(LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21, 2005) — More than 2.9 million Southern Californians are expected to take holiday trips this weekend — a 4.7 percent increase over the number who traveled last year, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
Of those travelers, 2.35 million, or 81 percent of the total, are expected to drive to their destinations, while more than 400,000 are expected to fly. Car travel in Southern California is projected to increase 4.8 percent over last Thanksgiving weekend, and air travel is expected to increase by 1.4 percent.
Nationally, Thanksgiving travel is expected to stay largely flat because of continuing repercussions from the hurricane disasters. AAA is projecting that 37.3 million people nationwide will take trips of 50 miles or more this weekend, compared to 37 million who traveled last year.
Statewide, the Auto Club is predicting that 4.65 million people will make holiday trips this weekend, compared to 4.44 million last year. Nearly 3.77 million Californians are projected to travel by car, and more than 640,000 are expected to fly.
"Thanksgiving weekend has always been a chance for families to reconnect, and this year in particular it seems like more Southern California families are also making this an opportunity to take a cruise or visit a popular tourist destination together, instead of going to Grandma's house," said Auto Club spokesperson Carol Thorp.
The most popular destinations for Southern California travelers this Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey of AAA Travel agents, are:
- Palm Springs
- Las Vegas
- Mexico and Mexico cruises
- San Francisco and Northern California
Gas prices are expected to continue declining into the weekend and soon could be within 10 to 15 cents of the prices that motorists paid last year, although they remain at the highest levels ever paid during the Thanksgiving holiday.
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.