Travelers arrive a the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Photo by John Schreiber.
Travelers arrive a the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Photo by John Schreiber.

Millions of Californians are expected to set out Thursday on a long Memorial Day weekend — the most since 2005, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The Auto Club said in a statement that 2.76 million Southern Californians and 4.44 million statewide are expected to take a long weekend getaway — a 4.6 percent increase over last year. The Auto Club defines a holiday trip as one at least 50 miles away from home. The Memorial Day holiday travel period runs from today to Monday.

The figures represent the largest number of Memorial Day travelers since the all-time record — set in 2005 — of 3.2 million in the Southland and 5.18 million statewide. They also represent the biggest one-year jump in Memorial Day holiday travel since 2010.

Among Southern Californians, 2.31 million — about 83 percent of all travelers — are expected to travel by car, which is a 5.6 percent increase over last year, the statement said. Another 260,000 local residents are expected to go by plane, which is a 2.6 percent increase over 2014. And about 183,000 local travelers will take a recreational vehicle, cruise, bus or train trip this weekend — a 3.4 percent decrease from last year.

Statewide, about 83 percent of the projected 4.44 million travelers, or 3.73 million, are expected to go by car, a 5.6 percent increase over 2014. About 419,000 statewide are projected to fly, a 2.6 percent increase from 2014, and 294,000 will go by other means, which is a 3.4 percent decrease from 2014.

Nationally, travel is expected to increase by 4.7 percent compared to last year’s Memorial Day holiday, with 37.2 million travelers expected, compared to 35.5 million in 2014. Car travel is expected to rise by 5.3 percent to 33 million, while air travel is expected to rise 2.5 percent this year to 2.6 million. “Other” travel will drop 3.6 percent to 1.6 million.

Because of recent price spikes, most Southern California travelers will be paying near or above $4 a gallon to fill up, although prices are likely to be slightly lower than last year, according to the Auto Club

The Auto Club said a survey of AAA travel agent indicated top Memorial Day destinations for Southern California travelers are, in this order, San Diego, San Francisco, the Grand Canyon, Mexico (cruises, flights and drive trips) and Las Vegas.

— City News Service

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