BEIJING -- China's peak travel season is kicking into high gear this weekend as hundreds of millions of people return home for Spring Festival celebrations -- or head for vacation destinations domestic and abroad.

According to the Ministry of transport, Chinese travellers are expected to make 2.9 billion trips during the 40-day period between Jan. 21 and March 3, with the majority of those trips falling in the weeks around the Feb. 8 Lunar New Year.

The country's transportation infrastructure has struggled for years to handle what is considered the largest annual human migration on Earth, but a combination of improved online ticketing and a lacklustre economy -- meaning fewer migrant workers on the road -- has mitigated the travel crush.