Memorial Day Weekend Will Break Travel Records, Auto Club Predicts
23 May 2000
Memorial Day Weekend Will Break Travel Records, Auto Club PredictsLOS ANGELES--May 23, 2000--Nearly 2.3 million Southern Californians will take long-distance car trips over Memorial Day weekend, breaking all previous auto travel records for the holiday, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
For the second year in a row, higher gas prices are not dampening travelers' plans to get away over the long weekend, according to Tim Irwin, managing director of travel services for the Auto Club. The average Southern California price for regular unleaded fuel as of May 16 was $1.66, compared with $1.56 in May 1999.
"Memorial Day weekend has attracted consistently greater numbers of travelers every year since 1990," Irwin said. "Our current economic boom is a big factor behind that increase. Each year, more people have been able to afford weekend getaways. Today they're not as anxious about job security, so they're willing to spend more of their income on travel."
In California, 4.3 million travelers are expected to take planes, cars, trains or boats to holiday getaways this weekend, up from about 4 million travelers over 1999.
Memorial Day weekend travel is projected to increase nationally by 3 percent compared with the 1999 holiday, according to a survey conducted for AAA. About 34.4 million Americans are predicted to journey at least 100 miles from home by plane, car, train or boat. Of those, 28.4 million people are expected to travel by car to their destinations.
The top five travel destinations for Southern Californians, according to a survey of AAA Travel Agency representatives, are:
1. Las Vegas
2. San Diego
3. Palm Springs
4. Santa Barbara
5. Anaheim (Disneyland)
The Auto Club is warning travelers planning to use the "Grapevine" portion of the Golden State Freeway (I-5) that they may experience traffic delays because of ongoing bridge repair work. The Caltrans work will narrow the freeway to two lanes in each direction for seven miles between the Kern County line and Route 138.
Several onramps in that area will also be closed over the weekend. Caltrans will post signs giving alternate routes.
The Auto Club advises all auto travelers to check their planned routes before they depart this weekend. Motorists can call the California Highway Information Number at 800/427-7623 for interstate and state route lane closures and highway closures. The information is updated hourly.
The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest affiliate of the AAA, has been serving members since 1900. Today, the Auto Club's members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing, buying and financing programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services, highway and transportation safety programs and legislative advocacy. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's Web site at www.aaa-calif.com.