The economic pictures for the state and nation are brightening and it’s expected to translate to a boost in the number of Iowans hitting the road for the upcoming four-day holiday. Rose White, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says motorists and airline passengers can expect plenty of company.

The motor club projects the number of Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday will increase 11.4% compared to last year, with about 42.2-million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. White says most of those travelers, about 40-million, will be traveling by car.

The uptick in travel will mean ringing cash registers in hotels, restaurants — and in plenty of retailers as the holiday shopping season kicks off. With so many vehicles on the road, White offers a bit of advice.

“We are asking all motorists to take a look at their vehicle before they hit the road,” she says. “Keep in mind that many of the service facilities may be closed on Thanksgiving Day, so have your vehicle checked before you make any long-distance trip.” White says gasoline is more expensive now than during Thanksgiving of 2009.

“If you are traveling by car, you can expect fuel prices to be higher than they were a year ago,” White says. “Across the country, fuel prices are up about 26 to 28-cents per gallon, meaning that for every time you fill your 15-gallon tank, you’re paying about $4 more for a full tank.”

The average price of a gallon of self-serve unleaded gas in Iowa is now  $2.84, which is five-cents below the national average.