12.4 million Californians expected to travel over holiday period now underway

10.9 million will be on roads, 1 million on planes

The American Automobile Association's Northern California division projected Wednesday that more than 12.4 million state residents will celebrate the end-of- year festivities with an excursion out of town, representing a 1.8% increase from last year.

The traveling period will last through Monday, Jan. 2.

“More Californians will travel to celebrate the holidays than ever before,” said AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Harris. “Rising incomes and a desire to gather with family and friends should make this the most traveled holiday season ever recorded.”

AAA estimates approximately 10.9 million Californians traveling during Christmas and New Year’s will choose to drive to their holiday destinations, representing a 1.7% increase compared to last year.

The air travel industry will experience an increase of 4.8% over last year, as more than one million Californians are expected to fly.

More than 400,000 state residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as boats or trains. This represents a decrease of 1.3% compared to last year.

Nationally, AAA projects more than 103 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday festivities. That’s a 1.5% increase compared to last year.

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are 6% lower this year, falling to an average of $204 per round trip ticket for the top U.S. air routes.

Rates for AAA Two- and Three-Diamond rated lodgings are expected to increase 7%, with travelers spending an average of $128 and $160 per night, respectively. Daily car rental rates will average $66, slightly lower than last year’s rates.

According to vacation bookings, mostly warm weather destinations top the list of most popular holiday destinations: Las Vegas, Orlando, New York City, San Diego and Anaheim (Disneyland).

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