Southern Californians will enjoy leisure travel on Independence Day in near-record numbers this year, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Following a dip in travel for last year’s holiday, more than 3 million Southland residents are expected to take Fourth of July trips in the coming days – a 5.2 percent increase from 2011’s 2.88 million travelers.
Seventy-eight percent of Southern California’s traveling residents, or 2.38 million, are expected to drive to their holiday destinations – a 4 percent increase from last year’s 2.29 million car travelers. Another 359,000 are expected to go by air – a 9.8 percent increase from 2011’s air travel number of 327,000.
The projected numbers for Southern California and statewide travel are nearly the highest in the last decade. In 2003, 4.89 million Californians traveled over the July Fourth holiday; this year, the statewide number of travelers is expected to be 4.88 million (also a 5.2 percent increase from last year).
The number of Californians expected to go by car on July Fourth getaways is 3.68 million, while the number of plane travelers is projected at 577,000.
Nationally, Fourth of July travel is expected to rise by 4.9 percent, to 42.47 million from last year’s 40.29 million.
“With the Fourth of July holiday falling in the middle of the week this year, we are finding that more travelers are taking longer trips than they would on a typical three-day holiday weekend period, which is partly why air travel is up this year,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services.
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) Grand Canyon
5) Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey)
The July Fourth 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.