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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

National Household Travel Survey Winter Travel Quick Facts

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

(Long Distance Trips are more than 50 miles from home to the furthest destination. Winter trips are for the period from the Monday after New Years Day to the final day of March, and do not include trips for commuting to and from work.)

NOTE: The January-March 2002 winter travel season covered by the NHTS occurred shortly after the September 11 attacks. The full impact of those attacks on the data presented here has not yet been determined.


  • 430 million long distance trips (5.1 million per day) during the 12 week (84 day) period between January 6-March 31, 2002.
  • Daily average of 3.1 million pleasure trips, 1.1 million business trips, 659,000 personal business trips, and 136,000 other trips (e.g. giving someone a ride, or other miscellaneous trips)


  • The average winter long distance trip is 262 miles, compared with 289 miles the remainder of the year.
  • Trips by distance are:
    • 50-249 miles, 80 percent
    • 250-499 miles, 10 percent
    • 500-999 miles, 5 percent
    • 1000+ miles, 6 percent

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


  • 88 percent of winter trips are in personal vehicles such as a car, van or SUV.
  •   8 percent are by air.
  •   3 percent are by train or bus

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


  • Winter trips average 1.3 nights away from home compared to 1.8 nights the rest of the year.
  • Same day round trips make up 57 percent of winter travel compared to 50 percent at other times.


  • Pleasure travel accounts for 61 percent of winter trips compared to 66 percent at other times.
  • The number of vacation and sightseeing trips declines by about 50 percent in the winter.
  • Business travel increases its share from 18 percent of long distance trips at other times to 23 percent in the winter.


  • Interstate trips (from state-to-state) account for about 38 percent of winter trips compared to 43 percent at other times of the year.
  • International trips make up two percent of all winter long distance trips.

All differences described in the text are statistically significant at a 0.05 level.