Travelers headed home Monday as the Labor Day holiday weekend came to a close, and for those hitting the road, high gas prices and heavy traffic put a frustrating end to a fun-filled weekend for some.
Labor Day weekend tends to be one of the busiest for travel every year and this year is no exception.
According to a recent survey, 53% of Americans planned to go somewhere for the holiday and AAA projected domestic travel to increase by 22% on last year.
Yet even with the big holiday travel expectations, traffic flowed smoothly northbound and southbound on Interstate 95 through Monday morning and early afternoon.
Bob Fritts was heading home to Palm Beach after spending the weekend in Tennessee.
He split the trip into two days, but said traffic was light the whole way.
“It was great yesterday. So far today it’s been super. Got up a little early and hit the road so that I could beat the traffic,” said Fritts.
It was the same story for Don Lefevre who was heading home to Orlando from Lake City.
“We took the turnpike coming off and then we do the horseshoe downtown, take 95 going home. No traffic so far,” said Lefevre.
As for why the roads were so clear?
Gas prices could be a factor.
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The national average price of gas is currently $3.78, down by more than a dollar from the peak price this year, but still 60 cents higher than this time last year.
For travelers like Lisa Loper though, expensive gas wasn’t going to stand in the way of a fun weekend in West Virginia.
“You gotta take advantage of those few days you get off,” said Loper.
For those who did opt to travel by air, delays and cancellations were kept to a minimum at Jacksonville International Airport Monday.
As of 5 p.m. there had been no cancellations and only nine flight delays.
Still, it was definitely busier than usual at the airport.
According to passengers we spoke with, their Labor Day travels were as smooth as the jazz saxophone that greeted them in the airport lobby.
Amanda Spann hit three weddings in three cities this weekend.
She said the whole escapade went off without a hitch.
“I actually was surprised by that because a couple of weeks ago everything was getting canceled left and right, but they ran things pretty smoothly this week,” said Spann.
International travel was projected to increase by 104% this year compared to last year.
Tyre Stevenson stayed a little closer to home and spent his weekend in Atlanta.
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had a total of 171 delays today and three cancellations, but Stevenson managed to avoid any issues.
“No cancellations. Everything was great. Had a great time,” said Stevenson.
And even though he could have made the drive, he said there was one factor in particular that pushed him to choose air travel: gas prices.
“It was cheaper to fly and less hassle,” said Stevenson.
While we only spoke with travelers returning home to Jacksonville, Visit Jacksonville anticipates the numbers will show the Bold City saw its fair share of visitors this weekend.
Generally Labor Day weekend doesn’t bring a spike in visitors, but August saw a historic high for hotel occupancy and revenues.
“We anticipate that Jacksonville hotels saw plenty of business for this long weekend. Overall, August looks to have been the highest for hotel occupancy and revenues in history. We believe September visitation will also follow these trends,” said Visit Jacksonville Chief Marketing Officer Katie Mitura in an emailed statement.