A record 4.5 million Southern California residents are expected to travel over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, up 2.5% from last year, contributing to what the Automobile Club of Southern California projects to be the third-busiest Thanksgiving travel period on record nationally.
“Despite inflation and high gas prices, consumers are continuing to prioritize valuable and memorable time with family and friends through coming together at the holidays,” Heather Felix, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services, said in a statement. “Our members still want to make up for their delayed or missed opportunities to travel during the pandemic.”
According to the Auto Club, 3.9 million Southern Californians are expected to drive to their destinations, while 542,000 will travel by air and 109,000 will take other modes of transportation, such as buses, trains or cruises. The most popular destinations for Southern California travelers are anticipated to be Las Vegas, San Diego, the Grand Canyon/Sedona, Yosemite and Mexico cruises. Nationally, Anaheim is expected to be the second most popular travel destination, behind Orlando, Florida.
The Auto Club is predicting 54.6 million people nationally will travel for Thanksgiving, the third-busiest travel period on record, behind the 58.6 million in 2005 and 56 million in 2019.
Los Angeles International Airport officials say they are anticipating an average of more than 200,000 people per day passing through the airport during the holiday travel period, which begins Thursday of this week and continues through Nov. 28. That’s an increase of about 20,000 passengers per day from the Thanksgiving travel period last year.
“LAX is ready to welcome guests for what is expected to be the busiest holiday travel period since 2019, and we are asking travelers to do their part to create a stress-free experience by planning their parking, arriving extra early and taking time to relax at the gate instead of circling with traffic,” Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, said in a statement. “Our parking garages will be full and traffic will be heavy, so we are providing the tools for travelers to plan ahead for the best experience.”
Airport officials said they also expect up to 97,000 vehicles to move through the airport daily. They recommended that residents book parking spaces in advance at parking.flylax.com and monitor the airport’s social media channels for information about traffic and parking availability.