More than 31.5 million Americans are projected to travel at least 50 miles away from home during the holiday period between Thursday and Monday. That’s a 2.4% decrease from last year’s 32.3 million travelers, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
In California, the nation’s most populous state, 3.74 million travelers are expected to get away this holiday weekend — also a 2.6% decrease. Of those, 3.05 million will drive, which is a 0.9% increase from last year, and 454,000 will fly, which is a 1.6% decrease. About 231,000 are expected to go by other modes of travel.
“We are seeing some travelers choosing to take a shorter vacation or opting to drive,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “Because fewer travelers are flying or taking cruises, there are an increased number of significant bargains for popular destinations such as Hawaii. In addition to reduced prices, some travel providers are offering incentives such as upgrades, activity vouchers and even complimentary airfare.”
The top destinations for Southern California Labor Day travelers, according to a survey of the Auto Club’s AAA Travel agents, in order of popularity are: San Diego, Las Vegas, Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey) San Francisco and Grand Canyon.
Gas prices will be higher this holiday weekend than during any other Labor Day weekend except 2008, when Southland travelers were paying $3.80 to $3.90 a gallon on average. Current gas prices are just a few cents below that record level for Labor Day.