The Automobile Club of Southern California is projecting that the number of Thanksgiving travelers from Southern California will stay on par with last year. About 3.37 million Southland residents are expected to vacation over the holiday weekend – an increase of six-tenths of one percent over last year’s 3.35 million local travelers.
About 87 percent of travelers, or 2.93 million, are expected to travel by car – a 0.5 percent increase over 2011. Another 341,000 will fly – a 1.8 percent decrease, and 105,000 will go by other means.
"Thanksgiving holiday travel is continuing to bounce back from the recession years of 2008 and 2009," said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club's vice president for travel. "This year's projected number of Southern California travelers is on track to be slightly higher than the 10-year average number of Thanksgiving travelers from 2002 through 2011, which is 3.34 million."
Statewide, 5.43 million travelers are expected this weekend, also an increase of less than 1 percent over last year. About 4.71 million of them will be driving to their holiday destinations, while 549,000 are expected to fly and 169,000 will go by bus, RV, train or cruise ship.
Nationally, 43.56 million people are expected to travel over this holiday weekend, which is an increase of seven-tenths of one percent from last year. Ninety percent, or 39.1 million, will drive to their destinations, and 3.1 million are expected to fly.
The top five destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a survey of the Auto Club’s AAA Travel agents, are:
1) Las Vegas
2) San Diego
3) San Francisco
4) Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey)
5) Grand Canyon
According to IHS Global Insight, which conducts holiday travel research and calculates holiday travel projections for AAA, this year’s holiday travelers are planning to spend less on their trips than in 2011. As a result, travelers plan to spend less on lodging and are slightly cutting their spending on dining out and sightseeing.