Families are going to flock to the roads and skies this Memorial Day weekend, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

The auto club recently released its prediction that this weekend would see the second highest holiday travel since 2000, and the highest since the country was hit by the recession.

What's driving folks out of town? That nasty winter — you remember, the one with the seemingly endless string of school-canceling snow storms — has a lot to do with it. As do the steady prices at the gas pump and the fact that the economy finally seems to be warming right along with the temperatures.

"While the start of summer brings thoughts of sandy beaches, warmer temperatures and tropical destinations, it is in fact the freezing cold winter that blanketed much of the country earlier this year that has generated hot demand for summer travel," Mike Doney, AAA's CEO, said at a news conference. 

Put all of these factors together and the AAA says it will add up to an increase in holiday travel — by road and by air — of 1.5 percent over last year's Memorial Day weekend. The club predicts that roughly 36.1 million people will travel this weekend, up from 35.5 million last year. Of those traveling, more than 80 percent, or 31.8 million, will go by car. An additional 2.6 million will fly, and the remainder will go by train, bus or boat.

So how do you avoid getting stuck in traffic with all of your fellow travelers? Try getting a jump start to your weekend by leaving on Thursday evening or early Friday morning. If you can't do that, you're better off relaxing at home on Friday afternoon and hitting the road Friday night, say experts.

Whatever you decide to do, have a safe, happy, and hopefully warm holiday weekend!

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