With gas prices dropping and personal income [reportedly] rising, nearly 2.9 million Southern California residents are expected to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, the largest number in more than a decade, according to Automobile Club of Southern California estimates released this week.
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 destinations for Southern California travelers are expected to be:
—Grand Canyon National Park;
—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.