A total of 3.87 million Southern Californians are expected to travel during this year’s Thanksgiving—the busiest holiday locally for travel since 2007, the Automobile Club of Southern California reported recently.
The auto club said it’s a 3.6 percent increase over last year’s 3.74 million travelers.
Nearly 86 percent of local travelers, 3.3 million, are estimated to travel by car to their destinations—a 3.5 percent increase from last year. Another 429,000 Southern Californians are expected to go by air, a 5.4 percent increase from 2016 figures, while 77,000 will go by other means, about the same as last year.
Statewide, 6.26 million people are projected to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, a 3.6 percent increase from last year and the highest number of Thanksgiving travelers since 2007, according to AAA. An estimated 5.37 million will go by car, another 639,000 will fly and more than 200,000 are expected to take other transportation.
Nationally, 50.9 million Americans will take a trip at least 50 miles away from home during the holiday, AAA predicted. A 3.3 percent increase from last year An estimated 45.5 million travelers will go by car, and 3.3 million will fly.
“Jet fuel has been significantly less expensive in the last couple of years, enabling airlines to add capacity and lower fares, which is partly why we are seeing a bigger increase in air travel,” stated Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services.
With California gas prices recently skyrocketing to their highest levels in more than two years, this will be the most expensive Thanksgiving to fill up since 2013, when Los Angeles gas prices averaged more than $3.60 a gallon.
This time around, the auto club said prices are likely to remain above $3.20 on average in most areas throughout the holiday weekend.
While Anaheim is expected to be the second most popular Thanksgiving destination nationally for travelers eager to visit the Disneyland Resort, a survey of the auto club’s AAA Travel agents predicted the following top five destinations for Southern California travelers:
1) San Francisco
2) San Diego
4) Grand Canyon
5) Santa Barbara
It is also predicted that drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion during the early evenings of Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving as commuters mix with holiday travelers.