A record number of Southern Californians will visit family, friends, and getaways this holiday season, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California’s holiday travel forecast. More than 7.31 million Southland residents – and nearly 11.8 million statewide – are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the holiday travel period of Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. That’s an increase of five-tenths of one percent over 2012.
Eighty-nine percent of travelers, or 6.51 million Southern Californians and 10.48 million statewide, will travel by car to their destinations – a 1.1 percent increase from last year. More than 573,000 local residents and 922,000 Californians are expected to fly, which is a 2.6 percent decline over 2012.
Nationally, travel is also projected to set a record for this holiday period with 94.5 million travelers, an increase of six-tenths of one percent over last year’s Christmas-New Year holiday.
“Reconnecting with family and friends is more important than ever during this holiday season, which is a big reason AAA is projecting another record season for holiday travel,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services.
The average distance for this holiday’s getaways is 750 miles round-trip for Pacific Coast state residents, and the average getaway budget this year is expected to be $850 for travelers from Pacific Coast states.
The most popular destinations for Southern Californians over this Christmas-New Year holiday, according to a poll of Auto Club AAA Travel agents, are:
1) Las Vegas
2) San Francisco
3) San Diego
4) Central Coast
5) Grand Canyon
Gas prices are likely to be similar to last year’s holiday period, with many Southland stations now charging between $3.50 and $3.60 a gallon for regular unleaded.