NEW YORK — Grab your sunglasses, a giant cup of coffee and prepare to hit the highway: 2016 is shaping up to be the summer of the road trip.

Cheap fuel prices have left many American families flush with spare cash, which they now can spend on vacations. And with summertime gas prices predicted to be the lowest in 13 years, the travel industry is looking forward to a blockbuster July and August.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Steve Joyce, CEO of Choice Hotels, which includes Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge. “Last year was a record summer for us. We’re going to be a lot stronger this year.”

The hotel chain is seeing an increase in bookings. And low gas prices throughout the winter means that Americans had cheaper commutes and more disposable income.

“That’s a raise in our guys’ pockets, which means they are going to take another trip,” Joyce said.

The job market is also giving Americans a reason to take a vacation: The economy created about 2.4 million jobs between last Memorial Day and the end of April.

Initial data for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the start of the travel season, is already signaling a strong summer for the tourism industry.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is seeing a 44 percent spike in reservations for the holiday weekend compared with last year.

And AAA, one of the nation’s largest travel agencies and a car lobbying group, is predicting 38 million people will travel for the holiday, the most since 2005. That’s 700,000, or 1.9 percent, more travelers than last year.

The overwhelming majority of Memorial Day travelers – 89 percent – plan to go by car. That’s the highest percent of drivers since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.

“The great American road trip is officially back, thanks to low gas prices,” said Marshall Doney, CEO of AAA.

The average price for a gallon of gas is expected to be $2.24 by July and $2.20 in August, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Adjusted for inflation, that would be the lowest summer prices since 2003.

U.S. theme parks are predicting 376 million visitors this year, up 3 percent from last year.

The National Park Service saw a record 307 million visitors last year and expects to match that high level of attendance this year.

That’s great news for Geoff Ballotti, CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group. Half of his company’s Travelodge properties are within 25 miles of a national park.

“We believe it’s going to be a hot summer for us,” Ballotti said.

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