Chinese people made 732 million trips via railway, road, waterway, and plane from February 1 to 10, down 3.3 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Transport (MOT).
The Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, is the most important occasion for family gatherings, which falls on Friday this year. The peak travel period around the festival, also known as chunyun, will last for 40 days from February 1 to March 12, as many Chinese people return to their hometowns.
The MOT attributed the slower travel rush in the first 10 days to the fact that most college and university students had already returned home for their winter vacation as the festival comes late this year.
Some migrant workers have also left their jobs prior to the beginning of this year's travel rush, and more people opted to drive their own vehicles home, the MOT reported.
Over 20 percent of intercity travelers are expected to drive during the Spring Festival travel rush this year, according to an AutoNavi report.
Trips made on trains edged up 0.45 percent to 89.3 million, the MOT data showed.