Memorial Day travel — from Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29 — will increase this year, with 3.03 million people in the Southland expected to travel at least 50 miles and 4.89 million people expected to do so statewide, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
It’s the sixth consecutive year that the number of Memorial Day travelers has grown compared to the previous year, the Auto club said in a statement, adding that this year will see the largest number since the all-time record of 3.2 million in the Southland and 5.18 million statewide, which was set in 2005.
The Auto Club said local gas prices are expected to hold steady near $3 a gallon on average — the second cheapest price averages for this time of year since 2009.
Among Southern California travelers, 2.52 million are expected to travel by car — a 2.9 percent increase from last year’s 2.45 million going by motor vehicle and a number representing about 84 percent of all travelers, according to the AAA.
Another 300,000 Southland residents are expected to go by plane, which is a 6.2 percent increase over the 2016 holiday’s 282,000 air travelers. And about 197,000 local travelers will take a recreational vehicle, cruise ship, bus, train, or other mode of travel — a 4.9 percent increase from the 188,000 who traveled by other means in 2016.
The top five Memorial Day destinations for Southern California travelers this year are Las Vegas, San Diego, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco, and Yosemite, according to the Auto Club.
“One significant trend we are seeing this year is solid growth in the number of air travelers, which also tends to signify longer vacations that are a greater distance away from home,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel.
Statewide, about 84 percent of travelers, or 4.08 million, are expected to go by car, a 2.9 percent increase over 2016. About 485,000 statewide are projected to fly, a 6.2 percent increase from last year, and 456,000 will go by other means, a 4.9 percent increase from 2016, the AAA said.
Nationally, travel is expected to increase by 2.7 percent compared to last year’s Memorial Day holiday, with 39.29 million travelers expected compared to 38.27 million in 2015. Car travel is expected to rise by 2.4 percent to 34.6 million, while air travel is expected to rise 5.5 percent this year to 2.9 million, and other modes of travel will increase by 2.9 percent to 1.75 million.
—City News Service
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