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Record 3.5 million in Southern California traveling for Memorial Day

Memorial Day holiday getaway begins, record number of travelers expected
Memorial Day holiday getaway begins, record number of travelers expected 03:34

The Memorial Day weekend travel period began Thursday, with record numbers of Southern Californians expected to hit the roads or hop on planes for holiday getaways. Experts urged people to plan ahead, expect crowds and be patient.

Los Angeles International Airport officials reminded travelers that passenger numbers and freeway traffic will be rising over the next few days and remain high for the next few months.

Airport officials urged travelers to arrive at least two hours ahead of domestic flights, and three hours for international flights. Parking is also expected to be at a premium, so travelers were urged to consider booking spaces in advance here.

"With school breaks, relaxed workdays, and a strong demand for travel to and from Los Angeles, we expect a busy summer," Doug Webster, interim chief operations and maintenance officer for Los Angeles World Airports, said in a statement. "Our airport staff and airline partners are aware of the projected wave of travelers to the region, and are ready and well-equipped to provide our guests with the best possible experience at LAX."

According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, a record 3.5 million Southern California residents are expected to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, besting the level from last year and marking the second straight year the number has exceeded the pre-pandemic record set in 2019.

"No matter what direction you take off to San Diego you're gonna deal with traffic and be in a bumper-to-bumper," said driver Lazaro Miraval Thursday. 

The top destinations for Southern California travelers are expected to be Las Vegas, San Diego, the Grand Canyon, Hawaii and Seattle/Alaska cruises.

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