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San Diego Tops AAA List Of July 4 Destinations

San Diego residents looking to head out of town this weekend should prepare for more traffic than usual as an expected 2.88 million Southern Californians hit the road during the Fourth of July holiday, with many headed to San Diego, according to a travel forecast released Monday.

The number of Southlanders traveling — mostly on road trips — is up 1.5 percent over the same period last year, according to the forecast.

"San Diego is always one of the top destinations for Southern Californians so we are going to see some busy freeways both getting out of town and coming into town and so we advise you to plan accordingly," Marie Montgomery of the Automobile Club of Southern California said.

The Independence Day holiday comes as gas prices are expected to reach levels not seen since 2008.

Seventy-nine percent of Southern California travelers are expected to drive to their destination, which is up 2 percent over last year, Montgomery said.

Across California, 4.64 million people are expected to travel over the holiday weekend, which is also a 1.5 percent increase last year. Nationally, 41 million are expected to travel, which is up 1.9 percent over last year, according to AAA's forecast.

According to a survey of AAA Travel agents, the top five destinations for Southern Californians this holiday are:

— San Diego;

— Las Vegas;

— Grand Canyon;

— San Francisco; and

— Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey).

Those leaving town should gas up as soon as possible since gas prices are on the rise due to issues at Southern California refineries that are impacting fuel supplies, Montgomery said.

"The Auto Club is recommending that if you are going away for the July Fourth holiday, one of the first things on your to-do list should be to gas up so that you don't pay higher prices," Montgomery said.

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