The upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holiday season (Dec. 23 through Jan. 2) will see record-breaking travelers in California according to AAA.
According to the latest travel survey from AAA Northern California, more than 12.4 million state residents will celebrate the end-of-year festivities with an excursion out of town, representing a 1.8% increase from last year.
“More Californians will travel to celebrate the holidays than ever before,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “Rising incomes and a desire to gather with family and friends should make this the most traveled holiday season ever recorded.”
AAA estimates approximately 10.9 million Californians traveling during Christmas and New Year’s will choose to drive to their holiday destinations, representing a 1.7% increase compared to last year. The air travel industry will experience an increase of 4.8% over last year, as more than one million Californians are expected to fly.
More than 400,000 state residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as boats or trains. This represents a decrease of 1.3% compared to last year.
Nationally, AAA projects more than 103 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday festivities - a 1.5% increase compared to last year.
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are 6% lower this year, falling to an average of $204 per round trip ticket for the top U.S. air routes.
Rates for AAA two and three diamond rated lodgings are expected to increase 7%, with travelers spending an average of $128 and $160 per night, respectively.
Daily car rental rates will average $66, slightly lower than last year’s rates.
According to AAA.com vacation bookings, mostly warm weather destinations top the list of most popular holiday destinations including Anaheim, San diego and Las Vegas.
AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.
AAA travel theft and safety tips
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.
☆ Always be aware of your things on your person or left behind you. Whenever leaving a hotel, your car or home, tap your pockets to double check that phone, keys and wallet are there. Avoid flaunting your possessions - keep them out of sight.
☆ Scan and photocopy your travel documents: Should your credit cards get stolen, the first thing to do is cancel your cards and file a police report. Having a scanned driver’s license, passport and travel documents will speed up the re-application procedure for new credit cards and allows you access to online details relevant to your car rental, hotel reservations or flight itinerary.
☆ Buy travel insurance: Most travel insurance providers offer reimbursements for travel interruption, lost luggage, medical evacuation and other services.
☆ Share travel plans and itineraries with family and friends: When traveling alone, make sure someone has copies of your itinerary, and check in with them while on the road. Make sure to let a friend or family member be aware of your movements, or ideally have a contact in the same city who can help in case of an emergency.
AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services, and consumer discounts to more than 4.6 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 116 years ago. Details: www.aaa.com/travel.