Travel tips for Labor Day weekend 2022 for drivers and flyers


Labor Day weekend is when the last big rush of summer vacationers hits the roads and skies, eager to get away before school is in full swing.

Celebrating the long weekend with a trip can be fun but also stressful, with crowds at the airport and traffic jams on the roads.

Luckily, vacationers can find ways to ease those travel stresses no matter how they get to their destination. Here are some tips for people who will be driving, flying or going off the grid this weekend.

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What to know if you’re departing from Phoenix

Labor Day weekend flights are expected to cost more than last year and before the pandemic.

Round-trip domestic airfare for the holidays will cost Americans an average of $278, up 23% from last year and 20% from 2019, according to Hopper, a price-monitoring firm. plane tickets.

But higher airfares aren’t deterring travelers. About 12.6 million people are expected to fly for Labor Day weekend, according to Hopper.

More destinations: Frontier Airlines just added a slew of new flights from Phoenix

A sign that airports will be busier this year is the way the Transportation Security Administration’s passenger screenings have increased from last summer.

The TSA has screened 1.9 million to 2.4 million passengers in August so far, with every day overtaking the same month in 2021.

Labor Day weekend screenings last year ranged from 1.5 million to 2.1 million passengers from Sept. 3-6, 2021, according to the TSA.

Although Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport isn’t anticipating Labor Day weekend traffic, its passenger numbers showed the year so far is the busiest since the pre-pandemic.

Sky Harbor passenger traffic totaled more than 21 million passengers from January to June 2022, up 30.2% from 2021 traffic, but not yet back to pre-pandemic levels. Sky Harbor traffic totaled 23.5 million passengers from January to June 2019.

New to Sky Harbor: Breeze Airways brings its low-cost flights to Phoenix

Sky Harbor Airport Travel Tips

Sky Harbor staff offered these tips for people who will be flying on vacation:

  • Check your flight status with your airline before heading to the airport.
  • Arrive at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
  • For more information on parking and garage availability, visit or call the airport’s 24-hour parking hotline at 602-273-4545.
  • For security checkpoint wait times, visit or check the flight information display boards in each terminal. You can use any Terminal 4 security checkpoint to access any door.
  • Use interactive maps on to find restaurants, shops, lounges, restrooms, ATMs and charging stations near you.
  • Bring a snack or meal for the plane. Food can be carried through security screening and beverages can be purchased after security screening and brought on board the aircraft.
  • Do not carry items in your carry-on baggage that are restricted or prohibited. To find out which items cannot be carried in carry-on luggage, go to

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What to know if you’re driving in Arizona

Gas costs a little less. Motorists will be somewhat relieved by high gas prices this summer, but will still pay more than last year.

As of August 25, the average price per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline was $4.02 in Arizona, down from $4.68 a month ago, but up from $3.11 the same day in 2021, according to AAA.

Prepare an emergency kit. Drivers should be prepared for hot, stormy weather and carry an emergency kit in case they need to stop along a highway, said Doug Nintzel, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation. .

Items in an emergency kit include a first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, small tool kit, drinking water and snacks. If you are traveling with young children and/or pets, include items that you know they will also be comfortable with.

Plan your departure time. When should you go out? Heavy traffic is typical from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Friday before Labor Day, Nintzel said.

Going early in the day can lower your chances of encountering heavy traffic, he said. But drivers should be aware that an unexpected problem like a fender bender or a broken down vehicle could still delay them.

No highway closures. ADOT and its contractors have no highway closures scheduled for Labor Day weekend. However, motorists should be aware of work zones that could delay rush hour traffic.

Nintzel specifically pointed to an ongoing resurfacing project that has reduced portions of southbound Interstate 17 to one lane in select areas between Flagstaff and Sedona.

“Allowing at least a little extra time, even if it’s 15 minutes, might help limit any frustration in places like this,” he said.

California Driving Alert: If you’re driving Interstate 10 into California, be aware that recent flooding in the desert may affect your travels.

Portions of I-10 between the state line and State Road 177 in California were washed out due to flooding. With officials giving no estimated timeline for the repair work, delays are expected for travel over the bank holiday weekend.

Follow the California Department of Transportation Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates.

Delays on Interstate 10: Washout will delay trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles

Other advice from ADOT includes:

  • Get enough rest before driving. Do not drive while impaired, which includes drowsy driving.
  • Check your vehicle before a long trip. Checking tire pressure, oil level and engine fluid levels can help prevent breakdowns.
  • Prepare for changing weather conditions. Move out of the way in a dust storm.
  • Do not stop or park in areas with taller grass or shrubbery along the shoulders of the freeway as this can pose a fire hazard.
  • Track real-time road conditions on and ADOT’s Twitter page.

Sunset point: This busy I-17 rest area is closing for repairs. Where to stop instead

Tips for Grand Canyon Visitors

Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest for camping and day trips to Grand Canyon National Park. That’s why park spokeswoman Joelle Baird suggests travelers arrive early.

“The south entrance gate can be blocked as early as 10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m.,” she said. “Visitors can wait up to hours to get in.”

Anyone waiting until now to book campsites or hotels inside the park will find limited options, Baird said. Try Tusayan, Valle, Williams or Flagstaff for hotel rooms.

Hidden Gem: This resort nestled in the mountains named #1 in Arizona

What to expect if you go camping or hiking

People planning outdoor escapes won’t have to worry as much about wildfires and fire restrictions as they did on previous Labor Days due to this summer’s active monsoon.

The conditions took Grand Canyon staff by surprise this year, Baird said. She urged people who come to the park to watch the weather closely, especially if they are planning a long hike.

They should watch for lightning warnings and know lightning safety tips, such as knowing where the nearest safe structure or vehicle is and avoiding open areas and the edge of the canyon.

Get more lightning safety tips at

Even in the absence of fire restrictions, campers should still exercise caution. For example, the Grand Canyon only allows campfires in designated campfire circles, Baird said.

Currently, no major wildfires are burning in Arizona. Grand Canyon staff have been monitoring a number of fires on the North Rim over the summer, including the lightning-caused Dragon Fire that began in July, Baird said. But most of the fires had little impact because of the monsoon rains.

As for state parks, only two have fire restrictions: Lost Dutchman in Apache Junction and Picacho Peak in Picacho. Fires of any kind are prohibited at both parks, and smoking and vaping are permitted only in enclosed vehicles, according to Arizona State Parks and Trails.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @salerno_phx.

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