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Thanksgiving travel in Southern California expected to rise

November 18, 2011 | 11:03 am


Expect the roads to be more crowded than usual during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

That's because an estimated 3.3 million Southern Californians plan to travel for the holiday, a 4.1% increase over last year, according to a forecast released Friday by the Auto Club of Southern California.

And despite higher fuel costs over last Thanksgiving, 86%, or 2.8 million of those travelers, will travel by car, also a 4.1% increase over last year. Another 386,000 will fly, a 1.9% increase, according to the Auto Club forecast.

The projected increase will mark the first holiday of the year with a growth in travelers. Travel experts attribute the rise to pent-up demand.

“Those who have put off vacations all year, or maybe for a couple of years, are realizing they need to get away and they are finding ways to do it even on a tight budget,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $3.82 per gallon, which is 66 cents higher than last year, according to the Auto Club.
The most popular destinations among Southern Californians during the holiday are expected to be Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, the Grand Canyon and Disneyland, the Auto Club said.

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-- Hugo Martin

Photo: A typical traffic jam in Southern California. Roadways could be especially crowded over Thanksgiving weekend as holiday travel is expected to rise. Credit: Los Angeles Times