Labor Day travel statewide and in Southern California is projected to be 6 percent higher than in 2012 – the biggest bump in holiday travel for 2013 - with 2.44 million Southland residents projected to take trips over the holiday weekend, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. This jump outpaces the national projected increase in Labor Day travelers of 4.2 percent.
More than 1.93 million Southern Californians are expected to drive to their destinations, an increase of 6.2 percent over the 1.82 million who traveled by car last year.
The number of Southland travelers by plane is expected to increase by 4.4 percent to 320,000, compared to 306,000 last year. The number of travelers by all other modes – including bus, train, RV and cruise ship – is expected to increase by 6.1 percent to 186,000, compared to 175,500 last year.
Statewide, 3.93 million travelers are expected to get away this holiday weekend, compared to 3.7 million last year. Of those, 3.11 million will drive, which is a 6.2 percent increase from last year’s 2.93 million, and 515,000 will fly, which is a 4.4 percent increase from last year’s 493,000 air travelers statewide. About 300,000 are expected to go by other modes of travel, a 6.1 percent increase from 282,000 in 2012.
“As this year progressed, we have seen more and more people coming into the travel marketplace as a result of increased affordability, consumer confidence and the importance that a vacation plays in people’s lives,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services.
The average amount that will be spent by Californians and other West Coast residents on their upcoming Labor Day trip is $622 – below the national average of $804. “In California, we have the luxury of choosing many affordable driving-distance getaways,” Andre said.
More than 34 million Americans are projected to travel at least 50 miles away from home during the holiday period between Thursday and Monday. That’s a 4.2 percent increase from last year’s 32.7 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) San Francisco
4) Central Coast
5) Grand Canyon
Local holiday weekend travelers will benefit from falling gas prices, which are about 25 cents a gallon lower than at this time last year. However, road and freeway reconstruction is in high gear throughout the region, so travelers should be sure to either check their route ahead of time by calling the California Highway Information Number at 800-427-7623, visiting www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/ or by using a real-time traffic and mapping application ahead of time to find out if their route will be affected by detours.