After two years of decreases, July Fourth travel among Southern Californians is expected to partially recover this year, with 2.57 million local residents planning to take trips this holiday, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. That’s a 19 percent increase from the number who traveled last year.
Among Southern California travelers, 2.23 million, or 87 percent of them, will get to their destinations by car this holiday weekend – 20 percent more than the 1.85 million who drove to their destinations last year. A projected 190,000 travelers will fly, which is a 20 percent increase from last year’s 173,000 plane travelers.
Statewide, 4.14 million travelers are expected to take holiday trips, also an increase of 19 percent. Car travelers are expected to number 3.58 million, while 306,000 are expected to go by plane. Nationally, July Fourth travel is expected to increase by 17 percent compared to last year, with 34.9 million Americans projected to take holiday getaways.
According to the AAA/Auto Club holiday travel survey, the average distance traveled for Fourth of July getaways for Southern Californians will be 470 miles, and this holiday’s median travel budget will be $756 in California and nearby states. Gas prices are expected to be almost the same as last year and are now in the $3.10-per-gallon range in most local areas.
“As we saw in our summer travel survey earlier this month, people are getting back to traveling, but they are hanging on to value-driven spending habits and are economizing on their trips,” said Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring. “Bargains for Independence Day trips are not as plentiful this year as they were in 2009 when the recession was in full swing, but travelers can always save money by taking shorter trips, going to closer locations and choosing less expensive lodging, eating and entertainment.”
The top five destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a poll of the Auto Club’s AAA Travel Agency, are:
1) San Diego
2) Las Vegas
3) San Francisco
4) Central Coast
5) Grand Canyon
The holiday travel projections were based on economic forecasts, analysis and an extensive survey conducted by IHS Global Insight on behalf of AAA.
The Auto Club advises auto travelers to plan their routes ahead of time, and to call the California Highway Information Number at (800) 427-7623 to make sure that their planned route will not be disrupted by highway closures. The closure information is updated hourly.