More California travelers will take to the roads, rails, skies and waterways than ever before this holiday season, according to the results of a AAA Northern California survey released Thursday.
AAA is predicting more than 12.1 million Californians will travel during the end-of-the-year holiday season, representing an overall increase of 3.2 percent compared to 2013, AAA officials said.
A combination of consumer optimism, lower gas prices, an increase in disposable income, and better scheduling is contributing to more people leaving home, said AAA Northern California spokeswoman Cynthia Harris.
“This year the holidays land on a Thursday, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than a year ago and the longest since 2008,” Harris said. “This makes travel scheduling for the period between Christmas and New Year’s more flexible.”
Of those traveling this season, the vast majority, or 11 million Californians, will chose to drive to their destinations, which AAA
representatives said is a 3.4 percent increase over the previous year.
Air travel is expected to increase by .5 percent over last year and boat and rail travel is expected to increase by 4.9 percent, AAA
Across the country, 98 million people, or nearly one-third of the population, will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday festivities, according to AAA.
More travel means higher hotel and lodging prices, AAA representatives said, and travelers should expect to pay more for car
AAA representatives also anticipate crews will rescue more than 1 million people stuck on the side of the road with cars broken down from dead batteries, flat tires or lockouts.
AAA officials recommend drivers test batteries and tires before leaving home.
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