AAA Survey: Harsh winter prompts more travelers to go, go, go this Memorial Day

After a harsh winter, Americans are just itching to getaway, according to a survey by the AAA.

In its annual holiday travel survey, AAA reports more than 36 million Americans — a 1.5% increase over the last year -— will kick off the unofficial start of summer on the Memorial Day weekend by traveling 50 miles or more from home. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is May 22 to 26.

Most people will travel by car

Of the 36.1 million Americans traveling, approximately:

— 88% (or 31.8 million people) will travel by automobile.

— 7% (or 2.6 million people) folks will fly.

— 5% (or 1.7 million people) will take some other mode of transportation, including cruises, trains, or buses. This is a 6.5% increase from 2013, the largest of any of the three modes of transpiration.

Second highest volume in 15 years

Travel for this holiday marks the second highest travel volume since 2000, according to AAA surveys.

The reasons are several: consumer spending, disposable income, consumer confidence and employment are all on the upswing -- welcome news for the travel industry that has been pummeled over the last decade.

Despite the positive economic news, travelers will encounter slightly higher prices — with airfares up 6%; mid-range hotels up 2%, and car rentals up 1%.

Gas prices are on a slow decline, however, with an expected national average of $3.63 per gallon during the holiday weekend.

About the local AAA

The nonprofit AAA Southern New England auto club provides travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services to its more than 3.5 million members.

It has 50 offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.