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July 4th Travel Expected to Rise

More than 3 million Southern California residents are expected to take a trip, with 78 percent traveling by car.

More than three million Southland residents -- a near-record -- will take Fourth of July trips in the coming days, a 5.2 percent increase from last year, the Automobile Club of Southern California said today.

Nationally, July the Fourth travel is expected to rise by 4.9 percent -- to 42.47 million, compared to 40.29 million last year, according to the AAA.

Last year saw a dip in Independence Day travel, but more than three million Southlanders are expected to take Fourth of July trips in the coming days, compared to 2.88 million last year, it said.

Seventy-eight percent of traveling Southland residents, or 2.38 million, are expected to drive to their destinations, a 4 percent increase from last year's 2.29 million, according to the AAA. Another 359,000 are expected to fly, a 9.8 percent increase over the 327,000 in 2011.

According to a survey of AAA Travel agents, the top five destinations for Southern Californians this holiday are: 1) San Diego 2) Las Vegas 3) San Francisco 4) Grand Canyon 5) Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey).

The projected numbers for Southern California and statewide travel are nearly the highest in the last decade, according to the Auto Club.

In 2003, 4.89 million Californians traveled over the July Fourth holiday; this year, the statewide number of travelers is expected to be 4.88 million, which, as for the Southland, represents a 5.2 percent increase over last year.

The number of Californians expected to go by car on July Fourth getaways is 3.68 million while the number of plane travelers is projected at 577,000, according to the AAA.

"With the Fourth of July holiday falling in the middle of the week this year, we are finding that more travelers are taking longer trips than they would on a typical three-day holiday weekend period, which is partly why air travel is up this year," Filomena Andre, the Auto Club's vice president for travel products and services, said in a statement.

- City News Service

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