In years past, Labor Day weekend has been a huge weekend for travel, as vacationers reveled in the last days of summer. This year, however, COVID-19 — and the Delta variant in particular — is still a force to be reckoned with.
New findings from travel resource website The Vacationer suggest that three-quarters of Americans see the coronavirus outbreak as either a "slight" concern (47%) or a "big" concern (28%) for their Labor Day plans.
But despite the risks, 53% of American adults — or an estimate of about 137 million vacationers — already have plans to travel over the three-day weekend.
Yearn to travel outweighs concerns about COVID-19
A recent Priceline survey found that over three-fourths of Americans had made plans to travel sometime this summer or fall. And since Labor Day marks the last three-day weekend of the summer, it's understandable that many are seizing the opportunity to get out of the house.
However, the country is still in the midst of a health crisis, and travelers shared concerns about how that could impact their vacation plans. Specifically, these worries include:
- Friends or family contracting COVID-19 (47%)
- Contracting COVID-19 from others (46%)
- Spreading COVID-19 unknowingly (38%)
- Mask requirements (29%)
- COVID-19 test or vaccine requirements (20%)
- Work travel restrictions (9%)
But as noted, the majority of those surveyed will leave town for the weekend anyway, while others plan to spend Labor Day locally.
Most vacationers will travel by car
Most of those who said they would be traveling for Labor Day plan to do so by car, with 37% of all respondents planning an automobile journey.
The popularity of hitting the road for Labor Day isn’t so surprising, as a different survey found that this method of transportation offered increased flexibility with travel plans and an added feeling of safety during the pandemic.
Significantly smaller percentages of those surveyed said they would travel by plane (12%) or public transportation (4%), while the remainder planned to stay home.
And these vacations won’t necessarily come cheap — the survey found that 23% of all respondents plan to spend more than $500 on flights, hotels and tickets for that weekend, including:
- 12% spending $501 to $1,000
- 6% spending $1,001 to 1,500
- 4% spending $1,500 to $2,000
- 1% spending $2,000 or more
Younger adults were more likely to travel by plane than their older counterparts, with 14% of respondents between 18 and 29 and 18% of those between 30 and 44 expecting to catch a flight, compared to 9% of those ages 45 to 60 and just 8% of those over 60.
And regardless of whether they planned to get out of town, more than three-quarters of those questioned intended to take part in time-honored Labor Day weekend activities, such as:
- Barbecues or cookouts (55%)
- Beach (26%)
- Fireworks (23%)
- Lake (18%)
- Parade (12%)
- Movie theater (10%)
- Sporting event (7%)
On the other hand, 23% of respondents said that they would not participate in any Labor Day activities this year.
Methodology: On behalf of the Vacationer, SurveyMonkey conducted a survey of 571 Americans (ages 18 and up) on August 1, 2021. The age breakdown of the survey participants is as follows: