As the calendar inches closer to September, the anticipation grows for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. For those planning a trip, it’s important to note that this year might see more crowds and congestion than the previous one.

The desire for an extended weekend and to enjoy the remaining summer days has led to more people making travel plans. Recent data from the American Automobile Association (AAA) confirms this trend. It shows a significant increase in travel bookings compared to last year. Domestic travel bookings in the United States, covering flights, hotels, cruises, and rental cars, have increased by 4%.

Even more noteworthy is the 44% surge in international bookings. This rise in reservations indicates growing confidence in travel safety and a renewed interest in exploring new places. As a result, those setting out during this year’s Labor Day weekend should be prepared for a livelier travel experience.

Labor Day Weekend Gas Prices

AAA suggests drivers going on road trips this Labor Day weekend will probably encounter gas prices similar to last year. The average national price for regular gasoline was $3.78 on Labor Day 2022. Gas prices increased this summer in July due to low supply and expensive oil. However, prices have eased in August and are expected to stay the same or even drop before the Labor Day weekend.

A transportation data and insights company called INRIX predicts that the busiest time on the roads for the long Labor Day weekend will be between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 31. They also expect higher traffic than usual on Friday, September 1, from 11 a.m. to 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.”

Best and Worst Times to Travel by Car

Here’s how you can plan your travels to steer clear of heavy traffic during the Labor Day weekend. According to AAA, if you’re traveling on Wednesday, August 30, and Thursday, August 31, the least favorable time to hit the road is between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m., while the most favorable time is before 7 a.m.

If you’re heading out on Friday, Sept. 1, it’s recommended to avoid traveling between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m., with the optimal time being before 11 a.m. On Saturday, Sept. 2, the period from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is expected to have the heaviest traffic, while before 11 a.m. is the best time to travel. Minimal traffic is expected on Sunday, Sept. 3.

As for Labor Day Monday, the peak travel time is anticipated from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with any time after 7 p.m. being the most favorable for travel.

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