AAA booking data shows international trips, cruises, and cooler weather destinations are most popular

WASHINGTON, DC (Aug. 21, 2023) – As summer winds down, many Americans are heading out of town. AAA booking data for flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises shows Labor Day weekend travel is up over last year: domestic bookings are up 4% and international bookings are up 44%.

“Most travelers will leave on Thursday or Friday before Labor Day to take advantage of the long holiday weekend,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “Domestically, the Pacific Northwest, big cities like New York and Denver, and tourist hotspots like Orlando and Las Vegas are the most popular. Internationally, it’s all about Europe and Canada.”

AAA booking data shows Vancouver, Rome, London, Dublin, and Paris are the top 5 international destinations over Labor Day weekend. International hotel bookings for the holiday are up 82% compared to 2022 and international cruise bookings are up 44% over last year. 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.

The top 5 domestic destinations are Seattle, Orlando, Anchorage, New York, and Las Vegas. Seattle tourism has been boosted by the strong demand for Alaska 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.

Drivers taking road trips this Labor Day weekend will likely see gas prices similar to last year. The national average for a gallon of regular was $3.78 on Labor Day 2022. This summer, gas prices spiked in July because of tight supply and the high cost of oil. The beginning of August brought a little relief, but as hurricane season heats up, so do concerns about higher gas prices heading into Labor Day weekend.

Best and Worst Times to Travel by Car

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

“The best times to travel by car over Labor Day weekend are early in the morning or in the evening,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “If you must travel during heavy traffic, navigation apps and local departments of transportation can help steer drivers around long delays.”

Date Worst Travel Time Best Travel Time

Wed, Aug 30 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM Before 7:00 AM

Thu, Aug 31 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM Before 7:00 AM

Fri, Sep 1 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM Before 11:00 AM

Sat, Sep 2 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM After 6:00 PM

Sun, Sep 3 Minimal Traffic Impact Expected

Mon, Sep 4 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM After 7:00 PM


Metro Route Peak Congestion Period Est. Travel Time Compared to Typical 

Atlanta Birmingham to Atlanta via I-20 E Wednesday, 1:00 PM 4 Hours 6 Minutes 58%

Boston Boston to Hyannis via Pilgrim Hwy S Thursday, 3:30 PM 1 Hours 58 Minutes 54%

Chicago Milwaukee to Chicago via I-94 E Thursday, 4:45 PM 2 Hours 32 Minutes 25%

Denver Palisade to Denver via I-70 E Monday, 4:00 PM 4 Hours, 58 Minutes 32%

Detroit Detroit to Grand Rapids via I-96 W Saturday, 10:15 AM 3 Hours 7 Minutes 35%

Houston Galveston to Houston via I-45 N Friday, 4:45 PM 1 Hours 37 Minutes 40%

Los Angeles Los Angeles to Bakersfield via I-5 N Wednesday, 4:30 PM 2 Hours 58 Minutes 88%

Minneapolis Minneapolis to Eau Claire via I-94 E Wednesday, 4:45 PM 1 Hours 39 Minutes 21%

New York Jersey Shore to New York via Garden St Pkwy N Monday, 11:15 AM 1 Hours 46 Minutes 64%

Portland Cannon Beach to Portland via Sunset Highway E Wednesday, 1:00 PM 1 Hours 38 Minutes 36%

San Diego Palm Springs to San Diego via I-15 S Monday, 4:45 PM 2 Hours 44 Minutes 29%

San Francisco San Francisco to Monterey via Santa Cruz Hwy S Sunday, 4:00 PM 3 Hours 11 Minutes 68%

Seattle Seattle to Bellingham via I-5 N Thursday, 3:30 PM 2 Hours 34 Minutes 71%

Tampa Tampa to Orlando via I-4 E Thursday, 8:15 AM 1 Hours 54 Minutes 36%

Washington DC Washington DC to Baltimore via Balt/Wash Pkwy N Friday, 1:45 PM 1 Hours 9 Minutes 33%


More Travelers Interested in Travel Insurance, Extended Vacations

A new survey of AAA travel advisors reveals topics and trends on the minds of travelers this summer:

  • 59% of AAA travel advisors have seen more interest in travel insurance over the last 60 days.
  • 83% of AAA travel advisors say the most common concern from travelers over the last 60 days was getting stranded by a delayed or canceled flight.
  • 64% of AAA travel advisors say travelers who booked extended vacations (at least 14 nights) said having more time to explore destinations was their main reason for taking an extended trip.
  • AAA travel advisors are seeing high interest among travelers for ocean and river cruises, plus all-inclusive and guided tour vacations.

“Post-pandemic, more travelers are recognizing the benefit of protecting their investment in case of trip interruption, whether it’s illness or a canceled flight,” said Twidale. “We’re also seeing demand for longer stays, especially now when many people have the option to work remotely from their destination.”

Survey Methodology

AAA sent surveys to a random sample of AAA travel advisors between July 12 and July 26, 2023. 165 AAA travel advisors responded.

About AAA

Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial, and insurance services to enhance the life journey of nearly 64 million members across North America, including 56 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA has to offer or to become a member, visit

About INRIX  

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


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