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The Vacationer Labor Day Travel Survey: 53% to travel (12% by plane, 37% by car)

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More than 53%, or 137 million American adults, will travel for Labor Day this year. Of the 53%, more than 12% will do it primarily by plane and nearly 37% will primarily do it by car. The remaining 4% will take public transportation.

The Vacationer conducted a survey to find out how many Americans will travel this coming Labor Day, their primary method of transportation, popular activities, spending on travel, and lingering Delta variant concerns. The survey included 571 American adults over the age of 18 and was conducted online using SurveyMonkey's interface/audience on our behalf on August 1, 2021. I, Eric Jones, analyzed the survey, and I am an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Rowan College South Jersey. A complete methodology is listed at the bottom.

Key Stats:

  • More than 53%, or 137 million American adults, will travel for Labor Day this year. Of the 53%, more than 12% will do it primarily by plane and nearly 37% will primarily do it by car. The remaining 4% will take public transportation.
  • 77% will either attend a BBQ, watch fireworks, or take part in another activity to celebrate Labor Day. Some will take part in multiple activities such as BBQs and fireworks. 
  • More than 75% of people view Covid-19 and the Delta variant as either a slight concern or a big concern when considering Labor Day plans this year.

Here are the full results:

1. Do you intend to travel for Labor Day this year? If so, how?

  • Yes, primarily by plane. - 12.08%
  • Yes, primarily by car. - 36.95%
  • Yes, primarily by public transportation such as bus or train. - 4.03%
  • No, I am not traveling for Labor Day. - 46.94%

Key Takeaway: Over 53% of all American adults intend to travel for Labor Day this year. This figure includes the 12.08% who intend to travel by plane. It also includes 36.95% traveling by car and 4.03% of people using public transportation. Based on the recent US census, this means nearly 137 million American adults will travel for Labor Day. This is more than the number of people that said they would travel in our Fourth of July survey. It is also over 10% more than the number of people that traveled for Easter and Memorial Day combined.

2. What activities will you take part in for Labor Day this year? (Check All that Apply Except If You Are Checking the Last Choice.)

  • Parade. - 12.43%
  • BBQ or Cookout. - 54.64%
  • Fireworks. - 23.29%
  • Beach. - 26.09%
  • Lake. - 18.04%
  • Sporting Event. - 6.65%
  • Movie Theater. - 10.33%
  • None of These. (If checking this choice, check nothing else.) - 23.47%

Key Takeaway: More than 3 out of every 4 American adults will take part in a Labor Day activity this year such as a parade, BBQ, fireworks, beach, lake, sporting event, or movies. This equates to about 258 million American adults. The most popular activity will be a BBQ or cookout gathering. 54.64% of people or nearly 141 million people will do this. Additionally, more than a quarter of American adults will visit the beach. Nearly the same amount plan to attend or see fireworks for Labor Day.

3. How much will you spend to travel for Labor Day this year? (flights, hotels, tickets, etc.)

  • $0. - 39.40%
  • $500 or Less. - 37.13%
  • $501 to $1,000. - 12.08%
  • $1,001 to $1,500. - 6.30%
  • $1,501 to $2,000. - 3.85%
  • $2,000 or More. - 1.23%

Key Takeaway: Nearly 1 in every 4 American adults or over 60 million people will spend more than $500 for Labor Day travel. Additionally, more than 11% of American adults or over 29 million people will spend more than $1,000. More than 5% of American adults or about 13 million people will spend over $1,500. Many people intend to spend the end of the summer in style!

4. How much of a concern is COVID-19 and the Delta variant for you when considering your Labor Day plans this year?

  • No Concern at All. - 24.69%
  • Slightly a Concern. - 47.29%
  • A Big Concern. - 28.02%

Key Takeaway: Three out of every four American adults indicated that COVID-19 was “Slightly a Concern” or “A Big Concern” for their Labor Day plans. This figure represents 194 million people. On the other hand, one in four American adults rate COVID-19 as “No Concern at All” for Labor Day. This figure represents nearly 64 million people.

5. If you were to travel for Labor Day (whether you will or not), which of these would be of concern for you? (Check All that Apply Except If You Are Checking the Last Choice.)

  • Contracting COVID-19 from Others. - 46.06%
  • Friends or Family Contracting COVID-19. - 46.76%
  • Spreading COVID-19 Unknowingly. - 37.83%
  • Mask Requirements. - 28.55%
  • COVID-19 Test or Vaccine Requirements. - 20.32%
  • Work Travel Restrictions. - 8.76%
  • None of These. (If checking this choice, check nothing else.) - 16.99%

Key Takeaway: Nearly half of all American adults state contracting COVID-19 and friends or family contracting COVID-19 are concerns for Labor Day travel. Nearly 29% of people said mask requirements were a concern. And, more than 20% said COVID-19 test or vaccine requirements were a concern. The interesting part of the mask, test, and vaccine concerns would be to see why it’s a concern for these people. For example, some people might feel being forced to wear a mask is a concern. However, others may feel concerned about visiting places without mask mandates. Perhaps those results will be found in another survey we conduct.

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