Thanksgiving Travel In Southern California Will Increase By 2.5 Percent, Says Auto Club

Travel, Gas Prices

(LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22, 2006) — More than 2.97 million Southern Californians are expected to travel over this Thanksgiving holiday weekend — a 2.5 percent increase over last year, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Of those, nearly 2.4 million — or 80 percent of Southland travelers — will drive, while nearly 429,000 will fly and 148,000 will go by other means. Car travel is expected to be 2.5 percent higher than this time last year, while air travel is projected to increase by 2.9 percent.

Statewide, the Auto Club expects 4.75 million Californians to take Thanksgiving trips — also a 2.5 percent increase compared to the 4.64 million who traveled during the holiday weekend in 2005. More than 3.83 million statewide are expected to travel by car and 687,000 will fly.

Nationally, holiday travel is expected to increase by 2.7 percent compared to last year, with 38.3 million Americans projected to make getaways of 50 miles or more. Nearly 83 percent of travelers nationwide — or 31.7 million — will drive, and 4.8 million will go by airplane.

"The Transportation Security Administration is expecting extra-long lines at airports this Thanksgiving because many people will be traveling for the first time since the new carry-on restrictions on liquid items were imposed," said Auto Club spokeswoman Carol Thorp. "If you're traveling by plane this holiday, make sure you arrive at the airport at least two to three hours early."

For details on items allowed and banned in both check-in and carry-on luggage, travelers should contact their travel agent or visit

The top five destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a survey of the Auto Club's AAA Travel agents, are:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. Mexico (driving, air and cruise trips)
  3. San Diego
  4. Grand Canyon
  5. Hawaii

Gas prices in most California regions over this holiday are expected to be similar to the prices that Thanksgiving travelers paid last year — between $2.40 and $2.50 a gallon in most areas. For every other holiday weekend this year, travelers were paying more than $3 a gallon for gas.

Auto Club statistics for holiday travel are based on research conducted for AAA by the Travel Industry Association.