Memorial Day Weekend: U.S. Air and Road Trips Up

Local, regional travel trends show positive signals for U.S.-based operators

Reading Time: 1 minute 24 seconds

Memorial Day Weekend: U.S. Air and Road Trips Up, but It’s Hardly Travel as Usual

The last Monday in May is a holiday in the United States, which typically kicks off the summer travel season. And while Memorial Day 2020 was far from normal due to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders globally, it appears that Americans took to the roads and the skies at rates unseen since mid-March of this year. Restrictions began to ease in many states, and after two months at home, many took the opportunity to get out. The number of travelers taking flights and longer drive trips increased significantly.  

Air travel increased, but was far from normal levels. Over the weekend, 1.5 million passed through TSA checkpoints, a gain over recent weeks but less than one eighth the 12.2 million who traveled by air on the same weekend in 2019. However, dine-in restaurants and other non-essential businesses are operating at limited capacity across much of the United States, so there is less opportunity for travelers to spend in destination.

For drive trips, the weekend was the busiest period since mid-March. The number of Americans who traveled more than 250 miles jumped 167% on Friday May 22, compared to the average day in February 2020, the baseline that Arrivalist uses for its Daily Travel Index. Arrivalist uses cell phone data to anonymously track Americans’ movement.

Like this? register for our Newsletter to continue the conversation

Sign Up

Since Sunday, March 15, the national index has been negative nearly every day. The two weekends preceding Memorial Day contained the first two positive days in that period, showing very slight increases. But Memorial Day weekend broke away, starting with a 67% jump in 250-plus-mile trips on Thursday. It appears that Americans took trips of short duration, likely with many not even staying overnight. 

Arrivalist reports its data for three levels of distance driven: 50-100 miles; 100-250 miles; and 250 miles or more. Local circumstances vary, but the biggest increase in trips over Memorial Day weekend was in the longest distance category, indicating that when Americans do get the opportunity to venture out, many choose to go beyond their immediate community for a change of scenery. These early patterns indicate that operators of paid travel activities and attractions should engage with potential visitors in their three-hour and beyond drive markets at least as much if not more than more local visitors.   

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


already a member?

Lost your password?


Become an Arival Insider

Included in Free Membership

Included in Arival Pro Membership

The Arival on-demand video library archive
Access to the entire library of over 150 video sessions and webinars

Short, digestible research & trends reports delivering insights into our industry, such as The Tour Operator Outlook for 2021. articles
Topical articles about marketing, tech, operator business and operator stories in all areas of tours, activities & attractions & experiences

Job board access
Find a job from our regular listings, post a resume to the talent network and learn strategies from the job resources articles

New webinars
Helpful, instructional sessions covering subjects such as Mastering Facebook Ads, Grow Your Business and How To Work With OTAs — topics to help advance your business.

Discounts on all Arival in-person events
20% Discount on all Arival in-person events (save up to $300)* based on business type

Arival ProShield – Insurance program
Access to tailored insurance solutions by Granite Insurance is available exclusively for Arival Insider Pro Access Members. Insider Pro Access Members also have access to a suite of resources from Granite Insurance including templates, forms and other informative documents.

Insiders Pro Access member exclusive webinars
Paid membership-only webinars to deepen your understanding of important industry topics.

Job postings & talent directory
Post jobs & connect with candidates most applicable to your business.

Private roundtables to connect, learn and engage
Small, focused and intimate discussions exclusive to Arival Insider Pro Access members.

Full access to Arival’s library of in-depth reports
Up to date, deep analysis of tourism topics ranging from Self-guided Tours to Sales & Distribution Trends and Outlooks, based on the data that defines the industry.

The latest on-demand videos
Over 350+ on-demand videos featuring hot topics in tours, activities & attractions

Insider discounts in digital marketing, tech, e-learning, and more
Save money on additional tools, services and learnings you need to run your business. Exclusive to paid members.

Membership Overview

At Arival, we believe travel can make the world a better place. Our mission is to establish and inspire a diverse community of individuals and companies in the In-destination Industry by providing opportunities to gain insight, share knowledge and build connections. To make it possible for true collaboration, creativity, innovation, and idea exchange to thrive, we are committed to facilitating a welcoming and respectful community for all. This Conference Code of Conduct shares our community expectations and applies to all attendees, employees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and other participants at Arival- produced and sponsored events. We empower all participants in our community to actively engage in creating a friendly, inclusive and safe environment for all.

Arival’s core values include the following, and create an expectation for conduct at our events and in online community spaces:

We demonstrate a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
We value integrity and strive to consistently interact with others in ways that are authentic, ethical, and fair.
We are dedicated to transparency, committing to clear, open and honest communication.
We actively pursue and advocate for inclusion, diversity and representation of varying cultural backgrounds, perspectives and ideas

Arival welcomes people from all cultural backgrounds, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, religion (including religious dress and grooming), marital status, domestic partner status, genetic information, age, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Accordingly, participants must refrain from displaying any demeaning, harassing, aggressive, or intimidating behavior or materials that would interfere with others’ experience and participation in our community.

If you witness or are subjected to inappropriate or disruptive behavior or have any other concerns, notify an Arival staff member as soon as possible.

Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Arival reserves the right to refuse entry to or remove any party from any event or community space at any time when participation or behavior create a disruption or hinder the event or enjoyment of the event by other participants. All determinations are at the sole discretion of Arival, and the decision of the Arival team will be final. Severe breaches of this Conference Code of Conduct may result in disqualification from participating in future events. Individuals expelled due to violating this Conference Code of Conduct will not be eligible for a refund or other consolation.

If you have questions regarding this Conference Code of Conduct or its implementation, please contact us at [email protected].