Southern Californians will travel over this holiday weekend in bigger numbers than during any other Labor Day holiday since 2008, according to projections from the Automobile Club of Southern California. More than 2.48 million Southland residents are expected to take trips - a 1.6 percent increase over last year's holiday.
Nearly 80 percent of local travelers, or 1.98 million, are expected to drive to their destinations. That's a 1.9 percent increase from last year. Air travelers are expected to increase by less than 1 percent, to 314,000 locally. And those going by bus, train, cruise ship or other means are projected to hold steady at 189,000.
Statewide, 3.99 million travelers are expected to get away this holiday weekend, compared to 3.93 million last year -- also a 1.6 percent increase. Of those, 3.19 million will drive, which is a 1.9 percent increase from last year's 3.13 million, and 508,000 will fly, which is a 0.5 percent increase from last year's 505,000 air travelers statewide. About 290,000 are expected to go by other modes of travel, almost the same number as last year.
"As the summer ends, we are entering the 'shoulder' travel season and even though Labor Day is a three-day weekend, it can often be a more affordable travel holiday than other peak times such as Christmas and July Fourth," said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club's vice president for travel products and services.
The all-time record for Southern California Labor Day holiday travel was set in 2008, when 3.2 million Southern Californians and 5.2 million statewide took holiday trips.
Nationally, more than 34.7 million Americans are projected to travel at least 50 miles away from home during the holiday period between Thursday and Monday. That's a 1.3 percent increase from last year's 34.2 million travelers.
The top destinations for local Labor Day travelers, according to a survey of the Auto Club's AAA Travel agents, are:
1) San Diego
2) San Francisco
3) Las Vegas
4) Central Coast
5) Grand Canyon
Gas prices have fallen well below $4 a gallon in most Southern California areas and now are very similar to prices at this time last year. With road and freeway reconstruction in high gear throughout the region, travelers should be sure to either check their route ahead of time by calling the California Highway Information Number at 800-427-7623, visiting www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/ or by using a real-time traffic and mapping application ahead of time to find out if their route will be affected by detours.
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