(LOS ANGELES, Dec. 19, 2005) — Two three-day holiday weekends will give more Californians a chance to make getaways before the end of the year. The Automobile Club of Southern California predicts that more than 8.8 million residents statewide and 5.5 million Southern Californans will take a trip over the upcoming holiday — a 2.2 percent increase over last year.
Eighty percent of Southern California travelers, or nearly 4.4 million people, are expected to drive to their holiday destinations, compared to 4.3 million holiday motorists last year. More than 850,000 Southlanders will take a holiday plane trip this year compared to 822,000 last year, while almost 275,000 will take a cruise, bus or train trip compared to 270,000 in 2004.
"With Christmas and New Year's holidays taking place on the weekend for the second year in a row, we'll again see many families taking advantage of the three-day weekends by taking a trip," said Auto Club spokesperson Carol Thorp.
Statewide, nearly 7 million motorists will take holiday driving trips of 50 miles or more, while nearly 1.4 million will fly and more than 440,000 will take another mode of travel. Across the country, 63.5 million Americans are projected to take holiday trips — a 1.7 percent increase from last year.
The top two air and cruise destinations for Southern California travelers this year are Hawaii and the Caribbean, according to a survey of AAA travel agents. The top three driving destinations are:
- San Francisco
- Las Vegas
- Palm Springs
Gas prices in most areas are less than 15 cents higher than they were a year ago, but still well above $2 a gallon. Oil analysts expect prices to continue decreasing through the next week as long as supplies continue to be plentiful.
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.