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The Labor Day Travel Crush, and How to Ease It

The Labor Day Travel Crush, and How to Ease It

Traveling over this Labor Day weekend?

If so, you’ll be among 34.1 million other Americans AAA expects to be driving or flying over this year’s holiday weekend. That’s a 4.2 percent increase over last year and the highest number since the recession put the kibosh on discretionary trips five years ago.

Of the total, 85 percent will drive, eight percent will fly, and the rest will travel by bus, train, and so on.

Flights will be full, airport lines will be long, and highways will be chock-a-block.

The heaviest travel days will be Friday, August 30, and Monday, September 2.

So, how to ease the travel crush?

Realistically, the best holiday travelers can hope to do is skirt the worst bottlenecks. That means traveling on off-peak days, at off-peak times, to lower-demand destinations. Be a contrarian traveler, in other words. An early-morning flight on Thursday to Omaha is going to be less stressful, in every way, than a Friday afternoon flight to Oahu.

Stuck traveling at peak times? Then the focus shifts to maximizing comfort. Use those miles you’ve been hoarding for an upgrade to first class. Buy a day pass to the airport lounge. To avoid the scrum at the baggage carousel, pay extra to have your bags shipped to your destination.

Sometimes the journey is the destination. On Labor Day weekend, more likely the journey will just be the journey.

Reader Reality Check

Will you be traveling over Labor Day? Are you looking for ward to the journey, or the destination?

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  • Peter Haas

    Fly out Thursday and return on Sunday….empty seats and upgrades abound!

  • garydpdx

    Finding an early Friday 8/30 – late Monday 9/02 has been the hardest this year, if you thought LAST year was bad (and the year before that), with a dearth of seat sales and decent lead times. So this year, I settled on a PDX-ORD itinerary of Thursday 8/29 out and Tuesday, 9/03 back with little demand from work on Thursday, hopefully little demand tomorrow (Tuesday). And much more relaxing!