Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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.

Julie HallAAA survey reveals national parks can expect to welcome more travelers in the year ahead

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 28, 2016) – The most Americans in recent years are heading to national parks in recognition of the U.S. National Park Service’s 100th anniversary on Aug. 25. Visitation to the national parks reached an all-time high in 2015, with more than 307 million visitors, according to the National Park Service, and travelers can expect the parks to remain busy in the year ahead. According to a recent AAA survey, 79 percent of Americans say they are as likely (42 percent) or more likely (37 percent) to visit a national park in the next 12 months, building on the momentum of this year’s centennial celebrations.

Additional Resources

“The demand for national parks is off the charts this year, and it’s exciting to see that Americans are poised to take even more national park vacations in the years to come,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel Products and Services. “In times of global uncertainty, many people are turning to domestic vacations and the wide variety of national parks offer something for every traveler to discover.”

Eighty-five percent of Americans have visited at least one national park, and a majority say the national parks are a “must-see” vacation destination (73 percent). National parks are growing in popularity among younger generations, with nearly half of Millennials (46 percent) citing that they are more likely to visit a national park in the next year, outpacing both Generation X and Baby Boomers.

“It’s not surprising to see that younger generations are particularly interested in visiting national parks,” added Shilling. “Travel is part of Millennials’ DNA, and they consistently seek experiential travel opportunities, a major draw for national park visitors.”

According to the National Park Service, the most visited national parks in 2015 were Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain. AAA’s survey revealed the national parks that top most Americans’ bucket lists for future travels include Yellowstone (33 percent), Yosemite (17 percent) and Grand Canyon (12 percent).

Americans feel the best times to visit the national parks are during the spring (35 percent), fall (33 percent) and summer (27 percent). Travelers planning trips to national parks for the remainder of 2016 can enjoy a discount on select dates in honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. All sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission Aug. 25-28, Sept. 24 and Nov. 11.

Results from the AAA survey reveal additional details about Americans’ national park vacation preferences:

  • The vast majority (91 percent) of visitors to national parks drive to their destination. The remainder choose to fly (18 percent), ride on trains or buses (10 percent each) or take a cruise or boat (7 percent).
  • The majority of Americans (66 percent) typically stay in a hotel, motel or lodge when visiting a national park. Camping (41 percent), vacation rentals or cabins (38 percent), staying with friends and family (33 percent) and bed and breakfasts (27 percent) are also popular accommodation options.
  • Visitors’ favorite national park activities include walking or hiking on park trails (53 percent) and sightseeing (35 percent).

AAA offers travelers a variety of tools and resources to plan a national park vacation. Featuring one-of-a-kind national park itineraries, AAA Vacations is a collection of specially designed cruises, guided tours and independent vacations offering unique, engaging travel experiences. TripTik Travel Planner on AAA.com and the mapping section of the AAA Mobile app include nearly 200 Travel Guides and Drive Trips — many featuring national parks — to help travelers plan the perfect road trip either from their PC or on their phone. Both tools help travelers map complete travel routes, locate the lowest gas prices, identify exclusive member discounts, and find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants and more. For more information, visit AAA.com/Travel.

To evaluate national park travel intentions, 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.

Julie HallFourth of July travel volume will be highest on record with 43 million Americans traveling, five million more than Memorial Day

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 27, 2016) – AAA projects nearly 43 million Americans will travel this Independence Day weekend. This represents the highest fourth of July travel volume on record and five million more travelers compared to Memorial Day weekend. The holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4.

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“Spurred by the lowest gas prices since 2005, more people than ever are planning to travel this Independence Day weekend,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “Whether they’re traveling by car, plane, train, or cruise ship, it will be exciting to see so many Americans celebrating our nation’s freedom with their friends and family over the long holiday weekend.”

U.S. drivers have saved about $20 billion on gasoline so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, which has made travel more affordable than in recent years. A more confident consumer and rising economic activity also are offsetting a cooling labor market to help boost holiday travel.

“We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” continued Doney. “This trend is welcome news for the travel industry and a sign that Americans are taking to our nation’s highways and skies like never before.”

Low gas prices driving increase in auto travel this Independence Day
Eighty-four percent of holiday travelers – more than 36 million people – will drive to their Independence Day destinations, an increase of 1.2 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 2.2 percent over last year, with 3.3 million Americans taking to the skies this Independence Day.

Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase two percent to 3.3 million travelers. Most of those travelers are expected to fill cruise cabins and AAA’s holiday cruise bookings are 35 percent higher than last Independence Day.

Drivers to pay lowest Independence Day gas prices in more than a decade
Low gas prices are motivating millions of Americans to travel this Independence Day. Despite recent seasonal increases, gasoline prices remain well below recent years. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.31, which is 47 cents less than one year ago. AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Independence Day gas prices since 2005.

Airfares and hotel rates lower than last Independence Day
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be nine percent less this Independence Day, with an average roundtrip ticket costing $207. Hotel costs have fallen slightly compared to last Independence Day. AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels will average $185, while a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel will average $144 nightly. Daily car rental rates will average $75, six percent more than last year.

More than 370,000 Independence Day motorists to request roadside assistance
AAA expects to rescue more than 370,000 motorists during the Independence Day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a road trip. Also, have 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 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 more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. 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.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-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 Global Insight 2016 Independence Day 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 HallEuropean travel demand remains strong as Americans plan trips to Rome and London; Orlando retains top spot for domestic travel

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ORLANDO, Fla. (June 8, 2016) – Demand for travel to Europe remains strong, and AAA summer travel bookings show that Rome and London are at the top of many international travelers’ itineraries this summer. Americans are also flocking to warm-weather destinations in the U.S., Mexico and Caribbean, and increasingly traveling to Canada to take advantage of favorable exchange rates.

The top international summer destinations, based on AAA bookings for travel June 1 through August 15, are:

  1. Rome, Italy (4)
  2. London, England (3)
  3. Cancun, Mexico (1)
  4. Vancouver, Canada (8)
  5. Paris, France (7)
  6. Dublin, Ireland (6)
  7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (2)
  8. Montego Bay, Jamaica (5)
  9. Calgary, Canada
  10. Amsterdam, Netherlands

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2015 ranking position.

“Europe remains very popular with American travelers despite recent terrorism concerns,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing. “A strong dollar, discounted pricing and a continued sense of resilience are motivating millions of Americans to venture across the pond for their summer vacations this year.”

On May 31, the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Europe, citing the risk of potential terror attacks. Travel alerts are issued for short-term events that travelers should be aware of when planning to visit a country. This differs from a travel warning in which the State Department urges travelers to consider very carefully whether to visit a country or region at all.

“AAA urges travelers to exercise vigilance when traveling and be aware of their immediate surroundings. Determining when and where to travel is very personal,” continued Sutherland. “The strong interest in Europe and even Paris shows that many Americans are undeterred by recent global events.”

Domestically, the great American road trip is back, with nearly 56 percent of Americans planning a drive vacation this summer, according to a recent AAA survey. The lowest summertime gas prices in 11 years are prompting Americans to drive in record numbers. More than half of U.S. adults say low gas prices are prompting them to hit the roads this year.

AAA’s top domestic summer travel destinations include:

  1. Orlando, Fla. (1)
  2. Seattle, Wash.
  3. Los Angeles/Anaheim, Calif. (7)
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii (4)
  5. Las Vegas, Nev.
  6. Anchorage, Alaska
  7. New York, N.Y.
  8. Maui, Hawaii
  9. San Francisco, Calif.
  10. Denver, Colo.

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2015 ranking position

“Orlando consistently holds the top spot on AAA’s list of most-popular U.S. travel destinations, while southern California has climbed in the rankings,” said Sutherland. “Several newcomers to the list indicate that Americans are looking forward to venturing out this summer and exploring diverse destinations from coast to coast.”

Before setting out on a summer vacation, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app 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 AAA roadside assistance and more. For in-person travel planning, seek the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor, who can provide personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation. For more information and to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/SummerFun.

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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