Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Nearly 2.9 million Southern California residents are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend — the greatest number in more than a decade, says the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Statewide, the number of people traveling is expected to be about 4.67 million, according to the Auto Club. The figures are the largest since the record-setting year of 2005, when 3.2 million Southland residents and 5.18 million people statewide traveled for the holiday.

“The centennial of the National Park Service, new theme park attractions, cheaper gas prices and rising personal income are some of the reasons motivating an increase in travel this holiday,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel. “Also, some domestic airfares for the weekend are less expensive than in 2015, fueling an increase in air travel.”

Of the Southern California residents traveling, 2.45 million are expected to go by car, a 2.7 percent increase from last year. About 264,000 residents are expected to travel by plane, up 2.4 percent from 2015. About 176,000 will travel by recreational vehicle, cruise, bus or train.

Nationally, 38 million travelers are expected to travel, a 1.9 percent jump from last year’s 37.3 million. The bulk of travelers — nearly 34 million – – will go by car, while 2.58 million will go by plane.

Auto Club officials noted that gas prices are expected to be about $1.10 lower than they were during last year’s holiday.

The top Memorial Day weekend destinations for Southern California travelers are expected to be Grand Canyon National Park, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Yosemite National Park.

But just because more people will be traveling, don’t expect L.A. streets to be empty. Los Angeles is ranked sixth on the list of destinations for travelers across the country.

At Los Angeles International Airport, a record 849,000 travelers are expected to pass through this Memorial Day weekend, ahead of what’s expected to be the facility’s busiest summer ever, airport officials said.

The total represents an 8.1 percent surge from last Memorial Day’s record — 785,000 travelers. It will usher in a travel season airport officials estimate will draw an all-time-high 24.5 million travelers — up 7.3 percent from the previous high, 2015’s 22.8 million.

Today and Monday are anticipated to be the busiest days at LAX, with 229,000 and 220,000 travelers, respectively, projected to pass through the travel hub.

Travel site predicts that LAX will be the busiest airport in the country over the four-day weekend, as locals travel to destinations such as New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

Today marks the beginning of the summer travel season, which runs through Labor Day. LAX officials said huge crowds are expected to pass though the airport in July — with a projected 1.7 million passengers coming and going the week of July 18-24.

The factors contributing to the record numbers include cheaper prices thanks to the declining costs of jet fuel, more seating available, and seven new international airlines operating out of the facility.

With expected long Transportation Security Administration lines, travelers are advised to get to their designated terminals at least two hours before departure times for domestic flights and three hours for international ones.

For LAX travel tips, check out .

—City News Service

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