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Auto Club: Memorial Day Travel at Highest Levels Since 2005 Peak

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/19/14 -- The Automobile Club of Southern California is projecting a 1.8 percent increase in the number of Memorial Day weekend travelers compared to last year, with 2.66 million Southern Californians expected to drive, fly, cruise and ride during holiday trips. It's the largest number of local Memorial Day travelers since the all-time record of 3.2 million, which was set in 2005.

Among Southern California travelers, 2.23 million are expected to travel by car -- a 1.4 percent increase from last year and a number representing about 83 percent of all travelers. Another 249,000 local residents are expected to go by plane, which is a 2.4 percent increase over the 2013 holiday. And about 183,000 local travelers will take a recreational vehicle, cruise, bus or train trip this weekend -- a 6.5 percent increase from last year.

Statewide, a total of 4.28 million are projected to take trips, an increase of 1.8 percent compared to the 4.21 million travelers in 2013. Of those, about 83 percent of travelers, or 3.588 million, are expected to go by car, a 1.4 percent increase over 2013. About 401,000 statewide are projected to fly, compared to 391,000 in 2013, and 295,000 will go by other means, compared to 277,000 in 2013.

The Auto Club defines a holiday trip as one at least 50 miles away from home.

"Our AAA Travel Agency continues to see an increased interest in alternative travel such as package tours, cruises and rail trips," said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club's vice president for travel. "Because of their busy lives, our members are also more willing than in the past to take a three-day weekend trip or cruise beyond typical driving-distance destinations, which is why we are seeing an increase in tours and cruises this holiday."

Nationally, travel is expected to increase by 1.5 percent compared to last year's Memorial Day holiday, with 36 million travelers expected compared to 35.5 million in 2013. Car travel is expected to rise to 31.8 million from 31.4 million last year, while air travel is expected to rise slightly to 2.56 million from 2.5 million in 2013, and "other" travel will rise to 1.7 million from 1.6 million last year.

Most Southern California travelers will be paying near or above $4 a gallon to fill up for their trips -- about 10 to 15 cents more per gallon than at this time last year.

The top Memorial Day destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a survey of AAA Travel agents, are:

1) San Diego
2) Las Vegas
3) San Francisco
4) Grand Canyon
5) Central Coast

Memorial Day travel projections are based on research conducted for AAA by IHS Global Insight.

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