CHICAGO (CBS) — Friday marks the unofficial start of the summer travel season, and after a long and brutal winter, more people are planning to get away sometime in the next few months

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports more people will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend compared to last year, and throughout the summer as well.

“People were booking their Memorial Day and into-the-summer travel plans during the cold weather spells that we were getting. They were ready to get away,” said Beth Mosher, spokeswoman for AAA Chicago.

Mosher said about 36 million Americans will take trips of 50 miles or more this weekend, including approximately 2 million Illinois residents.

“Gas prices are really not going to have an effect on people’s decisions to travel. They’re just not high enough, and they’re lower than they were this time last year,” she said.

Ramon Garcia was among those ready to get started on a vacation.

“Next month, I’m going to go see my son in San Diego. He’s in the Marines. I hope he comes back by the time we go to San Diego,” Garcia said.

His son currently is serving in the Middle East.

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