Holiday travel numbers expected to break record in California

The number of people traveling over the holidays -- such as this man at LAX did last year -- is expected to break records in California and Southern California, according to the Auto Club of Southern California.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Thanks partly to an improving economy, the number of travelers leaving town during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays is expected to set a new record for Southern California and the state.

Nearly 11.7 million Californians are expected to travel at least 50 miles for the holiday season, with 7.3 million of those coming from Southern California, according to an estimate released Monday by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The estimate of Southern California holiday travelers represents a 1.8% increase over last year, the report said. A vast majority, 89%, of Southern Californians will travel by car, according to the report.


Although gasoline prices have been dropping for several weeks, Auto Club officials say lower fuel prices are probably not a big factor in travel decisions this year.

“For some people, if they have a family trip planned, they are going no matter what,” said Auto Club spokeswoman Marie Montgomery.

Spending on travel is also expected to increase, by 6% over 2011, with travelers in the West Coast spending a projected average of more than $1,000 per household on year-end holiday trips, the Auto Club estimated.


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