Expect the highways to be more crowded this Independence Day weekend that they were last year and compared to the recent Memorial Day holiday.

AAA Travel projects 41 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday, a 1.9% increase from the 40.3 million people who traveled last year and a nearly 14% increase compared to the Memorial Day holiday weekend. 

The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 6.

It said travel volume for Independence Day has grown four out of the past five years and is expected to be more than 6% higher than the average of the past 10 years.

"With school out for summer, the Fourth of July holiday is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, with five million more Americans traveling compared to Memorial Day weekend,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney.

An increase in consumer spending is primarily due to increasing credit, rather than rising incomes, said AAA. Consumers have been hesitant to add to their credit card balances the past several years, but continued improvements in the employment picture and rising home values means they are starting to feel more comfortable taking on debt. In addition to consumer spending, a boost in consumer confidence and the employment outlook are driving more Americans to take a road trip.

Travelers are likely to pay most expensive Independence Day gas prices in six years