Millions of Southern Californians will be taking to the roads and airways Friday as the Memorial Day travel crunch goes into high gear, and the large crowds will likely test the patience of motorists and airline passengers.
Los Angeles International Airport officials said they expect 948,000 people to pass through the airport during the Memorial Day travel period, which begins today and continues through Monday. That's up 6 percent from last year.
Today is expected to be the busiest day, with nearly 252,000 passengers expected to pass through the airport. An estimated 117,000 vehicles are expected to descend on the airport to drop off or pick up travelers.
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Overall, the Automobile Club of Southern California estimates that a record 3.21 million Southern California residents will be traveling over the holiday weekend. Statewide, 5.19 million Californians are expected to travel, breaking the record of 5.18 million set in 2005.
Among Southern California residents, 2.68 million are expected to travel by car to their destination, while 326,000 people will be traveling by plane. Another 202,000 people will be traveling by recreational vehicle, cruise ship, bus, train or other means of transit.
According to the Auto Club, the most popular destinations for Southern California residents will be Las Vegas, San Diego, the Central Coast, San Francisco and Yosemite National Park.
A joint study by the Auto Club and transportation research group INRIX found that the worst time for Los Angeles residents to hit the road for their vacations will be 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. today, when travel times are forecast to be 1.9 times longer than usual.