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Holiday travel expected to be down from last year

City News Service | 5/24/2013, 10:06 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Slightly fewer Southern California residents than in 2012 are taking Memorial Day weekend trips this year, but road traffic will be just as heavy, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The top Memorial Day destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a survey of Auto Club travel agents, are, in the following order, San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco, the Central Coast, and the Grand Canyon.

About 2.53 million Southern Californians are projected to take holiday trips this weekend, compared to 2.59 million who traveled last year -- a 2.1 percent decrease, the Auto Club said in a statement. Of those, 2.17 million are expected to drive to their holiday destinations, about the same as last year.

The number of Southland air travelers this holiday weekend is expected to fall to 217,000 from 248,000 in 2012, while the number of people choosing to travel other than by car or plane is expected to drop to 144,000 from 168,000 in 2012.

At Los Angeles International Airport, officials estimated that more than 706,600 travelers will pass through the facility this weekend, a projected 4.55 percent increase over last year's holiday weekend. Today and Monday are expected to be the heaviest travel days.

Statewide, a total of 4.08 million are projected to take trips, also a decrease of 2.1 percent compared to the 4.16 million travelers in 2012, according to the Auto Club. Of those, about 86 percent, or 3.5 million
travelers, are expected to go by car, which is about the same number as last year.

About 349,000 Californians are projected to fly, compared to 399,000 in 2012, and 231,000 will go by other means, compared to 269,900 in 2012.

"Despite the drop in air travel, airports still will be very crowded this holiday weekend and planes will be full as airlines continue to consolidate flights to reduce their costs,' said Filomena Andre, the Auto
Club's vice president for travel.

"We advise passengers to plan an extra hour into their travel time to get to the airport and through longer security lines due to the holiday."

Nationally, travel is also expected to dip slightly compared to last year's Memorial Day holiday, with 34.8 million travelers expected, compared to 35.1 million in 2012, according to the Auto Club. Car travel is expected to rise very slightly to 31.1 million from 31.08 million last year, while air travel is expected to drop to 2.3 million from 2.5 million in 2012, and "other" travel will drop to 1.3 million from 1.5 million last year.