Millions of Southern California residents are expected to hit the road for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, which many consider to be the unofficial start of summer.

The Southern California branch of AAA estimates that 3.3 million people will travel 50 miles or more away from home this weekend, which is a 7.7% increase from last year and about half of a percent higher than 2019 numbers.

Officials estimate that 2.8 million SoCal residents will travel by car, about 358,000 will travel by airplane and another 230,000 will utilize buses, trains, cruises and more to reach their destinations.

With so many people hitting the road around the same time, AAA suggests that drivers leave sooner rather than later when heading to their destination and plan for holiday traffic while commuting back home.

Officials suggest drivers traveling on Friday, May 26, leave during the morning or in the evening after 6 p.m. Experts predict that Friday will be the busiest travel day on roads nationwide, so drivers should be prepared to encounter delays.

In Southern California, peak congestion will likely occur on the 5 Freeway South between Los Angeles and San Diego on Sunday afternoon. Experts predict that the travel time will rise to 3 hours and 24 minutes, an 47% increase compared to the typical drive time for that area.

For those who are traveling for Memorial Day weekend, experts suggest:

  • Drivers inspect their vehicle’s tires, battery and fluid levels before a long drive
  • Drivers pack food, water, emergency items and a backup phone charger in case of a breakdown
  • People reserve airport parking in advance (if needed)
  • Travelers arrive at the airport about two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight
  • Have TSA Pre-Check
  • Avoid checking in a bag (if possible)
  • Book any future summer travel plans sooner rather than later

Nationwide, the AAA expects that 42,3 million people will travel for Memorial Day weekend, with the majority traveling by car.