Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Julie Hall44.2 Million People Expected to Travel Independence Day Weekend

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 22, 2017) – This Independence Day, a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home, taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways to honor the red, white and blue. With 1.25 million more travelers than last year, 2017 will be marked as the most traveled Independence Day holiday weekend ever.

Additional Resources

“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, Travel and Publishing. “A historic 44.2 million Americans will travel to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, adding to an already bustling summer travel season.”

The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4.

By the Numbers: Independence Day Travel Forecast

  • Overall, 44.2 million travelers are expected to travel this Independence Day, a 2.9 percent increase over 2016.
  • 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.
  • 3.44 million people are taking to the skies this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 4.6 percent over last year.
  • 3.27 million travelers, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.

Gas prices cheaper than one year ago
The national average gas price is four cents cheaper than this same time last year and a contributing factor to the increase in travelers on the roads this Independence Day. With today’s national average price for a gallon of gas at $2.28, prices remain historically low for the summer travel season. However, consumers may see prices increase, albeit by pennies, closer to the holiday weekend, similar to the Memorial Day gas price trend.

More people will drive, fly and use other modes of travel
The vast majority of travelers—37.5 million Americans—will drive to their Independence Day destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 4.6 percent over last year, with 3.44 million Americans taking to the skies this Independence Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 1.4 percent, to 3.27 million travelers.

Airfares and car rental rates lower this Independence Day
Travelers can expect lower prices for airfares and car rentals this Independence Day weekend. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 10 percent lower this year, with an average round trip ticket landing at $186. Daily car rental rates will average $65, which is 14 percent less than last Independence Day. Hotel costs are the same as last year, with the average AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel costing $185 per night.

AAA to rescue more than 338,000 motorists this Independence Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 338,000 motorists this Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.

Orlando remains top destination for summer travel
With new attractions debuting at popular theme parks, Orlando claims the number one spot on the list of most-visited locales for 2017 summer travel based on AAA’s summer travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Vancouver, Canada
  3. Cancun, Mexico
  4. Seattle, Washington
  5. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  6. Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. Anaheim, California
  8. Anchorage, Alaska
  9. Las Vegas, Nevada
  10. Montego Bay, Jamaica

To help travelers plan their trips to a top 10 destination, AAA’s team of anonymous hotel and restaurant inspectors recently selected a few of their favorite places to stay and dine.

Download the AAA Mobile app before an Independence Day getaway
Before setting out for Independence Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities, budget and services.

About the travel forecast:
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2017 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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Family-friendly places in Orlando top the experts’ lists

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (June 13, 2017) – A bustling summer travel season is in full swing and AAA’s team of anonymous inspectors have been busy conducting on-site evaluations of nearly 59,000 hotels and restaurants across North America. To give travelers a taste of the many great places to stay and dine this summer, they’ve selected a few of their favorites in the top 10 North American destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for trips scheduled for June 1 through August 15, 2017.

Additional Resources

 
1. Orlando, Florida

Inspector 591’s Favorite Hotel: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside (Three Diamond)

Recreational activities include taking a stroll along the river or going on a surrey bike ride, a fishing excursion or horse-drawn carriage ride. Inspector 591 shares, “Opportunities for both relaxation and fun activities are plentiful.”

Inspector 591’s Favorite Restaurant: The BOATHOUSE Waterfront Dining (Three Diamond)
Beautifully restored boats from the 1940s to 1960s are creatively placed around the restaurant. The menu is just as interesting with options like Prince Edward Island steamed mussels and Atlantic swordfish.

 

2. Vancouver, Canada

Inspector 450’s Favorite Hotel: Blue Horizon Hotel (Three Diamond)
These spacious suites have a unique double bank of windows and balconies. Higher floors offer incredible views of the city, English Bay or nearby mountains, depending on room location.

Inspector 450’s Favorite Restaurant: Bistro Absinthe (Three Diamond)
This tiny spot has a bohemian feel with vintage chandeliers, absinthe posters and exposed ceilings. Recipes are classic with a simple clarity of flavor and appealing display. Inspector 450 says, “For what you get, the price is right: high quality, attractively presented, delicious food and the portion size is not too bad either!”

 

3. Cancun, Mexico

Inspector 601’s Favorite Hotel: Hyatt Ziva Cancun (Four Diamond)
Newly renovated, this hotel sits between two great swimming beaches and is walkable to local nightlife and shopping. Inspector 601 exclaims, “This is where I’m bringing my family! A spa for us old folks, a brewpub for Gen X and a sweet shop for the grandkids.”

Inspector 601’s Favorite Restaurant: La Habichuela Sunset (Three Diamond)
Sporting a dramatic Mayan-themed décor, this restaurant prepares the time-honored recipes of the owners and hosts, the Pezzotti family, including seafood ceviche, chilled avocado soup and chicken mole.

 

4.Seattle, Washington

Inspector 31’s Favorite Hotel: Fairmont Olympic Hotel (Four Diamond)
A historic icon, the Italian Renaissance-style hotel is in the heart of the city. It reflects the grandeur of the past, but with modern conveniences.

Inspector 31’s Favorite Restaurant: Altura (Four Diamond)
The prix fixe menu features only the freshest seasonal ingredients in unique preparations, including foie gras torchon with rhubarb and strawberries, squid ink tagliatelle and king salmon with fried ramps. Inspector 31 raves, “I love how the chef takes the freshest ingredients available and, by creatively combining flavors, fashions the most exotic dishes.”

 

5. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Inspector 450’s Favorite Hotel: Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol (Four Diamond)
This gorgeous, all-inclusive resort has a historical feel with breathtaking sea views. All units have full living room areas and beautiful bathrooms with separate showers and tubs. Inspector 450 declares, “If I had just one last place to go, this might be it. Fantastic food, beautiful rooms and wonderful service are just the tip of the iceberg.”

Inspector 450’s Favorite Restaurant: Api Beach Restaurant (Two Diamond)
Featuring views of a beautiful pool and a sandy beach, this restaurant features dishes with a Latin flair, including ceviche, arepa and empanadas.

 

6. Honolulu, Hawaii

Inspector 569’s Favorite Hotel: Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club (Three Diamond)
In the heart of Waikiki, this property is surrounded by many restaurants and shops. The rooftop pool offers spectacular views of the city, the ocean and Diamond Head, as well as complimentary cabanas.

Inspector 569’s Favorite Restaurant: Chef Mavro (Five Diamond)
Elegant island décor immerses diners in a soft, mellow glow. Imaginative and creative dishes delight with flexible four- and six-course menus as well as the grand tasting menu, all with optional wine pairings. Inspector 569 shares, “Dining here is always a treat for me as this chef can make something as basic as creamed corn make your eyes roll to the back of your head!”

 

7. Anaheim, California

Inspector 603’s Favorite Hotel: Disneyland Hotel (Four Diamond)
A surprise awaits guests on arrival, as an intricately carved Disney castle comes to life with lights and music on guestroom headboards. Children’s wishes will come true when they run into the many Disney characters around the property.

Inspector 603’s Favorite Restaurant: Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen (Two Diamond)
New Orleans-style food, décor and entertainment are combined to provide a whimsical experience. This is almost as good as visiting the original “Big Easy!” Inspector 603 proclaims, “I cannot leave without having one of their delicious Beignets!”

 

8. Anchorage, Alaska 

Inspector 334’s Favorite Hotel: Crowne Plaza Anchorage Midtown (Three Diamond)
The spacious lobby at this hotel is beautiful. Guestroom and bathroom highlights include luxurious bedding, multiple outlets and USB ports and high-end bath products. Inspector 334 raves, “After a long day, I am overjoyed to find a sleep kit on my bed with pillow mist, resting cream and foot balm; the lighted makeup mirror is a bonus.”

Inspector 334’s Favorite Restaurant: Kincaid Grill (Three Diamond)
It’s no surprise that visitors flock to this small restaurant featuring inviting décor and an innovative menu that changes with the seasons. This is one of the finest dining experiences in the city.

 

9. Las Vegas, Nevada

Inspector 39’s Favorite Hotel: ARIA Sky Suites (Five Diamond)
The pampering begins with a complimentary limo ride from the airport to a private drive where guests are greeted by name. Suites on the 25th floor and up give each room panoramic views of the bustling city of lights.

Inspector 39’s Favorite Restaurant: Joel Robuchon (Five Diamond)
This fine-dining gem is one of the city’s most highly touted restaurants. Chef Joel Robuchon’s sumptuous menu caters to the sophisticated palate while flawless service prevails in the intimate and refined dining room. Inspector 39 proclaims, “This is the most spectacular dining experience I’ve ever had. Every course is a piece of art and tastes as amazing as it looks.”

 

10. Montego Bay, Jamaica

 Inspector 450’s Favorite Hotel: IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites (Four Diamond)
This upscale, all-inclusive resort has a large modern lobby and lounge. The grounds are lovely and feature a lazy river, kid-oriented water park and fountains.

Inspector 450’s Favorite Restaurant: MVP Smokehouse (One Diamond)
This rustic open-air eatery offers quite a bit more than your typical Jamaican restaurant. Renowned for its smoked jerk chicken and pork, the restaurant’s signature sauce is sold by the bottle. Inspector 450 shares, “Not only is this place loaded with finger-licking value, it’s smoking good too!”

For more information to plan your summer getaway, visit AAA.com/DiamondSummer.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

 

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Julie Hall39.3 million Americans expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 17, 2017) – AAA projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. That is one million more travelers than last year taking to the roads, skies, rails and water, creating the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005.

Additional Resources

“The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “Higher confidence has led to more consumer spending, and many Americans are choosing to allocate their extra money on travel this Memorial Day.”

The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29.

By the Numbers: Memorial Day Travel Forecast

  • 2017 will mark the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel with 2.7 percent more travelers than last year.
  • 34.6 million Americans (88.1 percent of travelers) will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.
  • 2.9 million Americans are taking to the skies this Memorial Day, increasing air travel by 5.5 percent over last year.
  • 1.75 million travelers, an increase 2.9 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
  • Drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015. Airfares, car rental rates and mid-range hotels are all trending higher than last Memorial Day.

Travelers still hitting the road despite higher gas prices
While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015, the vast majority of holiday travelers (88.1 percent) are still planning to hit the road. Automobile travel will grow by 2.4 percent this Memorial Day, with 34.6 million Americans planning a holiday road trip. The national average price for a gallon of gas today is $2.34, 11 cents more than last year.

More Americans are planning to rent cars for their holiday road trips this year. AAA’s car rental bookings are 19 percent higher than last Memorial Day. According to Hertz, the busiest day for car rental pick-ups is expected to be Friday, May 26, based on last year’s data.

Large increases in flying and travel by other modes this Memorial Day
While road trips continue to reign supreme for Memorial Day, more Americans will fly, ride the train or bus, or take a cruise vacation compared to last year. Air travel is expected to increase 5.5 percent over last year, with 2.9 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.9 percent, to 1.75 million travelers.

Airfares, hotel and car rental rates on the rise
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 9 percent higher this Memorial Day, with an average round trip ticket landing at $181. Hotel costs have also increased since last Memorial Day, with the average AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel costing $215, or 18 percent more than last year. Daily car rental rates will average $66, which is 7 percent more than last year.

AAA to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Memorial Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Memorial Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.

AAA recommends motorists have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the more than 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

AAA and Waze share perspectives on holiday travel
According to Waze, the free, real-time crowdsourced traffic and navigation app, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York are the busiest metro areas this Memorial Day weekend, based on last year’s accident and traffic jam data. For travelers visiting or driving through these cities, be aware of high traffic volumes on Thursday and Friday – New York City sees an average 27 percent increase in accident alerts on these two days.

Many Memorial Day vacationers traveling abroad this year
While the vast majority of travelers are planning a Memorial Day road trip, many other Americans will take advantage of the long holiday weekend and travel internationally, with Europe especially popular this year. The top destinations for Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA travel bookings, are:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. London, England
  4. Dublin, Ireland
  5. Vancouver, Canada
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Las Vegas, Nevada
  8. New York, New York
  9. Paris, France
  10. Honolulu, Hawaii

According to Hertz, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers planning to rent a car this Memorial Day are expected to be Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Orlando (MCO), Atlanta (ATL) and Denver (DEN), based on data from 2016.

Download the AAA Mobile app before a Memorial Day getaway
Before setting out for Memorial Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

About the travel forecast:
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2017 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Julie HallAAA survey reveals an estimated 22 million Americans will take a culinary vacation this year

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 26, 2017) – Food and dining are becoming a more central part of many travelers’ vacation experiences. In fact, AAA’s latest travel survey found that an estimated 22 million Americans expect to take a culinary-focused vacation in the next 12 months. Seventy-five percent of Americans feel that food and dining are an important part of their travel experiences and four in five say they have engaged in such unique activities as touring wineries and distilleries, eating with local families and engaging in hands-on experiences such as cooking classes led by local chefs while traveling.

Additional Resources

  • Infographics: 1 | 2

“There is no better way to learn about a destination and immerse yourself in the local culture than by experiencing its unique food and dining customs,” said Bryan Shilling, AAA managing director of Travel Products and Services. “When planning a culinary vacation, seek the advice of a trusted travel advisor, who can help customize a trip that matches the individual traveler’s dining preferences.”

The younger generation is particularly interested in culinary travel, with 88 percent of millennials having participated in food-related experiences while vacationing, outpacing members of Generation X and Baby Boomers. In fact, 43 percent of AAA travel agents report a recent increase in the number of members planning culinary-focused vacations, with most planning foodie trips to Italy, France and Spain. Ironically, however, travel agents also say that one of the top mistakes travelers make when preparing for an international trip is not planning their meals and activities in advance.

“Travelers spent an average of $63 per person, per day on food and dining purchases during their last vacation,” continued Shilling. “Meals can quickly become a significant portion of a family’s vacation budget. That’s why planning ahead is key to enjoying a memorable culinary vacation.”

Travelers can find thousands of AAA Diamond Rated restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean through the AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner tool on AAA.com and in the AAA Mobile app. All restaurants must meet and uphold rigorous minimum standards to pass an anonymous inspection and be approved by AAA. A rating of One to Five Diamonds is then assigned to describe the complexity of the restaurant’s service, décor and food. The Diamond Ratings help diners find restaurants that offer the kind of experience they prefer, whether they want affordable, family-friendly establishments or to indulge in luxurious menu offerings and first-class service. For more information, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

AAA’s report presents the findings of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,013 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted March 9-12, 2017. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.8 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults. Additionally, AAA/CAA travel executives responded to an online survey conducted Feb. 10-24, 2017. Each travel executive was asked to respond on behalf of all travel agents at their club, and responses were weighted by the number of full-time travel agents at that club. The club travel executive survey represents the input of 2,110 AAA/CAA travel agents.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Julie HallNew AAA survey reveals that 35 percent of Americans will travel as a family this year

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 7, 2017) –Now is the time when millions of families across the country are starting to plan getaways for spring break, summer vacation and long holiday weekends throughout the year. According to a recent AAA survey, more than one-third of Americans (35 percent) are planning to take a vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family members this year. The overall volume of travelers remains unchanged from last year, indicating that Americans continue to prioritize traveling as a family.

Additional Resources

  • Infographics: 1 | 2 | 3
  • Inspector Picks–Family-Friendly Diamond Rated Hotels and Restaurants

While most family travelers (70 percent) are planning to take one or two vacations, there is a significant increase this year in the number of Americans who say they are planning to take three or more vacations. The 28 percent of family travelers who will take three or more trips this year is 13 percentage points higher than in 2016.

“Families continue to see the value of traveling as a way to bond and reconnect in today’s busy world,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing. “The best way to wrap up a family vacation is to start planning the next one, as more and more Americans are starting to do.”

The old school family road trip (79 percent) and visits to national parks (51 percent) and theme parks (40 percent) remain the most popular types of vacations for families planning to travel this year. Trips to international destinations (33 percent), going on guided or escorted tours (22 percent) and ocean cruises (20 percent) are also popular with family travelers.

Those planning to pack up their cars for a road trip this year will be in good company. Compared to 2016, 10 percent more families are expected to take road trips this year, despite average gas prices that are 52 cents higher than they were this time last year.

The number of American families planning to take a guided or escorted tour is expected to increase 7 percent over last year. “While many Americans enjoy the flexibility of a road trip, there are some families who prefer the structure and convenience of a group tour,” continued Sutherland. “Many tours are specially designed for multi-generational groups, plus there’s no better way to learn about a destination than from a knowledgeable, local guide.”

To help families find the best hotels and restaurants, AAA’s professional inspectors have evaluated nearly 59,000 hotels and restaurants across North America. Their top picks for family-friendly AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants can be found here.

And before setting out on a family vacation, travelers should contact their local AAA office for the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor who can provide personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation experience. Also, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can be used to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, find nearly 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, request roadside assistance and more. For more information or to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Julie HallAAA Travel experts share what’s in store for the millions of Americans planning vacations in the new year

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 12, 2017) – According to a recent AAA survey, 42 percent of Americans are planning to take a vacation in 2017 – with most planning trips to the warm weather destinations in the U.S. and abroad. All signs are pointing to a busy year for vacationers and the travel industry. Approximately one-third (30 percent) of U.S. adults say they are more likely to take a vacation this year compared to 2016, and they’re looking for a new kind of travel experience.

Additional Resources

  • Infographic 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

“There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel in the new year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing. “Whether they’re taking a road trip to a well-known domestic destination or visiting an exotic international locale, today’s travelers are seeking experiences that are unique and immersive.”

With much of the country in the midst of a harsh winter, warm-weather destinations in the United States and Caribbean are topping most Americans’ travel itineraries. The top destinations for 2017, based on AAA’s travel bookings, are:

International:

  1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (2)
  2. Rome, Italy (1)
  3. Montego Bay, Jamaica (3)
  4. London, England (4)
  5. Nassau, Bahamas (6)

Domestic:

  1. Orlando, Florida (1)
  2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2)
  3. Anaheim, California (3)
  4. Miami, Florida (4)
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada (6)

*Numbers in parentheses indicate 2016 rankings.

According to AAA, destinations with the most notable increases in travel bookings include Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Toronto and Vancouver, Canada; and Cancun, Mexico.

AAA’s travel experts have identified these top trends for 2017:

  • Experiential Travel: Both novice and expert travelers alike are seeking travel experiences that help to facilitate a deeper connection to the cultures, people and traditions of a destination. For example, AAA has noted an increase in travelers booking tours that include opportunities to dine with local families or receive hands-on tutorials from local craftspeople.
  • O Canada: Canada is an increasingly popular vacation destination, thanks to its close location and favorable currency exchange rates that make trips there affordable and accessible to more Americans. Canada will also celebrate its 150th birthday in 2017, offering visitors many opportunities to experience special events and learn more about the country’s history and traditions.
  • The “I”s Have It: AAA notes a significant amount of demand for travelers visiting Europe in 2017. Ireland and Iceland are expected to be particularly popular, thanks to the availability of low airfares and the perception that both countries are safe—yet for many travelers, previously unexplored—destinations.
  • River Cruising: According to a AAA survey, four in 10 Americans would consider a river cruise for an upcoming vacation and 24 percent said they are likely to take a river cruise in the next five years. And despite the perception that river cruising appeals primarily to older generations, millennials are more likely to consider a river cruise for an upcoming vacation than either their Generation X or Baby Boomer counterparts.
  • National Parks: The National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016, to great fanfare. Following all-time record visitation in 2015, the national parks remain an attractive vacation destination for many. According to a recent AAA survey, 79 percent of Americans say they are as likely or more likely to visit a national park through the first half of this year, building on the momentum of last year’s centennial celebrations.

Before setting out on a vacation, travelers should contact their local AAA office for the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor who can provide personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation experience.  Travelers can also download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can be used to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, request roadside assistance and more. For more information or to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Julie HallMore than 103 million Americans will travel this holiday season

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 15, 2016) – More than 103 million Americans—the most on record—are expected to travel for the year-end holidays, according to AAA. This represents a 1.5 percent increase, or 1.5 million more people traveling, compared with last year. This comes despite one fewer travel day this holiday season. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Friday, December 23 to Monday, January 2, 2017.

Additional Resources

The increase in holiday travel this year is being driven by additional consumer spending, a result of improvements in the labor market and rising wages. Additionally, low gas prices and increased consumer optimism will prompt more Americans than ever to set out on road trips, take to the skies, or board trains, buses and cruise ships to celebrate the holidays.

“’Tis the season for holiday travel, and this year more Americans will travel to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year than ever before,” said AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney. “Rising incomes and continued low gas prices should make for a joyous holiday travel season.”

Most travelers will drive this holiday season The vast majority of travelers—93.6 million people—will take a holiday road trip, an increase of 1.5 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 2.5 percent, with more than 6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will decrease slightly, to 3.5 million travelers.

New Year’s gas prices second-cheapest in nearly a decade AAA estimates U.S. drivers have saved more than $27 billion at the gas pumps so far this year compared to the same period last year. Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.23, 23 cents more than the average price on New Year’s Day 2016 ($2.00). Most U.S. drivers will pay the second-cheapest New Year’s Day gas prices since 2009, when the national average was $1.62.

Holiday airfares, hotel rates and car rental prices mixed According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, holiday airfares are projected to average $204 for a roundtrip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. Rates for AAA Two and Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to increase 7 percent, with travelers spending an average of $128 and $160 per night, respectively. Daily car rental rates will average $66, slightly lower than last year’s holiday travel season.

Warm-weather destinations top the list of most popular holiday destinations With the exception of New York City—an-ever popular holiday destination—warm-weather locales in Nevada, Florida and California top the list of most popular destinations for this holiday season, based on AAA.com bookings.

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. Orlando, Florida
  3. New York City
  4. San Diego, California
  5. Anaheim, California

AAA to rescue more than 980,000 motorists this holiday season AAA expects to rescue more than 980,000 motorists over the 11-day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. Drivers should have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

For motorists who may encounter winter weather conditions during their holiday road trips, AAA recommends checking windshield wipers and inspecting tires to ensure safe drivability before setting out. Pack an emergency kit containing a snow shovel, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, warning devices and extra warm clothing for everyone riding in the vehicle. When driving, slow down and do not tailgate. Leave following distances to a minimum of five to six seconds to allow additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary.

Before hitting the road, drivers should also get plenty of sleep to avoid driving drowsy. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who miss just one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep nearly double their risk for a crash. For long trips, drivers should travel at times when normally awake, schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles, avoid heavy foods, travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving, and avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment.

Download the AAA Mobile app before a holiday getaway Before setting out on a holiday trip, travelers should download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can help map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

About the travel forecast: AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS 2016 year-end holiday travel forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

AAA: 48.7 Million Americans to Travel this Thanksgiving

November 15th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Julie Hall1 million more travelers than last year will take to the highways, skies and seas

ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2016) – AAA projects that 48.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, an increase of one million travelers compared with last year. This represents a 1.9 percent increase over 2015, and the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 27.

Additional Resources

This year’s increase in Thanksgiving travel is spurred by improvements in the economy during the second half of the year, including rising wages, increased consumer spending and overall strength in consumer confidence. And despite recent incremental increases in the national average price of gasoline, AAA estimates U.S. drivers have saved more than $28 billion so far at the pumps this year compared to the same period last year.

“One million more Americans than last year will carve out time to visit with friends and family this Thanksgiving,” AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney said. “Most will travel on the tried and true holiday road trip, thanks to gas prices that are holding at close to $2 per gallon. Others will fly, take the bus or set off on a cruise to celebrate with their loved ones.”

Driving remains most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving The vast majority—more than 89 percent—of holiday travelers will drive this Thanksgiving. The 43.5 million Americans planning a Thanksgiving road trip represents an increase of 1.9 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 1.6 percent, with 3.69 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase only slightly this Thanksgiving, to 1.44 million travelers.

Thanksgiving gas prices second-cheapest in nearly a decade Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.16, 11 cents more than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.05). Most U.S. drivers will pay the second-cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008, when the national average was $1.85.

Thanksgiving airfares, hotel rates and car rental prices mixed According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are projected to increase 21 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $205 for a roundtrip flight for the top 40 domestic routes. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to remain flat, with travelers spending an average of $155 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen four percent with an average nightly cost of $123. Daily car rental rates will average $52, 13 percent lower than last Thanksgiving.

Many travelers will journey west this Thanksgiving This year’s top destinations for Thanksgiving include many popular west coast cities, as well as perennial family-friendly favorites. The most popular destinations this Thanksgiving, based on AAA.com bookings, are:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. San Francisco, California
  3. San Diego, California
  4. Orlando, Florida
  5. New York City, New York
  6. New Orleans, Louisiana
  7. Anaheim, California
  8. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  10. Seattle, Washington

AAA will rescue thousands of motorists this Thanksgiving AAA expects to rescue more than 370,000 motorists this Thanksgiving, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends that motorists check the condition of their battery and tires and pack emergency kits in their vehicles before heading out on a holiday getaway. Drivers should have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway Before setting out on a Thanksgiving trip, travelers should download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can help map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

About the travel forecast:

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS 2016 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Julie HallAwards Announced at Annual AAA Travel Conference
ORLANDO, Fla. (October 24, 2016) – AAA Travel, one of the largest leisure travel agencies in North America, presented nine travel industry suppliers with 2016 Partner of the Year Awards. The prestigious awards, given in 15 categories, recognize the partners’ commitment to providing AAA travel agents and members with exemplary travel services and products. Additionally, AAA’s three top-performing travel agents were honored with four highly coveted 2016 Superlative Awards. The awards were unveiled October 16 at the annual AAA Travel Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Additional Resources

Celebrity Cruises, AmaWaterways, Trafalgar, Pleasant Holidays, Best Western Hotels & Resorts and Air by Pleasant were recognized as AAA Travel’s Partners of the Year for providing the best overall experience in their respective product categories. Additional awards were given to recognize the top cruise, tour and lodging partners in marketing, member service and travel agency support.

“We are proud to present AAA Travel’s Partner of the Year Awards to some of the best companies in the travel industry,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “AAA members benefit from these strong partnerships, and our collective commitment to providing them world-class service and amazing vacation experiences.”

2016 Partner of the Year Awards

Ocean Cruise Partner of the Year:
Celebrity Cruises

River Cruise Partner of the Year:
AmaWaterways

Escorted Tour Partner of the Year:
Trafalgar

Independent Tour Partner of the Year:
Pleasant Holidays

Lodging Partner of the Year:
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Transportation Partner of the Year:
Air by Pleasant

Best in Marketing:
Cruise:                  Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Tour:                     Insight Vacations
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Member Service:
Cruise:                  AmaWaterways
Tour:                     Insight Vacations
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Travel Agency Support:
Cruise:                  Royal Caribbean International
Tour:                     Insight Vacations
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

AAA also recognized three of the association’s top-performing travel agents with highly coveted Superlative Awards in four categories.

2016 Superlative Award Winners:

Highest Association Sales Volume Overall: Henry Dennis, AAA Carolinas
Highest Association Revenue Produced Overall: Dinar Pavri, AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah
Highest Association Preferred Cruise Sales: Barbara Fuller, AAA Arizona
Highest Association Preferred Tour Sales: Henry Dennis, AAA Carolinas

Henry Dennis, a three-time Superlative Award winner, has more than 25 years’ experience in the travel industry. He is a Certified Travel Counselor and Accredited Cruise Counselor, as well as an accredited Lifestyle Specialist in the areas of luxury travel and destination weddings and honeymoons. Dennis is based in Charlotte, N.C., where he has served AAA Carolinas’ members for more than 20 years.

Dinar Pavri has worked in the travel industry for more than 33 years, following a successful career in teaching and education. Pavri joined AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah in Concord, Calif. in January 1998. She and her husband have traveled to six continents, with aspirations of making it to the seventh, Antarctica.

Barbara Fuller is a 35-year veteran of the travel industry. Her passion lies in adventure travel and cruising. She has worked at AAA Arizona for 20 years, and is based out of the Sun City West office. Fuller was born and raised outside of Stuttgart, Germany, but has called Arizona home for more than 20 years.

“We’re proud to recognize these three top travel agents for their steadfast commitment to our members,” Sutherland continued. “They are dedicated to providing members the best travel experiences and help to make AAA our members’ first choice for vacation planning.”

The Partner of the Year Award selection process included surveys and evaluations from the association’s club travel agency executives. Superlative Awards are based on agents’ leisure travel productivity and leisure group sales from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. Thousands of agents were eligible for the awards, and AAA clubs nominated 33 of their top achievers.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Americans Are On Board for River Cruising

August 18th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Julie HallAAA survey, bookings reveal strong traveler interest in river cruising, including among millennials

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2016) – While only a small portion of the population has boarded a ship to cruise along rivers in the United States, Europe or Asia, consumer interest in river cruising is growing exponentially. According to a new AAA survey, 14 percent of Americans have enjoyed a river cruise, but approximately four in 10 would consider river cruising for an upcoming vacation. Following this trend, AAA’s river cruise bookings have increased more than 16 percent in just the last year.

Additional Resources

Despite the perception that river cruising appeals primarily to older generations, millennials respond more strongly to several key attributes of river cruising than members of Generation X and Baby Boomers. The younger generation is less likely to have taken a river cruise vacation (11 percent), but they are more likely to consider one for an upcoming vacation (42 percent internationally; 45 percent domestically) than either Generation X or Baby Boomers.

“River cruising offers travelers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the heart of multiple destinations in comfort and luxury,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel Products and Services. “It also provides an intimate view into the culture and history of some of the world’s top destinations. Millennials tend to place great value on experiential travel opportunities and are looking to river cruising as an increasingly viable option for their future vacations.”

Overall, one in four Americans say they are very likely or likely to take a river cruise vacation in the U.S. or internationally in the next five years. River cruising tends to encourage repeat visitation with nearly half (48 percent) of past river cruisers reporting that they are likely or very likely to take a river cruise vacation again in the next five years.

Fifty-four percent of adults in the U.S. feel the all-inclusive experience focused on the journey, not just the destination, is the top benefit of river cruising. Other attributes that are similarly appealing include the ability to visit unique destinations not accessible by larger cruise ships (cited by 50 percent of survey respondents), the opportunity for an authentic travel experience (48 percent) and the convenience of docking right in the heart of a city or town (48 percent).

Travelers considering a river cruise vacation should consult with a travel agent to explore the various options and special offers that are available. For example, AAA members who book a 2017 Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection sailing with a AAA credit card in August or September can receive additional savings. Members can also enjoy added amenities on select river cruise departures as part of AAA Vacations, a collection of unique, engaging travel experiences designed specifically for AAA members.

To evaluate consumer river cruise travel intentions and perceptions, AAA contracted with a national research company to perform a telephone survey of 1,012 adults living in the continental United States. Survey results are an accurate representation of the total continental U.S. population with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. The survey was conducted June 23-26, 2016.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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