Lights won’t only be glowing on houses this season as the roadways are likely to be lit up with an estimated 12.1 million Californians traveling by car to friends and loved ones this holiday season.
“This year the holidays land on a Thursday, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than a year ago and the longest since 2008. This makes travel scheduling for the period between Christmas and New Year’s more flexible,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris
There will be an increase of 3.2 percent more drivers compared to 2013 in California alone, according to the latest travel survey from AAA Northern California. Nationwide, AAA is anticipating more than 98 million people to travel 50 miles or more during the holiday festivities – a four percent increase compared to last year.
“Consumer optimism, an increase of disposable income, and lower gas prices are enabling many families to plan a holiday getaway,” said Harris.
Renting a car? On average, weekend car rentals rates have climbed $8 from last year costing $63 per rental. As far as flying is concerned, a mere half-percent increase is anticipated over last year with less than 1 million Californians braving the airports while just over 400,000 will take to trains or boats, overall creating a nearly 5 percent increase compared to 2013.
With so many travelers on the road, there is also cause for concern: AAA projects it will come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists between Dec. 23 and Jan. 4 primarily for dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. To avoid such issues, AAA recommends motorists check battery and tire conditions and prepare vehicles for winter driving prior to hitting the roads for a holiday getaway.
Those looking for lodgings should also be prepared to pay a few extra dollars as AAA Three Diamond hotels are slated to increase by 4 percent to average $143 a night with Two Diamond hotels increasing 5 percent, or $108.