Unfortunately, this recent drop in prices may not last long. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, warns that one of the nation's largest refineries experienced a partial shutdown due to a fire in a storage tank last week. Additionally, Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane before reaching Florida's Gulf Coast this week, as reported by the National Weather Service.
While GasBuddy closely monitors Florida for potential fuel availability issues related to Idalia, De Haan cautions that the rest of the nation could witness a reversal in gas price declines due to ongoing refinery problems that continue to drive up wholesale gasoline prices.
Nevertheless, more and more Americans are eager to take advantage of the Labor Day weekend. AAA reports a 4% increase in domestic bookings for flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises compared to last year. International bookings have seen an even more significant surge of 44%. Furthermore, this year's vacations are lengthier as remote work opportunities allow people to work from their chosen destinations, according to AAA Travel's Senior Vice President Paula Twidale.
As we head into the holiday weekend, it's crucial for travelers to remain updated on the latest developments and be prepared for any unexpected challenges that may arise.
Labor Day Weekend Travel Trends
Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching, and travelers are making their plans for a well-deserved getaway. According to recent data, domestic travel is on the rise, with the top five destinations being Seattle, Orlando, Anchorage, New York, and Las Vegas. Domestic cruise bookings have also increased by 19% compared to last year.
On the international front, Europe and Canada are taking the spotlight. International hotel bookings have seen a remarkable 82% increase compared to the previous year, while international cruise bookings have risen by 44%. The top five international destinations for this holiday weekend are Vancouver, Rome, London, Dublin, and Paris.
If you're planning to hit the road during the holiday weekend, be prepared for some traffic congestion. INRIX, a global provider of transportation data and insights, predicts that Thursday, Aug. 31, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., will be the busiest time on the roads. Additionally, expect higher-than-normal traffic volumes between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1.
For those flying domestically, airfares are looking quite favorable. The average ticket price over Labor Day weekend is $226, which is 11% cheaper than last year and an impressive 20% lower than in 2019. If Europe is your destination of choice, you'll find airfare averaging at $1,132 per ticket, down nearly 10% from last year, though still higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Anticipating a surge in travel, Hopper travel app projects that over 20 million passengers will pass through U.S. airports between Thursday and Tuesday, representing a 14% increase from last year. Notably, Friday and Monday will be the busiest days, with 3.7 million and 3.6 million passengers respectively.
When it comes to specific airports, Atlanta is expected to take the lead, with 1.5 million passengers departing from there this weekend. Denver follows closely behind with 1 million passengers. Dallas, Los Angeles, and Chicago airports are also anticipating significant traffic, each expecting over 800,000 passengers.
As for accommodations, hotel rooms are averaging $215 per night, a 3.8% increase from last year, while car rental prices have dropped by 14.5%, averaging at $41 per day.
So whether you're planning a domestic adventure or venturing internationally, make sure to plan ahead and prepare for some travel excitement this Labor Day weekend.
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