(LOS ANGELES – June 27, 2011) –After a huge surge in July Fourth travel during 2010, the number of Southern California travelers this holiday is expected to decline by 2.3 percent compared to last year, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. The decline in travel is primarily a result of fewer travelers taking drive trips this holiday.
Nearly 2.9 million Southland residents are expected to travel 50 miles or more to holiday getaways over the weekend – a drop from the 2.97 million who traveled last year. Last year’s Independence Day holiday saw the biggest one-year jump in the number of travelers over the past 10 years – a 38.6 percent increase compared to 2009.
Seventy-nine percent of this holiday weekend’s local travelers, or 2.29 million, will drive to their destinations – a 2.9 percent decrease from last year’s 2.36 million car travelers. Local air travelers will number 337,000 – a 1.7 percent increase from last year, and about 271,000 are expected to travel by bus, RV, train, ship or other means – a 2.6 percent decline from last year.
Statewide, 4.66 million travelers are expected this holiday weekend, compared to the 4.77 million who traveled during last year’s Fourth of July holiday. Of those, 3.68 million will drive – a 2.9 percent decrease from last year. Nearly 542,000 will fly to their destination – a 1.7 percent increase.
Nationally, Fourth of July travel is expected to decline by 2.5 percent from last year, with 39 million travelers expected compared to last year’s 40 million.
“Last year we saw a big return of the summer vacation among our members and this year started out well for travel bookings also,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “High gas prices this spring have started to impact travel, but the good news for consumers is that gas prices are continuing to drop and more vacation bargains are being offered this summer because travel providers have available space they need to fill.”
According to a survey of AAA Travel agents, the top five destinations for Southern Californians this holiday weekend are:
1) San Diego
2) Las Vegas
3) San Francisco
4) Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey)
5) Orange County (Disneyland)
Andre advises travelers to look for specials, bargains and extras this summer like gas cards, room upgrades or even free airfare offered from some cruise lines. “If you don’t want to spend hours researching, travel agents have all that information at their fingertips and can save you time and money, and they don’t charge for their services,” Andre said.
Since July Fourth falls on a Monday, Southern California travelers are likely to see heavy outbound traffic starting this Wednesday and Thursday, and congested traffic when travelers return Sunday and Monday.
The Auto Club offers the following tips for travelers:
- Budget your trip’s fuel cost with AAA’s Fuel Cost Calculator, available at http://www.fuelcostcalculator.com. This tool allows you to enter the make, model and year of your vehicle, as well as your start point and destination, to give you an estimate of your trip’s gas costs using real-time gas price averages.
- Make sure you don’t miss out on nearby attractions during your road trip and plan your gas station stops to save money with AAA’s online TripTik at http://aaa.com/triptik or use the free AAA TripTik Mobile app available for Android devices, iPhones and iPads. The app and Web site provide updated gas prices for thousands of stations around the U.S., and also includes TourBook information on locations of attractions, events and AAA Diamond-rated lodgings and restaurants.