VALENTINE, Neb. - If you’re traveling this Independence Day, you could see crowded highways and planes. AAA projects a record number of people will be traveling this Fourth of July week both nationwide and in Nebraska.

Even on a gloomy Monday, July 1, visitors were stopping at Smith Falls State Park near Valentine, Nebraska.

“This is a beautiful place, and we’re having a blast,” Mark Graycar said.

Graycar is from Boulder, Colorado, but he is in north-central Nebraska this week floating the Niobrara River with family.

“We did this trip a couple of years ago, and we’re doing it again,” Graycar said.

Graycar is one of a record 60 million people expected to hit the highway this Fourth of July week, according to AAA estimates. That’s 2.8 million more travelers than last year.

“It was a hassle trying to find somewhere to stay even looking super far in advance. People always make plans around the Fourth,” Mallory Springer said.

Springer from Cambridge, Nebraska is on an FFA officer retreat with nine other friends.

“We tried to go during the week, so there weren’t as many people, but we’ve definitely seen a few,” Springer's friend, Mileeya Monter, said.

In addition to vehicles hitting the highway, TSA expects a record number of air travelers this week. The flight website Hopper anticipates the busiest days to be July 3, 7 and 8.

“Plan your travel ahead of time. If you know you’re going to do something, you should definitely try to do that in advance,” Springer said.

So what’s behind the record-breaking travel? AAA said that despite concerns about inflation, travel is increasing due to growth in consumer confidence, wages and continued strength in consumer spending.  Gas prices in Nebraska are also $0.04 lower than they were a year ago. In Iowa they’re $.12 lower.

“Hopefully on Saturday if we get back one day early, it won’t be as bad,” Graycar said.

But despite the busy highways, these travelers are hoping for a memorable holiday.