That's a significant 2.9 percent increase over last year.

This year more than ever, families are opting for the open road rather than the airport for their summer vacations. VW hopes it will be in their new Atlas SUV. In a study put together by AAA, it says that more than 44.2 million people are expected to travel over the Independence Day weekend, a record-breaking number.

A whopping 1.25 million more people are expected to take a trip this holiday weekend than last year, making it the most traveled Independence Day ever. The 44.2 million total expected travelers signify a 2.9 percent increase over 2016, with more than 37.5 million of those travelers doing it by car, another 2.9 percent increase over last year. 

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A total of 3.44 million travelers will take to the skies this Independence Day, boosting air travel by 4.6 percent over last year, while another 3.27 million will opt for other forms of travel, including cruises, buses, and trains. The top travel destination remains Orlando, Florida, while Vancouver, Canada, Cancun, Mexico, and Seattle, Washington follow closely behind. 

So why the massive uptake this Fourth of July? AAA cites cheaper gas prices, lower airfare, and strong employment rates. "Combined, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, in particular this Independence Day weekend," said Bill Sutherland, AAA Senior Vice President. "A historic 44.2 million Americans will travel to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, adding to an already bustling summer travel season."

If you still can’t figure out where to go this summer, this list of the best and worst states for a road trip should help you decide. Oregon, Utah, and Washington are at the top of the list, while Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Mississippi rank near the bottom.

Source: AAA

Gallery: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas