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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

National Household Travel Survey Summer Travel Quick Facts

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Long Distance Trips are more than 50 miles from home to the furthest destination. Summer trips are not for business or commuting to and from work and begin the Thursday before Memorial Day and end the Wednesday after Labor Day.


  • 657 million long distance summer trips were made during the 16-week period between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend in 2001.


  • The average summer long-distance trip is 284 miles one-way.
  • More than three out of four (78 percent) summer trips are 50-249 miles in length. We also travel:
    • one out of 10 (11 percent) trips — 250-400 miles
    • one out of 20 (5 percent) trips — 500-999 miles
    • one out of 20 (5 percent) trips — 1,000+ miles

  • (Totals do not add to 100 percent due to rounding.)


  • Nine out of 10 summer trips (about 91 percent) are in personal vehicles — such as a car.
  • 7 percent of summer trips are by air.
  • 2 percent of trips are by train or bus.


  • Private vehicles are used for:
    • more than 9 out of 10 (97 percent) — 50-249 mile (one-way) trips
    • 9 out of 10 (90 percent) — 250-499 mile trips
    • 7 out of 10 (72 percent) — 500-749 mile trips
    • slightly more than half (54 percent) — 750-999 mile trips
    • fewer than 4 out of 10 (37 percent) — 1,000-1,499 mile trips
    • fewer than 2 out of 1(16 percent) — trips over 1,500 miles
  • For those traveling under 500 miles one-way, one out of every two trips (50 percent) begin on Saturday or Sunday.
  • For trips of 500-999 miles, the most popular departure day is Friday, when just over one out of four (26 percent) trips begin.
  • When traveling 1,000 miles or more, trips are slightly more likely to begin from Wednesday through Saturday than any other day. One out of six or more (15 to 19 percent) 1,000 mile trips begin on each of these four days.


  • 97 percent of summer trips are to domestic destinations while 3 percent are to international destinations. During the remainder of the year international travel drops to just under 2 percent.


  • More for vacation or sightseeing — 21 percent during the summer, compared to 12 percent during he remainder of the year.
  • More for leisure/personal travel (non-commuting to and from work or non-business trips) — 84 percent during the summer compare to about 80 percent during the rest of the year.
  • Fewer visits to friends and relatives — 34 percent during the summer compared to 42 percent during the remainder of the year.


  • About 45 percent of summer trips are same-day trips without spending a night away compared to just over half during the remainder of the year.
  • Overnight summer trips are longer — the average stay away is 2.1 nights compared to the average stay of 1.6 nights during the rest of the year.


  • The average age of summer travelers is 35 years old. This is similar to the rest of the year.


SOURCE: National Household Travel Survey, 2001-2002.