RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Memorial Day travel has already started and will only ramp up over the next few days.

Even with gas prices breaking records, experts with AAA Carolinas say more people are looking to travel now than previous years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For most, this is their big, big family trip that they’ve had in more than two years. So we don’t think that’s going to deter people the higher gas prices, the higher hotels, people are just really eager to travel,” said Tiffany Wright with AAA Carolinas.

AAA Carolinas anticipates 1.2 million North Carolinians will travel more than 50 miles from home this weekend and 90 percent of them will be driving.

Those travelers include Molly George who’s visiting family in the Outer Banks.

“It’s worth the reward right now,” George said. “I’m OK with spending more if it means going to see my family. It’s worth it for me.”

Still, families can find ways to save a few cents, especially when gas is wearing on wallets. Two tips are to take a more fuel-efficient car and to not speed.

“Inflation, it’s making families right now have to be very creative on how they’re going to try and save this summer if they’re planning a vacation,” Wright said.

Jordan Smith is also traveling for the extended weekend, he says it takes $100 dollars to fill up his truck.

“We’re luckily going to be driving my wife’s car which is a little more fuel-efficient,” Smith said.

While many people take a long weekend off, the state highway patrol is all hands on deck and working with other agencies to increase patrols on major arteries through North Carolina.

“Roadways, our interstates, U.S. highways, areas that people are going farther distances,” said Chris Knox with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said. “We will be out. The goal is to be a deterrent, to be seen.”

People can calculate how much their road trip will cost online through the U.S. Department of Energy’s fuel economy trip calculator.