Southland residents will take to the road, skies and sea in numbers not seen since 2002, the biggest Fourth of July travel weekend on record, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California’s travel forecast. Just over three million Southern California residents are expected to take an Independence Day vacation – a 1.3 percent increase over the 2015 Independence Day.
Eighty percent of Southern California travelers, or 2.41 million, are expected to drive to their holiday destinations – an increase of one percent from last year’s 2.39 million car travelers. Another 375,000 are expected to go by air – an increase of three percent from 2015’s 364,000 air travelers.
Statewide, more than 4.9 million are expected to travel over the Independence Day holiday, a 1.3 percent increase from last year, with 3.9 million going by car (up one percent from 2015) and 605,000 going by air (up three percent).
Nationally, Fourth of July travel is expected to increase by 1.3 percent to 42.9 million from last year’s 42.3 million.
“Lower gas prices have put some more disposable income in travelers’ budgets and have also lowered average airfares, encouraging more trips this holiday season and throughout the summer,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “We’re also seeing more travelers willing to spend a little extra on credit with a growth in consumer confidence.”
According to a survey of AAA Travel agents, the top five destinations for Southern Californians this holiday are:
1) San Diego
2) Las Vegas
3) San Francisco
4) Santa Barbara
Gas prices are now on the rise towards $3 a gallon in Southern California, but for most of the year they have been well below $3 a gallon and are currently about 60 cents lower on average than at this time in 2015 and $1.20 lower than the 2014 July Fourth holiday.
With the recent spate of extremely high temperatures locally, the Auto Club is urging those taking a road trip to check their vehicles or get them checked by a reliable mechanic before departure. The Auto Club expects to rescue 66,000 Southland motorists over this holiday – about 18 percent of the 370,000 rescues AAA will perform nationwide. Flat or blown-out tires and dead batteries are the top causes of breakdowns in extreme heat. Road trippers should also bring plenty of fluids along to stay hydrated in the event of a roadside emergency.
Auto Club members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance. AAA Mobile and AAA.com also provide information on the nearest AAA-Approved repair facilities.
The Independence Day holiday forecast was conducted by IHS Global Insight on behalf of AAA. Historical travel data is provided by DK Shifflet, the world’s most comprehensive consumer travel measurement provider.