Despite higher gas prices, Southern California travelers are expected to hit the road in big numbers this three-day holiday weekend.
A forecast by the Auto Club of Southern California predicts that 2.88 million Southern Californians will travel for the Fourth of July weekend, a 1.5% increase over last year.
The Auto Club attributes the increase to higher confidence among travelers in their finances and a greater willingness to add on credit card debt.
The increase in Southern California travelers this year is slightly lower than the 1.9% increase that AAA predicted for July 4th vacationers nationwide.
"With the holiday on Friday, travelers also have a greater number of options this year to take either a short three-day getaway or a longer trip," said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club's vice president for travel products and services.
Gasoline prices are expected to reach an average of $4.20 a gallon in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area, the highest average since the Fourth of July weekend of 2008, when the average price was $4.60, the Auto Club said.
Of those who are traveling at least 50 miles for the weekend, 79% are driving, a 2% increase from last year, the Auto Club said. The percentage of Southern California travelers who are flying to their destination is expected to stay about the same.
According to Auto Club travel agents, the most popular destinations among Southern California travelers are San Diego, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco and the central California coast.
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