By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Millions of Southern California residents are set to hit the road or board airplanes this holiday season.

Los Angeles International Airport officials are expecting up to 3.5 million people to travel through the airport during the holiday period which begins Thursday and continues through Jan. 3.

READ MORE: NFL, LA County Go On Public Education Blitz To Block COVID From Super Bowl Festivities

Airport officials said they expect the travel period to double the number from last year’s pandemic-impacted holiday season.

The peak travel days are expected to be this Friday and Sunday, and Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

Meanwhile, the Auto Club of Southern California is predicting that nearly 8.8 million Southern California residents will be taking holiday trips between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.

“Last year at this time, many people canceled or postponed holiday trip plans as a new wave of the pandemic hit without widespread vaccination availability,” Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for Travel Products & Services, said in a statement.

“This year after most people have gotten vaccinated, travelers are mindful of the continued need for caution and the new Omicron variant, but have greater confidence in taking long-awaited family vacations.”

According to the Auto Club, the top destinations for Southern California travelers will be Las Vegas, San Diego, Anaheim, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

READ MORE: 'She Led With Love, Kindness, And Compassion': County Establishes Sandra Shells Memorial Fund In Honor Of Slain Nurse

The vast majority of the anticipated travelers, about 7.8 million, will take their trips by car, according to the Auto Club.

LAX officials reminded people who may be traveling internationally that new federal rules require all inbound travelers to receive a negative COVID-19 test within one day of their flight. The airport also has on-site testing centers in terminals 6 and 2, and in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Federal rules also require face masks in all airport terminals.

Airport officials urged people to pre-reserve parking spaces through the LAX website at parking.flylax.com. As usual, they encouraged travelers to arrive at least two hours in advance for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international travel.

Travelers are also encouraged to arrive early and check flight status.

Passengers must also wear a face-covering at all times, as required by the federal government.

MORE NEWS: Elton John Tests Positive For COVID; Postpones 2 Shows

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)