If Spring Break Patterns Hold, May Indicate That U.S. Travel is Back at Pre-Pandemic Levels
Despite rising gas prices and inflation, U.S. road trips have risen above pre-pandemic levels according to Arrivalist, the leading location intelligence platform in the travel industry. As spring break travel nears, for the first time in its two-year history, the 28-day rolling average of Arrivalist’s Daily Travel Index peaked above 2019 levels.
“We built the Daily Travel Index to help the industry track the pulse of travel’s return,” says Arrivalist founder and CEO Cree Lawson. “We created the product for a momentous day like today. Is this a tipping point? Can travel hold out? Time and spring break will tell.”
As of Tuesday, March 16, road trip activity was up 0.4 percent above the 28-day rolling average. Overnight stays, a metric Arrivalist recently added, were up 1.4 percent.
“In spite of everything going on the world, the increase in road trips and overnight stays indicate the pent-up demand for travel,” said Lawson. “This is a bellwether for hotels and vacation rentals.”
Arrivalist’s Daily Travel Index tracks U.S. travel patterns, providing consumers with timely updates within 48-hours of a specific date. Launched in April 2020, the platform was built as a free tool to help the travel industry track the pulse of travel’s recovery. Earlier this year, Arrivalist updated the Daily Travel Index with three new improvements, including the addition of overnight stay data on the website, up to four years of trending travel data (2019-2022) available for free, and the ability to compare trending travel data across all 50 states.
“This is a threshold moment,” shared Destinations International CEO and president Don Welsh. “We appreciate all the work Arrivalist has done charting the path, from sharing data from their Daily Travel Index at no cost, to providing insights throughout our industry’s recovery.”
How the Data is Calculated
Arrivalist’s methodology is based on a representative balanced panel of GPS signals representing road trips taken specifically in cars (excluding travel by air). A trip is measured as one where the user has travelled a minimum of 50 miles and spent a minimum of two hours at the destination. Commuter travel or other frequently repeated trips—i.e., cargo deliveries or other reoccurring activities—are excluded from the Daily Travel Index.