The value of travel time savings (VTTS) representing the willingness to pay to reduce travel time, consists of two components: the value of liberating time [equal to the value of leisure (VoL)] and the value of time assigned to travel (VTAT), representing the travel conditions of a trip. Their relative values indicate which dimension to emphasize when investing in transport: speed or comfort. In this paper, we formulate and estimate a framework aimed at the improvement in the estimation of the VoL. By introducing a novel treatment of time assigned to domestic work, we consider that unpaid labor should be assigned a wage rate as a measure of the expenses avoided when assigning time to those chores. We use state-of-the-art data on time use and expenses as well as online data on gig workers collected in Austria, and apply the time-use and expenditure model of Jara-Diaz et al. (Transp Res Part B 42(10):946–957, 2008). The wage rates for paid and unpaid work were combined to re-formulate the budget constraint, which affected women more than men due to the higher involvement of the former in domestic activities. Compared against the original estimation, the VoL changed from €10/h for men and €6/h for women to €9/h for both genders, which in turn yields a larger average VTAT, which becomes positive for public transport. As a conclusion, the novel treatment of domestic labor contributes to closing the gap in the VoL between genders and highlights the power of unveiling the components behind the VTTS. The empirical findings imply that investments in travel time reductions rather than in comfort should be prioritized, given the very good conditions of public transport in Austria.