More than 2.5 million of us in the Land of Lincoln are planning on hitting the road to celebrate Independence Day 2018.

A new report from AAA-Chicago points out that that's up over 5% from last year's totals, with the majority of people (2.2 million) planning on driving, and 114,000 headed for the airport. The number of Illinois travelers is up, but so are the gas prices compared to last year.

Gas prices across Illinois are on average $2.96, down from $3.04 last month and up significantly from $2.32 a year ago.

With 46.9 million Americans making travel plans, the expected increase in travelers this year is helped by Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend before or after the holiday. The Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3rd to Sunday, July 8th.

Travel experts say that Tuesday, July 3rd, between 4pm-6pm, will be the most congested, with travel times approaching double what they would normally be during that time frame.

With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros,” says Scott Sedlik, general manager and vice president - public sector, INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands down be the worst time to be on the road. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.

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