Somewhat strangely, considering today’s record-high fuel prices, the number of road trips being taken in the U.S. has just outstripped pre-pandemic levels, according to leading travel intelligence platform Arrivalist.

With spring break now upon us, Arrivalist’s analysts discovered that—for the first time in the two years since the company created its Daily Travel Index—the 28-day rolling average of American road trips has surpassed 2019 numbers.

As of March 16, road trip activity was measured at 0.4 percent above the 28-day rolling average, while overnight stays (a new metric that Arrivalist recently incorporated) were up 1.4 percent.

“We built the Daily Travel Index to help the industry track the pulse of travel’s return,” said 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.”

“In spite of everything going on [in] the world, the increase in road trips and overnight stays indicate the pent-up demand for travel,” Lawson continued. “This is a bellwether for hotels and vacation rentals.”

The company’s Daily Travel Index was first launched in April 2020 as a free tool to help the travel industry keep pace with travel’s recovery from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was designed to track U.S. travel patterns, providing consumers and industry players with timely information within 48 hours of any given date.

Earlier this year, Arrivalist upgraded the Daily Travel Index by adding in three new enhancements: data on overnight stays, up to four years’ worth of data on travel trends (2019-2022) available for free and a function that can compare data on travel trends 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.”

Headquartered in New York City, with offices in San Francisco and Toronto, Arrivalist is the North American travel industry’s leading location intelligence platform. It pulls from multiple data sets to produce actionable insights into consumer behavior, market trends and more. This intelligence is used by more than 200 travel marketers, including 100 U.S. cities, 40 states, and four of the nation’s top theme parks to inform their operations, media strategy and destination development.

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