San Diego is one of the top tourist destinations for California travelers, along with Los Angeles and San Francisco. While tourist numbers are consistently high in the area, it appears that something has sparked frenzy among travelers as San Diego sees record numbers in non-residents this month.
Local officials are chalking up the influx in travelers as being due to early holiday visits. While it’s always nice to see family over the holidays, the sudden addition to the population is causing traffic jams, lineups and noise pollution.
Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday festivities and according to locals, the beginning of the end of smooth flowing traffic in San Diego. One resident commented that the city becomes a buzz of holiday energy and angry shoppers as what were once already chaotic shopping districts become even more congested.
National “eat turkey with the family day” is busy for so many reasons, including black Friday sales, which are predicted to be the busiest in history, as record numbers continue to pour into the city. Airport lots are preparing for the additional flow of new arrivals, and the city fully expects stop and go traffic at the through fare until the travel frenzy settles.
Parking Lots and Traffic Jams
It isn’t just the freeways which will see busier days, the local shopping district parking lots and side streets are in for some crazy traffic as people fight for parking across the city. Triple parked cars blocking traffic in and out makes it difficult for locals to get to work or continue standard shopping habits.
The traffic jams in and out of the city aren’t only due to those travelling into San Diego, the city is also seeing a large section of its residents depart to visit grandkids, siblings, grandparents, friends, and other family members across the state and country. The departures section of the airport is just as congested as the arrival gates, making it a particularly confusing time for airport attendants. Security gets increased around this time of year when there’s less eyes for all the bodies on the move around the airport.
Predictions for the Future
AAA, known also as the American Auto Association, is giving their two cents on the matter, predicting an additional 4-million in air traffic and 54-million in street traffic over the coming weeks. It’s not only planes and cars to expect in abundance but tour busses, train passengers, and cruise lines bringing ships into port.
For those planning a visit to the city, travel experts recommend making life easier by minimizing security checked items, such as metal jewelry, bulky clothing items, and electronics in carry-ons. Plan for pick up and drop off rather than parking at the airport, and pre-print travel paperwork such as tickets, luggage tags, and have personal identification handy, so there’s no digging in pockets and bags at the gate.
San Diegans can brace themselves for further disruptions as more travelers arrive and depart for Christmas, Hanukah, and New Year’s.