Flights? The start of the summer travel season in the U.S., better known as Memorial Day weekend, is always a heavily trafficked holiday. And despite soaring prices, our data shows that this year will be as busy as ever.
TripIt analyzed U.S. origin flight, rental car, lodging, and vacation rental reservations made by our TripIt users for Memorial Day weekend 2022 and compared the findings to the equivalent booking period in 2021.
We found that, whether it’s due to the mask mandate being lifted, falling COVID-19 infection rates, or just plain old spring fever, travelers will be out with a vengeance. All the categories that we analyzed show significant increases compared to last year’s volume, though some more than others. International travel will see the largest increase by far with nearly a third of all fliers heading overseas and close to a 500 percent increase compared to last year. Memorial Day weekend 2022 seems to be both the official start of summer, and the unofficial return of the international vacation.
Current Percentage of Flights Reservation Compared to Year Prior
(Int’l)2022 Car Rentals2022 Lodging2022 Vacation RentalsCompared to 2021253%207%466%191%184%134%
The unofficial return of the international holiday vacation
Each recent holiday has seemingly been more traveled than the last, with airport security checkpoint numbers continuing to break pandemic-era records. Memorial Day 2022 will not stray from this trend.
We expect the busiest airports to be:
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Denver International Airport (DEN)Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DWF)Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Those departing from these airports should allow extra time to get through security, especially if their flight is on Friday (5/27), the busiest day for departures, or Thursday (5/26), when nearly as many will also depart. For the top-five most popular airports, the busiest hours for departures (and when you should be extra careful to allow extra time) will be:
Busiest Airport Hours Based on Departure Reservations
May 268 a.m.
4 p.m.LAXMay 27
May 268 a.m.
1 p.m.DENMay 27
May 2611 a.m.
10 a.m.ORDMay 27
May 268 a.m.
1-2 p.m.JFKMay 27
May 268 a.m.
While flights overall saw more than a 2.5X increase, the biggest surprise in the data for this holiday is that a third of flights are to international destinations, a dramatic increase from last year when less than a fifth of flights were headed outside the U.S. While testing requirements are still in place for travelers entering the United State from abroad, it seems that other lifting restrictions and open borders are driving the impressive return to long-haul flights. International destinations in the top 25 include London (#5), Paris (#13), Cancun (#14), and Dublin (#25).
Of the remaining domestic flights, nearly a third are to destinations in either California (15%), Florida (12%), or New York (6%).
Flights Destination Ranking and Rank Changes
2022 RankingCity, State2021 RankingRank Change (2021 to 2022)1Orlando, FL212Denver, CO423New York, NY1294Las Vegas, NV1-35London77726Chicago, IL717San Francisco, CA1148Boston, MA1359Los Angeles, CA8-110Seattle, WA10011San Diego, CA20912Phoenix, AZ5-713Paris927914Cancun3-1115Dallas, TX9-616Newark, NJ261017Washington, DC483118Honolulu, HI16-219Atlanta, GA21220Miami, FL17-321Nashville, TN19-222Portland, OR23123Fort Lauderdale, FL15-824Austin, TX28425Dublin10883
Rising gas prices won’t slow road trip popularity
Rising gas prices won’t slow car rental demand for Memorial Day weekend. With nearly a 200% increase in volume compared to 2021, rental cars remain the darling of pandemic-era travel. Similar to past holiday travel periods, nearly a third of car rentals have been booked in California (13%), Florida (10%), and Hawaii (8%). And while it does seem that drivers are seeking sunshine, they also seem to be opting for big cities like Denver, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Seattle—all of which saw a rise in ranking—over beach destinations like Honolulu, Lihue, Kailua-Kona, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Fort Myers—all of which declined in ranking.
Car Rental Destination Rankings and Rank Changes
2022 RankingCity, State2021 RankingRank Change (2021 to 2022)1Denver, CO322San Francisco, CA1083Orlando, FL2-14Kahului, HI1-35Boston, MA946Las Vegas, NV4-27Honolulu, HI6-18Los Angeles, CA18109Phoenix, AZ5-410Chicago, IL211111Lihue, HI7-412Kailua-kona, HI11-113Salt Lake City, UT8-514Dallas, TX23915Seattle, WA402516Portland, OR17117Fort Lauderdale, FL13-418San Diego, CA15-319San Jose, CA523320Tampa, FL12-821Philadelphia, PA29822Austin, TX371523Fort Myers, FL20-324Nashville, TN26225Houston, TX316
Travelers take a big bite out of The Big Apple
While hotels and vacation rentals saw the smallest increase in volume compared to last year, they saw impressive increases nonetheless, of 184% and 134% respectively.
Big cities continue to call it a comeback, with New York City reclaiming its number one spot for hotels, and New York (#3) and Brooklyn (#10) making massive jumps for vacation rentals as well. Other big cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and Portland also held their ground on both lists. Meanwhile, the vacation rental top 25 also saw outdoor adventure destinations hold their own, including Bend, OR, Moab, UT and Sedona, AZ.
Indianapolis will see crowds return for the Indy 500, climbing 16 spots from #31 to #15 for hotels and 18 spots from #40 to #22 for vacation rentals.
Yellowstone continues to be a hot spot for hotels, perhaps thanks to the popular television show. After setting records last year, Yellowstone made an appearance on the top-25 list for lodging at #25 this year.
Miami Beach (#11), Savannah (#12), and Nashville (#13) are new arrivals to the vacation rental top 25 this year as well. Perhaps as a popular spot for rescheduled bachelor and bachelorette parties?
Lodging Destination Ranking and Rank Changes
2022 RankingCity, State2021 RankingRank Change (2021 to 2022)1New York, NY432Las Vegas, NV1-13Chicago, IL744Orlando, FL2-25Boston, MA1386San Diego, CA5-17San Francisco, CA1478Seattle, WA1579Denver, CO10110Honolulu, HI3-711Los Angeles, CA17612Nashville, TN9-313New Orleans, LA8-514Washington, DC513715Indianapolis, IN311616Atlanta, GA412517Anaheim, CA341718Austin, TX11-719Lahaina, HI6-1320Portland, OR23321Philadelphia, PA432222Miami, FL26423Houston, TX361324Phoenix, AZ32825Yellowstone, WY5328
Vacation Rental Destination Rankings and Rank Changes
2022 RankingCity, State2021 RankingRank Change (2021 to 2022)1San Diego, CA102Seattle, WA203New York, NY18154Chicago, IL35315Austin, TX726Kissimmee, FL1157New Orleans, LA5-28Miami, FL1799Denver, CO302110Brooklyn, NY83282211Miami Beach, FL918012Savannah, GA291713Nashville, TN493614San Francisco, CA16215Palm Springs, CA3-1216Bend, OR24817Lahaina, HI14-318Moab, UT281019Asheville, NC9-1020Kihei, HI6-1421Tampa, FL896822Indianapolis, IN401823Portland, OR19-424Sedona, AZ8-1625Honolulu, HI10-15
Methodology: TripIt looked at U.S. origin round-trip flight reservations made between April 24, 2021, and April 24, 2022, for travel during Memorial Day weekend (Thursday, May 26 – Tuesday, May 31, 2022), and equivalent booking periods in 2021, 2020, and 2019. Reservation data in TripIt is provided by users and is booking provider agnostic.
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