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Auto Club: Travel Heats Up With Unofficial Start Of Summer

This Memorial Day Is Expected To Be The Fourth-Busiest On Record For Southern California

Mem Day image

Memorial Day 2022 soundbites in English with Auto Club Spokesperson Doug Shupe

Memorial Day 2022 soundbites in Spanish with Auto Club Spokesperson Anlleyn Venegas

The Automobile Club of Southern California is projecting a robust increase in Memorial Day travel compared to last year due to pent-up demand during the pandemic. Despite high gas prices and inflation, 3.1 million people in Southern California are projected to take trips this  Memorial Day weekend, which is expected to be the fourth busiest on record behind 2005, 2018 and 2019. Statewide, 5 million people will travel for the holiday weekend and nationally, 39.2 million people will hit the roads, skies and seas.

SoCal Mem Traveler chart
National Mem travel chart

“With pandemic restrictions lifting and modes of travel such as air and cruises continuing to rebound, Auto Club travel advisors are working hard to rebook trips that were delayed over the last two years and plan new adventures for friends and families,” said Heather Felix, the Auto Club’s vice president of travel products & services. “The Auto Club strongly recommends people who are planning big trips this summer to use a trusted travel advisor and consider travel insurance, which can both save you time and money if something unexpectedly derails your travel plans.”

Top Travel Destinations

The top five destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a survey of Auto Club travel advisors, are:

1) Mexico (cruises and resorts)

2) Las Vegas

3) Grand Canyon National Park

4) San Diego

5) Santa Barbara/Central Coast

Among local travelers who are flying, Hawaii is the top destination. And nationally, AAA predicts that Anaheim will be the fifth most popular destination for travelers.

Gas Prices/Travel Costs

Both statewide and throughout the U.S., gas prices have been surging in recent weeks and Memorial Day travelers will likely be paying the highest prices ever for this holiday. Currently, prices are averaging near $6 a gallon and are about $1.70 higher than this time last year in Southern California, which means drivers will be paying about $24 more to fill up the typical 14-gallon size tank.

AAA found that average airfare costs for this holiday are up 6% from last year, mid-range hotel rates have surged by about 42% from 2021, and daily car rental rates are down 16% from last year. To help offset increased costs, AAA is recommending that travelers consider a cruise, tour, or an all-inclusive resort with plenty of on-site activities to avoid the expense of rental cars, restaurants and entertainment.

Auto Club to Rescue 63,000 Southern California Motorists this Holiday

Nearly 85% of holiday travelers will be driving. During the five-day holiday period from Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30, the Auto Club expects to rescue 63,000 motorists in Southern California, while AAA expects to rescue 388,000 drivers across the United States. To avoid a breakdown, the Auto Club urges those taking a holiday road trip to get their vehicle inspected ahead of time by a trusted mechanic such as those affiliated with the AAA Approved Auto Repair program.

Plan Ahead for Busy Roads

According to the transportation analytics firm INRIX, the Friday before Memorial Day will be the most congested day to travel, with local freeways expected to have more than twice their normal traffic on Friday afternoon. The worst local corridor for traffic is expected to be Interstate 5 South between Colorado St. and Florence Ave. Thursday afternoon and evening are also likely to be more congested with travelers and commuters heading out of town early.

About AAA

Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of 62 million members across North America, including 56 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA has to offer or to become a member, visit

Media Contacts

Doug Shupe
LA-based media contact
(512) 659-1632
Anlleyn Venegas
Public Affairs Specialist. Spanish-Language Media Spokesperson , Auto Club Enterprises
(619) 565-4556
CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Automobile Club of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.