Valerie Vinyard

As summer comes to a close and Arizona schools start up again, many Arizonans are deciding to travel during the final three-day weekend of the summer.

About 1.5 million Arizonans are projected to travel over Labor Day weekend, according to the largest leisure travel agency in North America. That’s a 4.7 percent increase of over last year.

“Despite the fact that families have already settled into their fall routines, more than 1 in 5 Arizonans will send off summer with a final hurrah,” Amy Moreno, senior travel manager for AAA Arizona, said.  

Like other summer holidays, many travelers will escape the heat and will opt to visit cooler climes, including cities in Northern Arizona and California. They’re not going too far, however: More people are opting to drive rather than fly to their destinations this year, meaning more trips will take place closer to home. 

Low gas prices are helping fuel the surge in road trips, too.

Highlights from AAA Arizona’s 2016 Labor Day forecast: 

Hit the Road

More than 1.2 million Arizonans (80 percent) plan to drive to their Labor Day destination. 

This represents a 6 percent increase from last year. AAA expects Arizona drivers will pay the lowest Independence Day gas prices in more than a decade.

Eyes on the Sky

More than 273,000 Arizonans (18 percent) plan to fly to their Labor Day destination. This 5 percent decrease from last year is due to an increasing number of Arizonans taking more close-to-home drive trips this holiday. 

With a continually improving economy, the 1.5 million Arizonans expected to travel for Labor Day brings the total number of Arizonans who will travel or have traveled over the three summer holidays to more than 5 million.

“Arizonans took to the highways and skies like never before this summer,” Moreno said.

Research for Labor Day travel projections are derived from ConsumerTrack, which conducts special research for AAA. 

The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as travel of 50 miles or more during the five-day period from Thursday, Sept. 1, to Monday, Sept. 5. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

AAA is a full-service travel agency. Learn more at


Valerie Vinyard is a public affairs specialist for AAA Arizona. Contact her at or at 520-258-0518.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.