Memorial Day weekend road traffic is expected to be just as busy this year in Southern California as during the 2012 holiday, but the number of air and other travelers will be lower, according to travel projections from the Automobile Club of Southern California.
About 2.53 million Southern Californians are projected to take holiday trips this weekend, compared to 2.59 million who traveled last year – a 2.1 percent decrease. Of those, 2.17 million are expected to drive to their holiday destinations, which is about the same number as last year.
The number of Southland air travelers this holiday weekend is expected to fall to 217,000 from 248,000 in 2012, while the number of “other” travelers is also expected to drop to 144,000 from 168,000 in 2012.
Statewide, a total of 4.08 million are projected to take trips, also a decrease of 2.1 percent compared to the 4.16 million travelers in 2012. Of those, about 86 percent of travelers, or 3.5 million, are expected to go by car (about the same number as last year). About 349,000 statewide are projected to fly, compared to 399,000 in 2012, and 231,000 will go by other means, compared to 269,900 in 2012.
“Despite the drop in air travel, airports still will be very crowded this holiday weekend and planes will be full as airlines continue to consolidate flights to reduce their costs,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel. “We advise passengers to plan an extra hour into their travel time to get to the airport and through longer security lines due to the holiday.”
Nationally, travel is also expected to dip slightly compared to last year’s Memorial Day holiday, with 34.8 million travelers expected compared to 35.1 million in 2012. Car travel is expected to rise very slightly to 31.1 million from 31.08 million last year, while air travel is expected to drop to 2.3 million from 2.5 million in 2012, and “other” travel will drop to 1.3 million from 1.5 million last year.
While gas prices rose during the past couple of weeks, they are still about 30 cents lower than they were at this time last year in Southern California.
The top Memorial Day destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a survey of AAA Travel agents, are:
1) San Diego
2) Las Vegas
3) San Francisco
4) Central Coast
5) Grand Canyon
Memorial Day travel projections are based on research conducted for AAA by IHS Global Insight.