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Labor Day travel projected to be highest since 2008

City News Service | 8/28/2013, 1:09 p.m.
Like the rest of the country, Southern Californians are getting on the road again, with about 6 percent more travelers ...

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Like the rest of the country, Southern Californians are getting on the road again, with about 6 percent more travelers expected to take a trip this Labor Day weekend.

Rising consumer confidence is credited with a nationwide 4.2 percent jump in holiday travel. About 34.1 million Americans have plans to get away by car or plane, up from about 32.7 million last year, according to AAA.

In Southern California, San Diego is top getaway destination.

About 2.44 million Southland residents have plans to take a trip at least 50 miles from home, with about 1.93 million  expected to drive, up 6.2 percent from 1.82 million last year, according to AAA of Southern California.

Gasoline prices are running about a 25 less per gallon that at this time last year. Road construction across the region, however, is at a high point, and AAA urged drivers to check their routes by calling the state traffic information line, (800) 427-7623; checking the website www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/; or using a real-time traffic and mapping application.

Airline travel in Southern California is expected to increase by 4.4 percent to about 320,000, up from 306,000 last year. Those traveling by bus, train, RV or cruise ship is expected to increase by 6.1 percent to 186,000, compared to 175,500 last year.

“As this year progressed, we have seen more and more people coming into the travel marketplace as a result of increased affordability, consumer confidence and the importance that a vacation plays in people’s lives,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services.

Statewide, 3.93 million travelers are expected to travel this weekend, compared to 3.7 million last year, with about 3.11 million driving and 515,000 flying.

Californians and other West Coast residents are projected to spend an average of $622 on their Labor Day trip, well below the national average of $804.

“In California, we have the luxury of choosing many affordable driving-distance getaways,” Andre said.

Here’s the top destinations for Southland residents:

  • San Diego
  • Las Vegas
  • San Francisco
  • the Central Coast
  • the Grand Canyon