Heading out of town for the holidays? The number of Southern Californians traveling this season is expected to increase just slightly from last year, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
But for those of you traveling by air, running into Santa Claus at LAX might bring a smile to your face.
The Auto Club projects that 7.13 million local residents will take holiday trips this year, which is a slight increase of 1.4 percent over last year’s 7 million travelers.
Of the travelers who will take trips of 50 miles or more between Friday and Jan. 2, 6.3 million, or nearly 90 percent, will travel by car—a 2.5 percent increase over last year.
More than 575,000 Southern Californians are projected to go by plane, and another 231,000 will use another form of transportation, the Auto Club reported last week.
"The Christmas-New Year time period is the biggest holiday for travel," said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. "In a positive sign for the economy, the number of travelers for this holiday period is expected to increase despite higher costs for gas and airfare."
During this busy period at LAX, travelers will be treated to visits by Santa in various terminals and volunteer LAWA employees wearing red vests Thursday and Friday, according to LAX officials.
"We hope this holiday cheer will alleviate the stress and anxiety some travelers often experience during the holiday travel period," said Los Angeles World Airports executive director Gina Marie Lindsey in a statement.
As Santa sends them off, where will most Southern Californians travel to this holiday? Here's a list of the most popular destinations, according to a poll of Auto Club AAA Travel agents:
- Las Vegas
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Grand Canyon
- Anaheim (Disneyland)