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Despite Record Gas Prices, 2.35 Million Locals To Take Labor Day Trips

Travelers will pack Southern California roadways and airports for end-of-summer vacations this Labor Day weekend.

If you're hitting the road for an end-of-summer hurrah this weekend, you're in good company.

Despite record Labor Day gas prices, experts predict a 3.4-percent jump in Labor Day travel in Southern California over last year, with 2.35 million Southland residents expected to take trips over the holiday weekend, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

More travelers will take to the road—and to the airport—than in previous years, with a 3.6-percent spike in Southland drivers predicted to motor to their destinations. 

An estimated 1.85 million Southern Californians are expected to drive to their destinations, and more than 300,000 holiday travelers are planning to go by plane this year, an increase of 4.1 percent compared to 2011, according to the Auto Club.

The number of travelers using other methods of travel, including bus, train, RV and cruise ship, is expected to stay about the same as last year at 190,000. 

Even rising gas prices aren't expected to dampen the enthusiasm for end-of-summer vacationing, the Auto Club predicts.

“Although gas prices are expected to be higher this holiday weekend than during other Labor Day weekends, we anticipate this to have very little impact on holiday travel because most people have planned their trips and made reservations before the dramatic rise in gas prices," said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. "And fuel costs typically represent a fairly small percentage of the overall trip budget.” 

Gas prices will be higher this holiday weekend than during any other Labor Day weekend, trouncing the previous record price for the holiday weekend set in 2008, when Southland travelers were paying $3.80 to $3.90 a gallon on average. Averages this year are well above $4 a gallon. In Orange County, the average price of a gallon of gas rose seven-tenths of a cent Friday to $4.143, its highest in months.

However, Labor Day travelers will pay less for gas than local Memorial Day roadtrippers, who forked over an average of $4.25 a gallon during that holiday weekend.

The top destinations for local Labor Day travelers, according to a survey of Auto Club travel agents, are (in order of popularity): San Diego, Las Vegas, the Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey), San Francisco and the Grand Canyon.

Experts predict 3.79 million travelers statewide will get away this holiday weekend—a 3.4 percent increase over last year’s 3.66 million.

More than 33 million Americans are projected to travel at least 50 miles away from home during the holiday period between Thursday and Monday. That’s a 2.9 percent increase from last year’s 32.1 million travelers.

Are you getting out of town this weekend? If so, where are you headed? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS

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