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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Overall Travel Down, Long-Distance Travel Up for Labor Day Weekend as Americans Bid Goodbye to COVID-19 Summer

Friday, September 11, 2020

Overall, Americans took 2.8 billion fewer total trips (4.6 billion) during the Labor Day weekend this year than they did in 2019 (7.4 billion). That overall drop of 38% included declines in travel for each day of the 3-day weekend plus the 2 days before the weekend when many people traditionally get a head start on their trips. For both 2019 and 2020, the number of trips was highest on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with lower numbers on Sunday and Monday.

The overall decrease is driven by an equivalent 38% drop (2.7 billion) in the number of local trips (under 50 miles). The number of long-distance trips (50 or more miles), however, increased by 10% (16.6 million) over last year. That long-distance increase was led by a 47% rise (18.2 million) in the number of trips between 100 and 250 miles but muted by a 54% drop (8.8 million) in the number of trips longer than 500 miles. 

In 2019, on average, 19.3% of Americans stayed home each day during the holiday weekend. In 2020, that number rose to an average of 26.3% staying home each day.

Total Trips

Total Trips Taken Thursday-Monday During
the Labor Day Weekend, 2019 and 2020
Total Trips Taken Daily Thursday-Monday
Labor Day Weekend, 2019 and 2020
bar chart showing 2.8 billion fewer trips this year than last on Labor Day Weekendline chart showing more activity on Thursday, Friday and Saturday than on Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend 2019 and 2020

Trips By Distance Grouping

Total Daily Long-Distance Trips,
Labor Day Weekend, 2019 and 2020 
Total Daily Local Trips,
Labor Day Weekend, 2019 and 2020
Line chart showing increases in long distance trips of different distances between 2019 and 2020 on Labor Day weekendline chart showing decrease in number of local trips of varying distance between 2019 and 2020 on Labor Day weekend

People Staying Home 

Daily Percent of People Staying Home,
Averaged over the 5-day Labor Day
Weekend, 2019 and 2020
Map of Average Daily Percent of People
Staying Home, Labor Day Weekend 2020
2 donut charts showing that the % of people staying home during Labor Day weekend increased from 2019 to 2020map showing states in different shades of color indicating which states had more people staying home on Labor Day weekend 2020


Data prepared for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the Maryland Transportation Institute and Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory at the University of Maryland from a mobile device data panel from merged multiple data sources. Numbers are subject to change. View this data in detail.


These data are experimental and may not meet all of our quality standards.  Experimental data products are created using new data sources or methodologies that benefit data users in the absence of other relevant products. We are seeking feedback from data users and stakeholders on the quality and usefulness of these new products. Experimental data products that meet our quality standards and demonstrate sufficient user demand may enter regular production if resources permit.

To explore further, including access to International, National, State, and County-level data, please visit our COVID-19 content.