The summer travel season kicks off next weekend and thousands of Iowans who stayed home last year are expected to make a trip this Memorial Day weekend. Gail Weinholzer is spokesperson for AAA Minnesota/Iowa : “We expect about a 5.5% increase for Memorial Day travel for this year over last.”

Overall, AAA predicts 32.1 million travelers across the country next weekend. The projection is based on economic forecasting and surveys. Weinholzer says a lot of people surveyed indicated they put off travel plans last summer and feel “pent up” and ready to get away from home.

Travelers in the Midwest will enjoy cheaper gas prices than those in other parts of the country. Weinholzer says AAA’s latest survey finds gas prices in Iowa averaging $2.79 a gallon. That compares to $2.28 this time last year.

“It’s almost a 50-cent increase over last year, but it’s still down about a quarter from a week to 10 days ago,” Weinholzer noted. The average distance traveled by Americans during the upcoming holiday is forecast to be 626 miles, according to AAA.