(LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29, 2005) — An all-time record number of Southern Californians have made plans to get away this holiday weekend despite gas prices that are also at record levels, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Nearly 3.1 million Southland residents are expected to take holiday trips of at least 50 miles from home this weekend — a 1.8 percent increase over last Labor Day weekend, when just over 3 million people traveled.
Statewide, 4.9 million residents plan to travel this weekend — also a 1.8 percent increase over last year. Nationally, 34.5 million people are expected to get away, which is a 0.9 percent increase compared to last year.
Driving trips will make up 78 percent of all Labor Day getaways both statewide and locally, with 3.8 million Californians and 2.4 million Southland residents expected to drive to their holiday destinations. That's a 1.9 percent increase in Labor Day vehicle getaways compared to last year, when 3.77 million statewide and 2.35 million locally made driving trips of 50 miles or more. Also, more than 825,000 Californians and more than 515,000 Southland residents are projected to fly to their destinations — a 1.5 percent increase over last year.
"High gas prices are on the minds of most drivers, but travel continues to gain in popularity," said Auto Club spokeswoman Carol Thorp. "Those who want to stretch their travel budget are making up for high gas prices by seeking out bargains on their trip expenses or choosing closer destinations."
The most popular destinations for Southern Californians, according to a survey of the Auto Club's AAA Travel agents, are:
- Las Vegas
- San Diego
- San Francisco
Local auto travelers are likely to see gas price records broken daily heading into the Labor Day weekend because of California refinery problems that are affecting production.
The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest affiliate of the AAA, has been serving members since 1900. Today, the Auto Club's members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing, buying and financing programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's Web site at www.aaa.com.