Labor Day travel in Southern California is expected to increase by 3.4 percent over last year, with 2.35 million Southland residents projected to take trips over the holiday weekend, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
More than 1.85 million Southern Californians are expected to drive to their destinations, an increase of 3.6 percent over the 1.79 million who traveled by car last year.
The number of Southland travelers by plane is expected to increase by 4.1 percent to 306,000, compared to 294,000 last year. The number of travelers by all other modes – including bus, train, RV and cruise ship – is expected to stay about the same as last year at 190,000.
“Travel interest and bookings have seen improvement compared with 2011,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “Although gas prices are expected to be higher this holiday weekend than during other Labor Day weekends, we anticipate this to have very little impact on holiday travel, because most people have planned their trips and made reservations before the dramatic rise in gas prices. And fuel costs typically represent a fairly small percentage of the overall trip budget.”
Statewide, 3.79 million travelers are expected to get away this holiday weekend – a 3.4 percent increase over last year’s 3.66 million. Of those, 2.99 million will drive, which is a 3.6 percent increase from last year, and 492,000 will fly, which is a 4.1 percent increase. About 306,000 are expected to go by other modes of travel.
More than 33 million Americans are projected to travel at least 50 miles away from home during the holiday period between Thursday and Monday. That’s a 2.9 percent increase from last year’s 32.1 million travelers.
The top destinations for local Labor Day travelers, according to a survey of the Auto Club’s AAA Travel agents, are:
1) San Diego
2) Las Vegas
3) Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey)
4) San Francisco
5) Grand Canyon
Gas prices will be higher this holiday weekend than during any other Labor Day weekend, with Southern California averages well above $4 a gallon. The previous Labor Day weekend record price was in 2008, when Southland travelers were paying $3.80 to $3.90 a gallon on average. However, Labor Day travelers will be paying less for gas than those who made getaways during Memorial Day weekend this year, when local gas prices averaged $4.25 a gallon.