Californians are expected to travel in droves as more than 12.2 million state residents plan to travel for this Christmas and New Year’s holiday season combined, according to the latest travel survey from AAA Northern California.
AAA predicts more than 12.2 million Californians will travel during the end-of-the-year holidays, representing an overall increase of 1.3 percent compared to 2014. The holiday travel period is defined as Dec. 23 through Jan. 3, 2016.
“Californians are conveying continued consumer optimism, availability of disposable income and the desire to get out of town for some holiday cheer and celebration,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “Statewide lower gas prices are fueling travel plans as well for motorists, who make up the majority of travelers, as driving is the preferred mode of transportation to reach holiday destinations.”
AAA estimates approximately 10.9 million Californians traveling during Christmas and New Year’s will choose to drive to their holiday destinations, representing a 1.3 percent increase compared to last year. The air travel industry will experience a slight increase of 0.4 percent over last year, as more than 965,000 Californians are expected to fly. More than 424,000 state residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as boats or trains. This represents an increase of 3.4 percent compared to last year.
Nationally, AAA projects more than 100 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday festivities. That’s a 1.4 percent increase compared to last year.
AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase in price by 4 percent, costing an average $150 per night. AAA Two Diamond lodgings are expected to fetch an average of $119, which is an 11 percent increase from last year. Weekend car rental rates will average $68 per rental, a 3 percent increase from year.
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are six percent lower this year, falling to an average of $174 per round trip ticket for the top U.S. air routes. As last year, this decrease continues to be influenced by the availability of discounted rates from low-cost carriers in several top markets.
This holiday season, millions of travelers could be easy targets for thieves and scam artists.
AAA advises all travelers to broaden their peripheral vision while on vacation and always remain diligent about their personal security and surroundings.