Posts Tagged ‘Bill Sutherland’

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.

Tamra JohnsonGas prices are on the move, reaching an average price of $2.33 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. Today’s price is four cents more than a week ago, one cent more compared to one month ago and 27 cents more than the same date last year. National gas prices have increased six of the last seven days. Although the increase in prices has been moderate, it is possible this trend could continue as refinery maintenance wraps up, more expensive summer-blend gasoline becomes available and driving demand increases this spring.  

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.04), Tennessee ($2.08), Mississippi ($2.08), Alabama ($2.09), Oklahoma ($2.10), Arkansas ($2.10), Missouri ($2.11), Louisiana ($2.12), Virginia ($2.13) and Texas ($2.15). 
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly increases include: Ohio (+18 cents), Michigan (+16 cents), Indiana (+14 cents), Illinois (+11 cents), Wisconsin (+7 cents), Delaware (+7 cents), West Virginia (+6 cents), Kentucky (+5 cents), Oregon (+5 cents) and Georgia (+5 cents).

 

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain the highest in the country, with six states in the region topping the list of most expensive U.S. markets: Hawaii ($3.05), California ($2.98), Washington ($2.86), Alaska ($2.78), Oregon ($2.72) and Nevada ($2.66). Prices in the Northwest and California will continue to rise in the coming weeks due to refinery maintenance.

BP started planned maintenance at its 236,000-b/d Cherry Point refinery in Ferndale, Washington, last week, while PBF Energy restarted the hydrotreater unit at its 157,800-b/d refinery in Torrance, California, due to unplanned flaring last Monday. This week, the refinery begins major maintenance work which is expected to last 45-55 days and will likely tighten supply and increase California gas prices. Today, BP is also shutting down operations on its Olympic Pipeline until April 10 for planned maintenance. The shutdown will temporarily impact shipments of gasoline in the northern part of the region.

Rockies

Drivers in the Rockies are among the only ones in the nation to see moderate price declines. Prices in the region are often geographically insulated from movement tied to global crude oil prices and have generally been among the more stable in the nation.

Great Lakes and Central States

The Great Lakes and Central States are currently switching from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline and drivers are seeing significant increases at the pump, with Ohio (+18 cents), Michigan (+16 cents), Indiana (+14 cents), Illinois (+11 cents), Wisconsin (+7 cents) and Kentucky (+5 cents) landing on the list of top 10 weekly increases.

Unplanned mechanical repairs and pipeline issues at Valero’s 172,000-b/d McKee and 103,000-b/d Houston refineries in the Texas Panhandle are impacting delivery and tightening supply in the Midwest region.

South and Southeast

Markets in the South and Southeast continue to post some of the lowest prices for retail gasoline in the nation, including South Carolina ($2.04), Tennessee ($2.08), Mississippi ($2.08), Alabama ($2.09), Louisiana ($2.12) and Texas ($2.15).

ExxonMobil’s 584,000-b/d Baytown, Texas refinery experienced operational issues last week due to severe weather. Valero also reports pipeline issues and unplanned mechanical repairs at both its 172,000-b/d McKee and 103,000-b/d Houston refineries, which has tightened supply in the Dallas area. OPIS reports that during past fuel-supply problems, the market pulled barrels of gasoline from Tyler, Texas and can also receive supply via pipeline from Corpus Christi.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions have followed the national average the past week with Delaware (+7 cents), West Virginia (+6 cents) and Maryland (+4 cents), all landing on the list of largest weekly increases. The latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that regional gasoline storage levels dropped by 2.6 million bbl, the largest decline in the country. The region will switch from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline by April 10 and drivers will continue to see increases at the pump.

Oil Market Dynamics

This morning, the market saw a bump following reports that Iraq plans to increase its production cut compliance as a part of OPEC’s output agreement. This announcement furthered speculation that OPEC and non-OPEC producers may extend their agreement beyond the original six-month deadline of June. The oil reduction deal was brokered last fall in an attempt to rebalance the global oil supply and boost the price of crude oil. While the agreement has lifted the price of crude oil to $50 per barrel, it has also encouraged U.S. producers to invest and drill more. Oil service company Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. increased its rig count by 10 last week, bringing the total to 662. Traders will keep a close eye on discussions between OPEC and non-OPEC producers and any decisions they make regarding further production cuts through the remainder of 2017.  At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 25 cents to settle at $50.60 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Tamra JohnsonNew AAA Survey Reveals Impact of Rising Gas Prices on Consumers’ Lifestyle

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Mar. 28, 2017) – A new AAA survey reveals that nearly a quarter of consumers believe the price at the pump is already too high. AAA projects the national average for a gallon of gasoline to increase 40 cents this summer, peaking near $2.70. To offset gas price increases, more than 70 percent of consumers say they would make everyday lifestyle or driving habit changes. The top five changes drivers would make include:

Additional Resources

  • Infographic 1 | 2 | 3
  • Combining errands or trips
  • Driving less
  • Reducing shopping or dining out
  • Delaying major purchases
  • Carpooling

However, not everyone will jump to make a change. The survey found that younger Americans (18-34) are more tolerant of higher prices.

“Higher gas prices are already influencing the travel industry,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing. “The good news is people are still planning to hit the road. With nearly 80 percent of family travelers planning a road trip this year, higher gas prices are making shorter trips to national parks and theme parks the most desired travel destinations.”

During April, Americans across the country will start to see gas prices begin to climb as the industry wraps up spring maintenance and completes the switchover to summer-blend gasoline. Over the years, public opinion for whether a gallon of gasoline would be too much or too cheap has fluctuated as much as the price itself.

  • When gas prices are above the $3.00 benchmark (as they were in 2013 and 2014), most Americans believe prices should be six percent lower.
  • When gas prices are below the $3.00 benchmark (as they were in 2015 and 2016), most Americans believe a 25 percent increase is too high.

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), which, when combined, consists of 1,017 adults, 510 men and 507 women, 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed on February 2-5, 2017. 517 interviews were from the landline sample and 500 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

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. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. 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.

Tamra Johnson

Today’s national average price at the pump is $2.29 per gallon.  This is the same price as compared to one month ago, but just fractions of a penny below one week ago and 25 cents per gallon more than the same date last year.  The average pump price has decreased nine of the past 10 days.

On Sunday, a joint committee of ministers representing OPEC and non-OPEC countries asked the OPEC Secretariat to examine the market and consider a possible production cut extension beyond the original six- month agreement. Last year, OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed to cut their output by 1.8 million barrels a day for six months starting in January 2017. The Secretariat is expected to provide a recommendation in April, well before the current agreement is set to expire in June.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s markets that have seen the largest yearly increases in gas prices are: Washington (+56 cents), Utah (+51 cents), Oregon (+50 cents), Hawaii (+49 cents), Alaska (+49 cents), Idaho (+48 cents), New Jersey (+46 cents), Montana (+38 cents), New Mexico (+34 cents) and Pennsylvania (+34 cents).
  • The nation’s markets that have the least expensive weekly gas prices include: South Carolina ($2.02), Tennessee ($2.04), Alabama ($2.05), Mississippi ($2.05), Oklahoma ($2.06), Missouri ($2.07) Arkansas ($2.07), Virginia ($2.10), Louisiana ($2.10) and Texas ($2.11).

West Coast

Prices on the West Coast remain flat, with six states topping the list of most expensive markets: Hawaii ($3.07), California ($2.98), Washington ($2.84), Alaska ($2.79), Oregon ($2.67) and Nevada ($2.65). The West Coast is also home to some of the largest year over year price increases: Washington (+56 cents), Oregon (+50 cents), Hawaii (+49 cents) and Alaska (+49 cents). The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report shows that despite a nearly five percent increase in refinery utilization, gasoline inventories in the region dropped 428,000 bbl to 28.599 million bbl last week.

Rockies

Drivers in the Rockies have not seen much movement at the pump this week, with prices moving +/- 2 cents or less in most markets. The region historically has been among the more stable in the nation due to its insulated location. However, supply issues resulting from problems on the Wahsatch Pipeline earlier this year has landed Utah (+51 cents), Idaho (+48 cents) and Montana (+38 cents), on the top 10 list of largest yearly increases.

Great Lakes and Central States

Drivers in the Great Lakes and Central regions saw the largest discounts at the pump last week, with seven states topping the list of largest weekly declines: Ohio (-7 cents), Michigan (-7 cents), Indiana (-6 cents), Missouri (-4 cents), Illinois (-3 cents), Iowa (-3 cents) and Kentucky (-2 cents). OPIS reports that the region has been clearing its system of high-RVP gasoline in preparation for the switch to lower RVP summer blend gasoline next month. The switch will mean higher prices at the pump for drivers in both regions.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast remain relatively steady on the week with Pennsylvania ($2.48) and Washington D.C. ($2.45) both landing on the list of top 10 most expensive markets. Regional gasoline inventories remain low as the region continues to remove winter-grade gasoline from the system. Pump prices in the region will likely begin to climb around April 10, when gasoline RVP in the New York market makes the official shift to summer-grade blends.

South and Southeast

Drivers in the South and Southeast regions continue to enjoy the lowest prices at the pump with six states landing on the nation’s list of cheapest retail markets: South Carolina ($2.02), Alabama ($2.05), Mississippi ($2.05), Arkansas ($2.07), Louisiana ($2.10) and Texas ($2.11). The latest EIA report shows that regional gasoline inventories remained steady last week while refinery utilization rates increased three percent. OPIS reports that the increases will help stabilize gasoline supply as refineries wrap-up spring maintenance and prepare for the busy summer refining season.

Oil Market Dynamics

Today the market opened posting losses, as traders doubt the ability of OPEC and other major oil producers to rebalance the market. OPEC’s recent announcement to consider extending production cuts follows news from EIA showing a crude oil build of 5 million barrels for the week ending March 17. That increase brings U.S. inventory levels to a total of 533.1 million barrels. Additionally, Baker Hughes’ reports that the U.S. added 21 oil rigs last week, bringing the country’s total rig count to 652.

The combination of OPEC efforts to rebalance the market and increased U.S. production continues to put pressure on crude oil futures, holding prices below $50 a barrel. Next month, market watchers will pay close attention to the OPEC Secretariat’s upcoming recommendations on whether to extend production cuts beyond June. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 27 cents to settle at $47.97 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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 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.

Julie HallEuropean travel demand remains strong as Americans plan trips to Rome and London; Orlando retains top spot for domestic travel

Additional Resources

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.

Julie HallPartner of the Year Awards Announced at Annual AAA Travel Conference

LA QUINTA, Calif. (October 26, 2015) – AAA Travel, one of the largest leisure travel agencies in North America, presented 10 travel industry suppliers with 2015 Partner of the Year Awards in recognition of their commitment to providing AAA travel agents and members with exemplary travel services and products. The prestigious awards, given in 15 categories, were unveiled at the annual AAA Travel Conference October 19 in La Quinta, Calif.

Royal Caribbean International, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, AAA Member Choice Vacations, 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 our strong relationships with these companies, all of which are committed to providing world-class service and amazing vacation experiences.”

AAA Travel’s preferred suppliers offer exclusive benefits and discounts to AAA members. The award selection process included surveys and evaluations from the association’s club travel agency executives. Recognizing the travel industry’s increasingly customized products offerings, AAA developed new categories this year to feature ocean and river cruise partners, as well as escorted/hosted and independent tour partners, in separate categories. This year’s winners are:

2015 Partner of the Year Awards

Ocean Cruise Partner of the Year:
Royal Caribbean International

River Cruise Partner of the Year:
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Escorted/Hosted Tour Partner of the Year:
AAA Member Choice Vacations

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:                  Oceania Cruises
Tour:                     Insight Vacations
Lodging:               Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Best in Member Service:
Cruise:                  Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Tour:                     Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Travel Agency Support:
Cruise:                  Royal Caribbean International
Tour:                     AAA Member Choice Vacations
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 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. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.

AAA news releases, high-resolution images, broadcast-quality video, fact sheets and podcasts are available on the AAA NewsRoom at NewsRoom.AAA.com.

 

Julie HallAmericans planning vacations to Europe, warm-weather destinations

Additional Resources

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 18, 2015) – This summer is an ideal time to travel to Europe as the U.S. dollar is nearly equal in value to the euro, helping travelers stretch their vacation budgets further. In addition to warm-weather destinations across the U.S. and Caribbean, European cities including Rome, Dublin and Paris are among AAA’s top vacation destinations this summer. According to the U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, the number of Americans traveling to Europe so far in 2015 has increased 2.4 percent over last year.

AAA’s top international summer destinations are:

  1. Cancun, Mexico
  2. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  3. London, England
  4. Rome, Italy
  5. Montego Bay, Jamaica
  6. Dublin, Ireland
  7. Paris, France
  8. Vancouver, British Columbia
  9. Nassau, Bahamas
  10. Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Domestic travelers are seeking sun destinations this summer, and many are planning vacations to Orlando and beaches throughout the U.S. AAA’s top domestic summer travel destinations, based on AAA.com hotel bookings, are:

  1. Orlando, Fla.
  2. Miami, Fla.
  3. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. Tampa, Fla.
  6. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  7. Los Angeles, Calif.
  8. South Padre Island, Tex.
  9. San Diego, Calif.
  10. Branson, Mo.

 

“Now is an excellent time for travelers to plan and book their dream vacations to Europe, as favorable exchange rates make popular European destinations more affordable than in recent years,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Senior Vice President of Travel and Publishing. “After a harsh winter, Americans are also heading to warm weather destinations to enjoy the theme parks of Orlando and beach destinations across the U.S. and Caribbean.”

This summer, many travelers are choosing AAA Vacations for trips to Europe, as well as destinations across the world. This collection of specially designed cruises, guided tours and independent vacations feature unique, engaging travel experiences. Each itinerary is designed with the AAA member in mind and includes built-in value along with exclusive member benefits such as 24/7 Member Care and Best Price Guarantee. AAA Vacations can be booked at more than 1,000 AAA Travel offices.

To maximize a summer vacation, AAA recommends travelers seek 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 AAA Mobile app for easy access to hotels and car rentals, maps and routing tools, trip planning resources from AAA travel experts, current gas prices, exclusive member discounts and more.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 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. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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