Southern Californians taking a gamble on a busy holiday travel weekend are betting on a good time in the desert.
Las Vegas tops the list of most popular Labor Day weekend travel destinations for Southern California residents leaving town to celebrate the unofficial end of summer, according to AAA.
Here are the top 5 destinations for SoCal travelers based on AAA booking data for flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises.
- Las Vegas
- San Diego
- California Central Coast
- Grand Canyon
Las Vegas also makes the list of most popular domestic destinations for travelers nationwide.
- New York
- Las Vegas
Here are the most popular international destinations, according to AAA.
Best and worst times to travel during Labor Day weekend
Some days and times are better than others for hitting the road over the holiday weekend, according to AAA.
Citing data from transportation-analytics firm INRIX, the Auto Club warned that Thursday and Friday afternoons are expected to be the busiest times on the roads for travel.
“The best times to travel by car over Labor Day weekend are early in the morning or in the evening,” Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, said in a statement. “If you must travel during heavy traffic, navigation apps and local departments of transportation can help steer drivers around long delays.”
LAX Labor Day weekend travel forecast
Traveling through LAX? You’ll be among nearly 1.1 million passengers expected to pass through LAX between Thursday and Monday.
Friday is expected to be the busiest day, with 229,000 passengers anticipated at LAX. Roughly 224,000 passengers are expected Thursday, and 220,000 on Monday.
“LAX has experienced a very busy summer travel season welcoming more passengers through our airport than we have seen since early 2020,” Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that runs LAX, said in a statement. “We reached a major milestone in June and July when our international passenger traffic surpassed 2 million guests each month. The passenger volumes for the upcoming Labor Day weekend signify a successful summer and encourage us that this momentum will carry into the fall and winter months.”
Airport officials urged travelers to arrive at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international trips. They also noted that traffic on the horseshoe loop through the Central Terminal Area will be heavy, with more than 90,000 vehicles anticipated daily over the weekend. Airport parking is also expected to be at a premium, and officials urged travelers to book spaces in advance at parking.flylax.com.
According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, the agency’s booking data for flights, hotels, rentals cars and cruises over the holiday weekend are up 4% domestically, compared to last year’s Labor Day period, and international bookings are up 44%.
“While AAA does not issue a formal travel forecast for the Labor Day holiday, Southern California travel bookings indicate that vacation interest continues at the high levels of the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays, which matched or exceeded pre-pandemic levels,” according to the Auto Club.