An Estimated 100 Million Americans Are Expected To Travel This Upcoming Holiday Season

Leading location data company Arrivalist is forecasting that just over 103 million Americans will travel via automobile this year during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays (December 22 through January 2).

It’s predicting that 33.6 percent more people will be traveling this year compared with the same period last year, but even that will come in at 1.6 percent lower than in 2019’s pre-pandemic holiday season.

“We predict that road trips will continue to dominate over the holiday break,” said Arrivalist Founder and CEO Cree Lawson. “The news about the new Omicron variant is likely to have a much bigger impact on air travel than road trips.” 

Weekly trends detailed in Arrivalist’s Daily Travel Index show that, over the past three weeks, the difference in car traveler volumes when comparing 2021 to 2019 levels is less than 0.5 percent; which means that the road-trip trends for this time of year are mirroring 2019’s, including over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The impact of the new Omicron variant on road trip travel is still unclear,” Lawson said. “As such, any significant increase in activity from the variant over the next two weeks could dampen the results by a few percentage points.” 

Arrivalist’s U.S. Daily Travel Index represents a measurement of daily road trip activity among the residents of all 50 states, using a representative balanced panel of GPS signals that excludes commuter travel or frequently repeated trips, like cargo deliveries.

It was created as a free, publicly accessible online resource, intended to provide insights the travel industry needs to help plot its path toward pandemic recovery. Visitors can use the tool to compare 2021 activity levels with those seen during the same period in 2020 or 2019.

Charts can be displayed as weekly or monthly comparisons, and users can select which states they’d like to include in the data. Arrivalist can also create a customized Daily Travel Index for clients, allowing them to compare road-trip activity in their market against a nationwide index.