ranking Rank Change (2021 to 2022)
1 Denver, CO 1 0
2 Boston, MA 5 3
3 Kahului, HI 2 -1
4 Orlando, FL 13 9
5 Los Angeles, CA 16 11
6 San Francisco, CA 8 2
7 Las Vegas, NV 4 -3
8 Honolulu, HI 3 -5
9 Lihue, HI 9 0
10 Seattle, WA 19 9
11 Phoenix, AZ 6 -5
12 Chicago, IL 7 -5
13 San Diego, CA 17 4
14 Portland, OR 12 -2
15 Kailua-kona, HI 15 0
16 Salt Lake City, UT 10 -6
17 Fort Lauderdale, FL 36 19
18 SeaTac, WA 14 -4
19 Dallas, TX 21 2
20 Philadelphia, PA 20 0
21 San Jose, CA 47 26
22 Detroit, MI 18 -4
23 New York, NY 34 11
24 Tampa, FL 31 7
25 Newark, NJ 64 39

While most of the top 25 list for hotel reservations remains the same, there are some new additions to the list including Columbus, OH (#18) which jumped 78 spots, Pittsburgh, PA (#21), which jumped 34 spots, and Miami Beach, FL (#25), which jumped 20 spots. And as for vacation rentals, there were even bigger jumps: St. Louis, MO (#10) jumped 192 spots, Santa Fe, NM (#17) jumped 282 spots, and Panama City, FL (#21) jumped 220 spots.  

The other key difference between hotel stays and vacation rental stays? Length. Hotel reservations average a stay of 3.2 days, while vacation rental reservations average a stay of 4.4 days. 

Lodging Destination Ranking and Rank Changes

2022 Ranking City, State 2021 Ranking Rank Change (2021 to 2022)
1 New York, NY 2 1
2 Las Vegas, NV 1 -1
3 Chicago, IL 3 0
4 Boston, MA 9 5
5 Orlando, FL 4 -1
6 San Diego, CA 12 6
7 New Orleans, LA 15 8
8 Denver, CO 5 -3
9 San Francisco, CA 10 1
10 Seattle, WA 8 -2
11 Honolulu, HI 11 0
12 Las Angeles, CA 14 2
13 Atlanta, GA 7 -6
14 Washington, DC 19 5
15 Nashville, TN 6 -9
16 Austin, TX 22 6
17 Anaheim, CA 27 10
18 Columbus, OH 96 78
19 Portland, OR 18 -1
20 Lahaina, HI 13 -7
21 Pittsburgh, PA 55 34
22 Queens, NY 32 10
23 Anchorage, AK 17 -6
24 San Antonio, TX 26 2
25 Miami Beach, FL 45 20

Vacation Rental Destination Rankings and Rank Changes

2022 Ranking City, State 2021 Ranking Rank Change (2021 to 2022)
1 San Diego, CA 4 3
2 Chicago, IL 14 12
3 New Orleans, LA 16 13
4 Seattle, WA 12 8
5 New York, NY 21 16
6 Anchorage, AK 5 -1
7 Nashville, TN 1 -6
8 Atlanta, GA 23 15
9 Los Angeles, CA 9 0
10 St. Louis, MO 202 192
11 Austin, TX 38 27
12 Denver, CO 6 -6
13 Asheville, NC 42 29
14 Honolulu, HI 18 4
15 Sedona, AZ 7 -8
16 Brooklyn, NY 2 -14
17 Santa Fe, NM 299 282
18 Portland, ME 49 31
19 Portland, OR 11 -8
20 Galveston, TX 67 47
21 Panama City, FL 241 220
22 Boston, MA 46 24
23 Hilton Head Island, SC 17 -6
24 Provincetown, MA 81 57
25 Paso Robles, CA 25 0

Methodology: TripIt looked at  U.S. origin round-trip flight reservations made between August 1, 2021, and August 1, 2022, for travel over the Labor Day holiday (Thursday, September 1 – Tuesday, September 6, 2022), and equivalent booking periods  in 2021. Reservation data in TripIt is provided by users and is booking provider agnostic.