Posts Tagged ‘Diamond Rating’

Heather HunterLabor market improvements and positive consumer expectations drive 1.3 percent increase in holiday travelers

ORLANDO, Fla., (August 21, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1.3 percent increase over 2013. Nearly 86 percent of travelers (29.7 million) will celebrate the holiday with a final road trip before summer comes to a close and children head back to school. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, August 28 to Monday, September 1.

Highlights from 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Historically, when Labor Day weekend begins in August, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel.
  • Consumer spending has surpassed income growth, indicating that Americans are willing to take on debt to finance a vacation.
  • Automobile travel will increase by 1.4 percent this year, with 29.7 million travelers hitting the road.
  • Nearly eight percent of travelers (2.65 million) will travel by air, a one percent increase from last year.
  • Travelers will encounter airfares just two percent higher than last year and daily car rental costs that remain consistent at $51.
  • Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are nine percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are six percent more.

Additional Resources

“As the economy makes modest gains, more Americans are joining the labor force this year,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

Consumer spending is continuing to rise in spite of stagnant income growth. In the third quarter of this year spending is expected to increase 3.8 percent year-over-year, while disposable personal income is only expected to increase 1.4 percent. Reliance on credit cards, rather than increasing income, is fueling holiday travel spending this year. While economic growth is slow, consumers are feeling more comfortable taking on debt.

“This year, Americans are more optimistic about their financial situation,” continued Doney.  “Consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income, indicating that Americans are comfortable using their credit cards to take one last summer vacation this year.”

Travelers likely to pay lower gas prices for Labor Day

Most U.S. consumers are paying the lowest gas prices for early August since 2010. AAA expects gas prices to have little impact on the number of people traveling for Labor Day, though lower prices could help make travel more affordable.  Barring a major development, such as a Gulf Coast hurricane, prices are likely to remain relatively low leading up to the holiday weekend compared to recent years, which will allow travelers to allocate more of their budgets towards travel expenses. The current price of gas is $3.44 compared to $3.59 on Labor Day last year. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

Airfare and hotel costs rise, car rental fees flat

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $171 per night compared to $161 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen nine percent with an average cost of $125 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $51, the same as last year. Airfares have risen two percent with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $219, up from $214 last year.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including cities, like the award-winning Las Vegas title, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android offers GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. 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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. More information including an infographic for the AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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.

Heather HunterAAA projects more than 36 million Americans to travel for the holiday

ORLANDO, Fla., (May 16, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 36.1 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 1.5 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year.  Kicking off the summer driving season, more than eight in ten travelers will be driving to their destinations.  The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26.

Additional Resources

Highlights from 2014 Memorial Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Memorial Day holiday travel volume is expected to reach a new post-recession high with 36.1  million Americans taking a trip
  • The 2014 forecast is 2.6 percent higher than the ten-year historical average and the second highest travel volume since 2000
  • Eighty-eight percent of travelers (31.8 million) to travel by automobile, an increase from 31.4 million last year
  • Holiday air travel expected to increase from 2.4 percent to 2.6 million leisure travelers
  • Travel by other modes of transportation including cruise, trains and buses will see the largest increase, up 6.5 percent (total 1.7 million travelers)
  • Travelers will encounter slightly higher prices with airfares six percent higher, mid-range hotels up two percent and car rentals costing one percent more

“As we enter into the summer travel season with warmer temperatures and tulips in bloom, thoughts of historic cold are still fresh in the minds of Americans in many parts of the country,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Chief Operating Officer. “The winter blues appear to have given Americans the travel bug and a case of cruise cabin fever as travel for the holiday is expected to hit a new post-recession high.”

In addition to seasonal rising temperatures, improvements in several key economic factors are driving the expectation for more holiday travelers this year. “As the economy continues to improve at a slow and steady pace consumer spending, disposable income, consumer confidence and the employment outlook are trending up which is welcomed news for the travel industry,” continued Doney.

The unforgiving winter was a hindrance to economic growth at the beginning of the year but economic factors influenced by weather, such as car and home sales, appear to be resolving themselves now.  Indicative of the unusually harsh winter, AAA experienced an increase of nearly 12 percent in battery related calls this winter.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

AAA expects that most drivers will pay lower gas prices by Memorial Day weekend due to rising supplies. AAA expects holiday gas prices to be relatively similar or even slightly less than last year’s national Memorial Day average of $3.63 per gallon, though unexpected developments such as refinery problems or international events could result in higher costs. With many plans already made and budgets set, it is unlikely that gas prices will have a significant effect on travel plans compared to a year ago.

Travel expenses rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase just two percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $169 per night compared to $166 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen three percent with an average cost of $124 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $44, only one percent higher than last year. Airfares are experiencing the largest increase. The average round-trip, discounted fares for the top 40 U.S. routes have increased six percent to $227 from $215 last year.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. 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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Memorial Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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.

Heather Hunter(HEATHROW, FL, November 19, 2013) As millions of Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones, AAA reminds motorists to take the following safety precautions as the holiday season kicks off: drive only while drug and alcohol-free, select a designated driver for the evening, plan to take a cab or stay with a friend.

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result. PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.  Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

While not a nationwide program, a number of AAA clubs offer safe ride services on select dates for members and nonmembers. This service is not available everywhere. AAA strongly encourages motorists to pick a designated driver before they head out for any Thanksgiving celebrations.

*Please note availability is subject to change without notice.

AAA Clubs Currently Offering a Safe Ride Program for Thanksgiving (November 28)

Towing Programs:

  • The Auto Club Group (Statewide in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Program is called “Tow-to-Go”, available)
  • AAA South Dakota (Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mitchell and Yankton)
  • AAA Oklahoma (Metro Tulsa, Metro Oklahoma City, Shawnee, Bartlesville, Enid, Muskogee, Tahlequah, Ardmore and Lawton)
  • AAA Northern California (in all club territories)
  • AAA Nevada (Statewide)
  • AAA Utah (Statewide)
  • AAA Arizona (Statewide/program runs Nov. 27 6 p.m.- 6 a.m., Nov 28)
  • AAA Tidewater (Greater Hampton Roads area : Cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Yorktown and Williamsburg, VA)
  • AAA Northwest Ohio (available in Lucas, Fulton, Wood, Henry, Williams, Defiance, Paulding and Ottawa counties/ Nov. 27-28, 6 p.m.- 6 a.m. )

Taxi Ride Programs:

  • AAA Allied Group in Ohio has a program called “ArriveSafe”. It provides cab rides for Montgomery County residents only.  AAA has no call center involvement- local motorists must dial 449-9999.

For a comprehensive list of other community programs listed state by state, please visit AAA’s DUI Justice Link Website.

Ginnie PritchettORLANDO, Fla., (October 24, 2013) – As many people are preparing their best Halloween costume or trick or treating routes, AAA strongly encourages all motorists to arrange a safe ride home before they partake in any festivities.

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result.  PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.  Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

While not a nationwide program, a number of AAA clubs offer safe ride programs on select dates for members and nonmembers. This service is not available everywhere. AAA strongly encourages family and friends to pick a designated driver before they head out for any Halloween celebrations.

AAA Clubs Currently Offering a Tipsy Tow Program for Halloween (October 31, 2012)*

  •  The Auto Club Group (Statewide in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Program is called “Tow-to-Go”)
  • AAA New Jersey Automobile Club (Morris, Essex and Union counties)
  • AAA Northern California (in all club territories)
  • AAA Nevada ( Statewide)
  • AAA Utah (Statewide)
  • AAA Arizona (Program available statewide on November 1 only)
  • AAA Tidewater (Greater Hampton Roads area : Cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Yorktown and Williamsburg, VA)

*Please note availability is subject to change without notice

For a comprehensive list of other community programs listed state by state, please visit AAA’s DUI Justice Link website.

Ginnie PritchettORLANDO, Fla., (August 28, 2013) – Whether you are one of the 34.1 million Americans with plans to travel this Labor Day weekend  or celebrating locally, AAA strongly encourages you to arrange a safe ride home before partaking in any festivities.

Additional Resources

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result.  PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.  Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

While not a nationwide program, a number of AAA clubs offer a safe ride program on select dates for members and nonmembers. This service is not available everywhere. AAA strongly encourages family and friends to pick a designated driver beforethey head out for any Labor Day celebrations.

*Please note availability is subject to change without notice

AAA Clubs Currently Offering a Safe Ride Program for Labor Day (September 2)

  • The Auto Club Group (Statewide in Florida and Georgia and Tennessee. Program is called “Tow-to-Go”)
  • AAA Northwest Ohio ( available in Lucas, Fulton, Wood, Henry, Williams, Defiance, Paulding and Ottawa counties)
  • AAA New Jersey Automobile Club (Morris, Essex and Union counties)
  • AAA Arizona (statewide)
  • AAA South Dakota (Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mitchell and Yankton)
  • AAA Oklahoma (Metro Tulsa, Metro Oklahoma City, Shawnee, Bartlesville, Enid, Muskogee, Ardmore, Tahlequah and Lawton)

For a comprehensive list of other community programs listed state by state, please visit AAA’s DUI Justice Link Website

Heather Hunter

An up and down economy, fee fatigue, higher fares and travel frustration top causes for the decline

ORLANDO, Fla., (May 22, 2013) – AAA Travel projects 34.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 0.9 percent decrease from the 35.1 million people who traveled last year.  The anticipated decline in holiday travel is predominately due to a decline in air travel of eight percent, fee fatigue among travelers and a waffling economy. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27.

Additional Resources

“AAA is forecasting Memorial Day travel  to be slightly lower this year due to an to an up and down economy, the impact of the end of the payroll tax holiday on working families and a 30-year low in the percentage of working age people in the workforce,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “Additionally, economic growth in the first quarter was strong, but the impact of the sequester is now beginning to be felt resulting in reduced economic growth expectations.  These and other variables are expected to result in few travelers this holiday. ”

Highlights from 2013 Memorial Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Memorial Day holiday travelers to total 34.8 million, a decrease of 0.9 percent from the 35.1 million who traveled last year
  • Eighty-nine percent of travelers (31.2 million) to travel by automobile, an increase from 31.1 million last year
  • Holiday air travel expected to decrease eight percent to 2.3 million from 2.5 million in 2012
  • Memorial Day holiday travel volume is expected to remain above the 12-year historical average of 34.7 million
  • Median spending is expected to decrease more than six percent to $659, compared to $702 in 2012 with transportation costs consuming about 28 cents of every travel dollar.
  • Travelers intend to journey an average of 690 miles which is higher than last year’s average of 642 miles

“The primary driver of the decline in holiday travelers is an eight percent decrease in the number of people expected to take to the skies this holiday,” Darbelnet said. “American travelers are experiencing fee fatigue and frustration with everything from higher fares to airport security.  As a result, many are choosing road travel in higher numbers due to the lower cost and convenience it offers. ”

Automobile Travel Only Mode of Transportation to Expect Increase

Approximately 31.2 million people plan to drive to their destination, an increase of 0.25 percent from the 31.1 million who drove last year.  Almost nine out of ten holiday travelers (89 percent) will take to the nation’s roadways during the Memorial Day weekend, keeping automobile travel in the traditional lead as the dominant mode of holiday travel transportation.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

A survey of intended travelers found that gasoline prices would have no impact on plans for 62 percent of travelers. Of the remaining 38 percent of travelers who said gas prices would impact their travel plans, 27 percent plan to economize in other areas.  Eight percent are planning to take a shorter trip and three percent will travel by an alternate mode of transportation.

Since national gas prices peaked at the end of February, motorists nationwide have felt welcome relief at the pump. However, current gas prices are in line with this time last year and not expected to have an effect on travel plans.

Air Travelers to decline by eight percent

More than 2.3 million leisure air travelers (more than seven percent of holiday travelers) will arrive at their destination by air, an eight percent decrease from last year’s 2.5 million air travelers.  The remaining four percent of holiday travelers are expected to travel by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft.

Average travel distance increases

According to the survey of intending travelers, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be 690 miles, which is 48 miles more than last year’s average of 642 miles. Generally a greater distance traveled also means there will be an increase in air travel, but this year is the exception as air travel is expected to decrease eight percent. It appears auto travelers will be taking longer road trips as travelers expect fuel to consume a larger share of their travel budget. Last year the shortest trips, those of less than 150 miles, made up 21 percent of total travel, this year the shortest trips make up only 13 percent of the total. Those travelers who will take to the skies have shifted towards longer-haul flights.

Median spending is expected to decrease as travelers prioritize family and friends

Median spending during the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be $659, six percent less than the $702 median spending last year. Transportation is expected to consume approximately 28 cents of every dollar. Travelers expect to spend 22 percent on food and beverage and 20 percent on lodging.

During the holiday weekend, more than half of intending travelers will plan to partake in visiting with friends/family (59 percent) and dining (55 percent). Other popular activities include shopping (44 percent), going to the beach (32 percent) and touring and sightseeing (27 percent).

Car rental rates highest in four years, hotel rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase over four percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $166 per night compared to $160 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels remained unchanged with an average cost of $120 per night. Weekend daily car rental rates will average $43, 19 percent more than last year and the highest rate recorded for the holiday since 2009.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for 101 top North American destinations, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, Android and iPad uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel,  and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn about the AAA Mobile app and AAA Mobile Web at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. 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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight Memorial Day 2013 Forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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.

 

Ginnie PritchettORLANDO, Fla., (May 21, 2013) – As everyone makes plans to head  to the beach or attend celebrations around the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, AAA strongly encourages to arrange a safe ride home before they partake in any festivities.

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result.  PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.  Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

While not a nationwide program, a number of AAA clubs offer Tow-to-Go or Tipsy Tow service on select dates for members and nonmembers. This service is not available everywhere. AAA strongly encourages family and friends to pick a designated driver before they head out for any Memorial Day celebrations.

*Please note availability is subject to change without notice

The following AAA Clubs offer Tipsy Tow/ Tow to Go programs for Memorial Day Holiday Weekend:

  • The Auto Club Group (Statewide in Florida and Georgia and Tennessee. Program is called “Tow-to-Go”)
  • AAA Arizona (statewide)
  • AAA New Jersey Automobile Club (Morris, Essex and Union counties)
  • AAA Northwest Ohio ( available in Lucas, Fulton, Wood, Henry, Williams, Defiance, Paulding and Ottawa counties)
  • AAA South Dakota (Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mitchell and Yankton)
  • AAA Oklahoma ( Metro Tulsa, Metro Oklahoma City, Shawnee, Bartlesville, Enid, Muskogee, Ardmore, Tahlequah and Lawton )

For a comprehensive list of other community programs listed state by state, please visit AAA’s DUI Justice Link Website

Heather HunterRestaurants steeped in notable origins offer dining options rich in history and flavor

ORLANDO, Fla., (May 15, 2013) – As Memorial Day approaches, bringing the start of the summer travel season, many Americans look for ways to connect with our nation’s history during getaways and get-togethers. To help travelers enjoy a taste of our colorful beginnings, AAA inspectors gathered their selections for favorite historic restaurants. In locations that vary from an 1885 school building to a rustic stone and wood lodge in the heart of a national park, these restaurants invite diners to step back in time while enjoying a memorable meal.

Below is a sampling of 10 establishments with notable historic origins, patrons and menu offerings. Access the full list of 40 inspector picks for favorite historic restaurants on AAA’s travel blog at AAATravelViews.com.

The Ahwahnee Dining Room, AAA Three Diamond, Fine Dining/Continental, Yosemite National Park, Calif.

On entering this magnificent establishment that opened its doors in 1927, visitors are struck by the 34-foot-high open beam ceilings, granite pillars and floor-to-ceiling windows. Delicacies on the dinner menu include grilled salmon, braised pork, roasted lamb and prime rib. Inspector Tip: Casual attire is permitted at breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch, but at dinner gentlemen are asked to wear collared shirts and long pants and ladies are asked to wear dresses, skirts or slacks and blouses.

Buckhorn Exchange, AAA Two Diamond, Casual Dining/Steak, Denver, Colo.

Henry H. “Shorty Scout” Zietz, a performer in Buffalo Bill Cody’s shows, opened the Buckhorn in 1893. Now, after 120 years of continuous operation, Gramma Fanny’s pot roast is still on the menu. A meat lover’s dream, the menu features a variety of USDA steaks, elk, Colorado lamb, quail, bison, duck and even alligator tail. Inspector Tip: The decor features Old West memorabilia including a 150-year-old hand carved oak bar and an extensive taxidermy collection.

Carolina Crossroads Restaurant, AAA Four Diamond, Fine Dining/Regional American, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Inside the historic Carolina Inn, the restaurant embodies elegance with Chippendale-style chairs, posh fabrics and delicate orchids. Guests can relax over gourmet luncheon sandwiches, salads and cold plates or return for one of the chef’s prix fixe dinner menus offered in addition to à la carte selections. The seasonally changing Southern-inspired cuisine includes creatively prepared seafood, beef and chicken. Inspector Tip: Sunday brunch is a treat with an omelet station and homemade pastries.

Century Inn Dining Room, AAA Three Diamond, Casual Dining/American, Scenery Hill, Pa.

Swing open the doors of this 1794 pillared stone house and be transported back to Colonial times. The inn was an overnight stop for stagecoach patrons like George Washington, Andrew Jackson and James Polk. The homey dining room offers charming décor, antiques, exposed beams and rich wood tables and chairs. Fresh ingredients drive the seasonally changing menu of regional American dishes served by staff dressed in Colonial clobber.

El Charro Café, AAA Two Diamond, Casual Dining/Mexican, Tucson, Ariz.

Tucked away in a historic barrio on the edge of downtown Tucson, this family-owned Mexican establishment was built as the family residence and converted to a restaurant in 1922. One specialty is the chimichanga, reputedly invented here when the chef accidentally dropped a burrito into a skillet of boiling oil. Inspector Tip: Another favorite worth the visit is the carne seca made of sun-dried beef strips seasoned with secret ingredients.

Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant, AAA Two Diamond, Casual Dining/American, Alexandria, Va.

The site’s two buildings include a circa 1785 tavern, now a museum, and the 1792 City Hotel, now the dining room. The Colonial atmosphere comes alive with the aged wood-plank floors and staff in period attire. Menu options include George Washington’s Favorite, a grilled breast of duck, and Gentleman’s Pye, made of tender cuts of lamb and beef in a savory red wine stew. Inspector Note: Renowned patrons have included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar, AAA Two Diamond, Casual Dining/Regional American, New Braunfels, Texas

Constructed in 1878 as a cotton gin in this German settlement, now a historic district, the restaurant sits beneath the old Gruene water tower. View the rushing Guadalupe River beneath the shade of ancient oak trees. Inside, enjoy thick-cut steaks, oversized strawberry shortcakes and Jack Daniels pecan pie amid the ambience of enormous wood beams and period brick walls.

The Historic Green Manor Restaurant, AAA Two Diamond, Casual Dining/Southern, Union City, Ga.

Established in 1910, the restaurant is built on an early-1800s foundation. Cannon balls from the Civil War have been found on-site. The structure includes multiple fireplaces, elegant staircases and a basement wine cellar. Inspector Tip: The wraparound porch is a great place to wait for the tasty Southern buffet featuring fried chicken, barbeque pork ribs, collard greens, speckled butterbeans and sweet tea.

Union Oyster House, AAA Two Diamond, Family Dining/Regional Seafood, Boston, Mass.

As the city’s oldest restaurant and reputedly the nation’s oldest continuously operated restaurant, this popular establishment serves up traditionally prepared New England favorites — oysters, steamers, chowders, haddock and lobster — and even some landlubber fare. Inspector Tip: The narrow stairs and uneven wood-planked floors reflect the history of this nostalgic must-stop, which will celebrate 200 years in 2026.

Webster House, AAA Three Diamond, Casual Dining/American, Kansas City, Mo.

Constructed in 1885 as the Webster School, this Romanesque Revival style building was restored and repurposed in 2002 as a unique dining and shopping locale. The menu focuses on lighter fare and Sunday brunch, complete with mimosas, is fantastic. Inspector Tip: The impressive first floor has been artfully restored as an upscale antique shop.

Read the complete list of inspectors’ favorite historic restaurants across North America on the AAA travel blog at AAA.com/TravelViews. Find more than 600 restaurants classified as historic in the searchable listings on AAA.com.

About AAA Inspections

AAA is the only rating system that conducts on-site professional evaluations guided by member priorities. And, with more properties than any other rating entity, AAA is the only rating system that covers the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. For 77 years AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property inspections and publish the results, on a system of One to Five Diamonds, to guide member travel decisions.

AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotel and restaurant listings can be found in the eTourBook guides at AAA.com/ebooks, the AAA Mobile app at AAA.com/mobile, online at AAA.com/Travel and in the printed TourBook guides available at AAA/CAA offices.

Affordable One and Two Diamond restaurants offer notable menus and environments

ORLANDO, Fla., (July 12, 2012) – Does your appetite for eating out wane at the thought of a hefty bill? For many Americans, watching the wallet is as important as watching the waistline when selecting a restaurant for a night out. With more than 29,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated Restaurants — and 60 percent of these at the One and Two Diamond levels — AAA can help point the way to plentiful options for quality dining that won’t bust the budget.

AAA inspectors evaluate restaurants on a scale of One to Five Diamonds, from simple eateries with specialty menus to fine-dining restaurants with renowned chefs and expert service staff. Here’s a sampling of AAA inspectors’ casual dining favorites including mouthwatering barbecue, authentic ethnic specialties and abundant fresh seafood.

Craigie’s Harbourview Restaurant, Tobermory, Ontario, AAA/CAA One Diamond Restaurant, Casual Dining/American

Nestled in a quaint harbor town, this spot is a family tradition for locals and tourists. The home-style breakfasts are a stand out, and the white fish, always fresh, is served in a variety of ways. Choose casual sit-down dining or take-out orders especially for day trippers and boaters. Inspector Tip: Only cash is accepted, but there is an ATM around the corner.

The Fish Hopper, Monterey, Calif., AAA Two Diamond Restaurant, Casual Dining/Seafood

Located on Cannery Row, floor-to-ceiling windows offer incredible views of Monterey Bay. Tempting appetizers include crab cakes, coconut prawns, shrimp cocktail and award-winning clam chowder. Specialties include sanddabs, macadamia nut crusted tilapia, scampi with scallops, prawns in a puff-pastry shell and Cajun mahi mahi. Steaks and pasta are also available. Inspector Tip: The Monterey Bay Aquarium and unique shops are nearby.

Gaulart & Maliclet Café Restaurant, Charleston, S.C., AAA One Diamond Restaurant, Casual Dining/French

Also known as “Fast and French,” the cozy bistro consists entirely of counters and high stools. Stop in for a salad creation, soup and sandwich or a delicious afternoon snack. After 6 p.m., vegetarian entrees share menu space with classically prepared French dishes like seafood Normandy, pate and imported cheese samplers and a three-vegetable dinner. Designated evenings feature chef specials, fondue and traditional ethnic dishes. Vintage wines may be ordered by the glass or bottle. Inspector Tip: Dining is communal and seating packed, so expect to make friends.

The Grand Traverse Pie Company, Traverse City, Mich., AAA One Diamond Restaurant, Quick Serve/Deli

Like all locations in this growing Midwest chain, the flagship bakery café is quaint and cheerful. A large, open working bakery fills the shop with tempting aromas. Service is counter style with a menu of freshly made soups, sandwiches and salads as well as quiches and pot pies. The daily assortment of fresh fruit and cream pies from local ingredients would make Grandma proud.

Jambo Cafe, Santa Fe, N.M., AAA Two Diamond, Casual Dining/African

This chef-owned restaurant serves up intensely flavorful Afro-Caribbean cuisine using family recipes handed down for generations. Traditional menu items range from jerk chicken and beef kabobs to a popular lamb stew and coconut lentil stew. The specialty soups, which change daily, consistently win local competitions. Experience a cozy atmosphere, off the beaten path, with great background music and a delightfully friendly staff.

Les Madeleines Cafe & Patisserie, Salt Lake City, Utah, AAA Two Diamond Restaurant, Quick Serve/Bread-Pastries-Sandwiches

A Salt Lake City “must do.” Stop in for sesame chicken salad, a wild mushroom wrap served with edamame and other delicious sandwiches and croissants. Try the award winning Kouing-aman (kween a-mon), a crusty pastry made of bread dough with layers of butter and sugar folded in, slow baked until the butter puffs up the dough and the sugar caramelizes. This French creation has been featured on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Inspector Tip: Order two Kouing-aman (just point, they’ll know what you want) and coffee, sit down and relax. One bite and you’ll be hooked.

Nav-A-Gator Grill, Lake Suzy, Fla., AAA One Diamond Restaurant, Casual Dining/Seafood

This rustic family owned and operated fish camp on the Peace River at Old Desoto Marina is a great spot for fresh seafood. Find grouper, gator tail, shrimp, conch and even duck on the menu. Inspector Tip: The spot is popular for its fossil museum, gift shop, nature retreats, local band performance and 90-minute riverboat tours. It’s also a great spot for fishing and viewing wildlife.

Rendezvous, Memphis, Tenn., AAA Two Diamond Restaurant, Casual Dining/BBQ

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and many patrons rank this establishment among the best of Memphis’ many great BBQ restaurants. The dry-rub ribs are one-of-a-kind due to a combination of secret ingredients and cooking over charcoal versus a wood fire. The ambience and décor, with historic artifacts, memorabilia and antiques, are as interesting as the food is good.

Something Different Country Store, Urbanna, Va., AAA One Diamond Restaurant, Quick Serve/Deli

Find gourmet Southern fare in a rustic country store. Specialties include roasted and smoked succulent meats such as brisket, pork and chicken, smoked salmon served with an elegant dill sauce and great she-crab soup. Bread rolls are baked with whey for a unique flavor. Desserts include cobblers, pies and premium ice creams. Inspector Tip: The owner, a bit of a food historian, will bend your ear if you show interest, or you can read his musings from a binder.

White Heather Tea Room, Victoria, BC, AAA/CAA Two Diamond Restaurant, Casual Dining/Sandwiches & Desserts

Reservations are required at this popular spot for afternoon tea. Its signature offerings are known as “The Wee Tea,” which includes a delightful sampling of tea sandwiches, bakery goods and a scone, “The Not So Wee Tea,” which includes more sandwiches and bakery goods and “The Big Muckle Giant,” designed for two, with even more tasty items. Inspector Tip: Muckle is a word the original owner recalled from a Scottish retelling of David and Goliath.

Read the full list of 50 Inspector Picks for Budget Dining on the AAA travel blog at AAATravelViews.com, and find thousands of additional options in AAA travel information products.

About AAA Inspections

AAA is the only rating system that conducts on-site professional evaluations guided by member priorities. And, with more properties than any other rating entity, AAA is the only rating system that covers the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. For 76 years AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property inspections and publish the results, on a system of One to Five Diamonds, to guide member travel decisions.

AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotel and restaurant listings can be accessed in the AAA TourBook guides, free eTourBook guides at AAA.com/ebooks, online at AAA.com/Travel and from smartphones using AAA’s free app or mobile Web at AAA.com/mobile.

Welcoming One and Two Diamond lodgings offer enjoyable environments and easy access to beaches, mountains and popular vacation destinations

ORLANDO, Fla., (May 10, 2012) – As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, the unofficial start of the summer travel season, millions of travelers are beginning to plan road trips. For many, planning a vacation full of excitement and fun while staying within a comfortable budget can create anxiety. But with more than 31,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels, and more than a third of these at the One and Two Diamond Rating levels, AAA can help point the way to affordable options with appeal.

AAA evaluates lodgings on a scale of One to Five Diamonds, from budget-oriented hotels and motels offering basic accommodations to luxurious hotels and resorts offering extensive services and amenities — all with acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. For those seeking an exciting summer vacation without high costs, AAA inspectors have compiled a list of their favorite One and Two Diamond lodgings.

Read about rustic mountain cabins, charming beach-side motels and locations convenient to popular tourist destinations, all offering modest but memorable accommodations. A sampling of AAA inspector favorites is listed below. Access the complete list on the AAA travel blog at AAATravelViews.com.

Armada-By-The-Sea, Wildwood Crest, N.J., AAA Two Diamond Motel

This is one of the best of the many classic old motels along the Jersey Shore in the Wildwoods area. The beachfront motel is extremely well maintained, as the owners spend their time in the off season keeping it in top condition. The beach in this area is exceptionally wide, and the motel also offers a sparkling pool and large sundecks for lounging. An open green park next to the motel affords great southerly views. Rooms have a clean beachy décor with modest but comfortable furnishings, and many rooms have kitchenettes.

Au Pic de l’Aurore, Percé, Québec, AAA/CAA One Diamond Cottages

Rustic knotty pine cabins perched on a hilltop just outside of the town of Percé on the Gaspé Peninsula offer sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. This lobster-fishing village is famous for its Pierced Rock (Rocher Percé) natural arch, whale watching excursions and Bonaventure Island walking trails and bird sanctuary. Verandas and wood-burning stoves or fireplaces outfit the well-spaced cabins, some dating back to 1932. Wood-floored motel units and a large vacation home are also available. The lobby area, where boat tour tickets may be purchased, has an art gallery and a bar overlooking the coastline.

Best Western Inn of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, Ark., AAA Two Diamond Hotel

This hotel accommodates a variety of traveler needs in an economical manner. Guests find plenty of nature in the wooded area that runs the length of the west side of the property. Sporting facilities include an outdoor basketball court and complimentary miniature golf in the game room. The pool area offers family friendly movies shown on a big screen (weather permitting) and a hot tub in the nearby gazebo. Insider tip: Visit Myrtie Mae’s, the on-site, home-style restaurant, for mouthwatering fried chicken prepared with a recipe dating back to the 1920s.

Mayberry Motor Inn, Mount Airy, N.C., AAA Two Diamond Motel

If coming to town in search of yesteryear Americana by way of the TV classic, “The Andy Griffith Show,” three things will complete the journey:  a pork chop sandwich at the Snappy Lunch, a visit to the Andy Griffith Museum and a stay at the Mayberry Motor Inn. The vintage motor court offers large, clean rooms with simple, comfortable décor, and an outdoor pool open in summertime. The office is decorated with Andy Griffith memorabilia, and replicas of the sheriff’s squad car and Emmett’s pickup are out front.

Snowmass Mountain Chalet, Snowmass Village, Colo., AAA Two Diamond Hotel

Near the Village Mall, the well-known Aspen Snowmass Jazz Festival is held each summer directly across from the outdoor deck of this popular ski-in/ski-out slope-side chalet. Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the many seating arrangements and snug nooks that occupy the spacious lobby. Relaxing, reading, socializing, resting and — in winter — watching skiers and boarders have fun outside on the picturesque mountain will have guests thinking that they are part of a scene from a postcard.

Strawberry Creek Bunkhouse, Idyllwild, Calif., AAA One Diamond Motel

There aren’t any phones here, but Wi-Fi is available at this quaint establishment just north of the Village, where shops and restaurants abound in this mountain hamlet in Southern California. Besides the rustic, knotty pine-filled cozy guest rooms with balconies that overlook the forest, there are two cabins on property with fireplaces and private decks. Some units have full kitchens while others offer the basic efficiency; all are comfortably and attractively furnished. Hiking in the nearby woods is a popular pastime at this quiet yet memorable get-away-from-it-all lodging. Insider tip: Enjoy the free organic continental breakfast delivered to your door in a replica fishing basket, or opt for the Hike-to-Breakfast option for a hot gourmet breakfast at the nearby B & B.

Swan Motel, Stratford, Ontario, AAA/CAA Two Diamond Motel

The outstanding grounds and gardens are a highlight of this quaint family-run motel. The seasonally run property operates around the Stratford Shakespeare Festival schedule, which guests have made a tradition for a relaxing mini getaway. Original art adds interest to the comfortable rooms, and the large outdoor pool area is a great place to relax while reviewing show schedules. A short drive to town offers an abundance of fine restaurants and shops.

The Thomas Bond House B & B, Philadelphia, Pa., AAA Two Diamond Historic Bed and Breakfast

This cozy lodging alternative in the historic area of Philadelphia is a restoration of an 18th century home of Thomas Bond, close friend of Benjamin Franklin and co-founder of the Pennsylvania Hospital. While the guest rooms are small, guests enjoy the charming colonial décor and lovely parlor area equipped with a marble fireplace. The convenient location is in easy walking distance of multiple restaurants, shops and historic sites — a great spot for anyone visiting the city of Philadelphia!

The Woodsman Country Lodge, Crescent, Ore., AAA Two Diamond Motel

Located on US 97 between Bend and Klamath Falls in the heart of Central Oregon’s recreation playland, this motel is close to hiking, boating, skiing, and the great outdoors in general. The owners’ pride in this motel is evident in the fantastic condition of the property, variety of bronze statues set about the grounds and well-maintained rustic décor of the guest rooms. Rooms feature log furniture and a variety of outdoor or western themes. Insider tip: Try to get a different room on each visit to see all the interesting decorative touches and artifacts.

Yuma Cabana Motel, Yuma, Ariz., AAA Two Diamond Motel

Serving weary travelers at the halfway point between San Diego and Phoenix since 1965, this retro cute motel can be spotted from far away by its massive ‘60s kitschy neon sign. Independently owned and operated, this excellent and very affordable option offers something different than standard lodgings. The small but immaculate rooms offer useful amenities, and guests can visit the lobby for free coffee all day and continental breakfast. There’s also a cool kidney-shaped pool and shaded patio for those many triple-digit Yuma afternoons. Insider tip: If staying for a few days, ask for the larger corner rooms with kitchenettes.

For more AAA inspector picks, insider tips and travel stories, visit AAA’s travel blog at AAATravelViews.com.

About AAA Inspections

AAA rates more properties than any other rating entity and is the only rating system that covers the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. It is one of only two that conduct physical, on-site evaluations. AAA Approved lodgings and restaurants are assigned a rating of One to Five Diamonds. For 75 years AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property inspections and publish the results for member travelers.

Listings of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants can be accessed in the AAA TourBook guides, online at AAA.com/Travel and from smartphones using AAA’s free app or AAA Mobile Web. In addition, AAA members can download free eTourBook guides at AAA.com/ebooks.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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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