CHICAGO (CBS) — Experts say the upcoming holiday could be the busiest Labor Day weekend for travel since the start of the recession in 2008.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports the AAA estimates 34.1 million Americans will take a trip of 50 miles or more for the Labor Day weekend, up about 1.5 million from last year, and the most since the nation fell into an economic funk five years ago.

For Illinois, approximately 2 million people will hit the road for a last-gasp summer vacation.

“Gas prices are down from last year, about 18 cents a gallon, so people will save a little bit on their fuel expenses,” said AAA spokeswoman Heather Hunter.

For Chicago motorists, the AAA survey found prices at the pump are down about 50 cents a gallon from last year.

“About 85 percent of those traveling this year will chose the automobile, and that’s primarily due to the convenience of taking a drive trip, and also the cost savings that it can offer,” Hunter said.

Hunter said the AAA also asked people about their spending plans for the holiday, and found they plan to spend more this year, as well. The average traveler is expected to spend $804 this year, up from $749 last year.