The long holiday weekend starts this  afternoon for many Iowans and it’ll be the busiest holiday for travelers in Iowa and nationwide in nearly two decades.

Rose White, at AAA-Iowa, says strong economic growth that’s being fueled by robust consumer spending is driving the significant boost in seasonal travel. “More than one-third of Americans will travel this holiday season,” White says. “The record-breaking 112.5-million travelers taking to the nation’s roads, runways and rails for the year-end holidays represents a 4.4% increase over last year and the most since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2001.” While gasoline has been relatively expensive throughout this year, White says a recent pump price drop combined with rising disposable income is motivating more people to take to the highways.

“In Iowa, the average is currently $2.12 a gallon and that’s down from 2.41 that we had seen just a month ago,” White says. “So, a 29-cent savings during the past month is certainly good news for holiday travelers.” Nationwide, gas prices are averaging two-36 a gallon, roughly 24-cents a gallon higher than Iowa. The motor club is expecting to rescue more than 960-thousand motorists from various troubles over the year-end holidays.

“Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons why they need service,” White says. “We always recommend before you hit the roadways, take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility and have them give it a checkout before you hit the road.” The survey finds more Americans will travel by car this holiday season than ever before. The 102.1 million people expected to pack up their cars for road trips is 4.4 percent higher than last year.

Also, the 6.7 million people who will travel by air this year is the highest level since in 15 years and is 4.2 percent more than last year. As for trains, buses and cruise ships, travel across those sectors will increase by 4 percent with a total 3.7 million passengers.