About 12 million Californians are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the holidays; the highest number AAA’s ever seen for the season and up more than 3 percent from last year.
Cynthia Harris with the auto association attributes the increase to consumer optimism – but not so much about lower gas prices.
“These surveys are always done two months out before the holiday," says Harris. "So two months ago prices of gas were 60, 70 cents more expensive in some areas.”
Harris says now that gas is cheaper even more people could be traveling. And she points out that we’ll have more time to travel since Christmas Day is near the end of the week.
“We’ve got two full weekends plus days in between," says Harris, "and so people are extending their holidays.”
If you’re flying, you may notice less expensive air fares. The average price per round trip ticket is $186; down 7 percent from a year ago.
AAA says about 11 million Californians will be “hitting-the-road” over the next two-weeks. Harris says that’s a 3.4 percent increase from last year.
"That means that many of our major highways are going to be congested," says Harris. "So just take time to plan your trip. Leave early if you can. If you can’t leave before 9 AM you may possibly think about leaving either very early in the afternoon or later in the evening after dinner."
Harris says most people driving to their destinations will be on the road between 3 and 7 PM.