Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

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.

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

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

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

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

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2015 ranking position.

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

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

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

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

AAA’s top domestic summer travel destinations include:

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

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2015 ranking position

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

Before setting out on a summer vacation, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, request AAA roadside assistance and more. For in-person travel planning, seek the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor, who can provide personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation. For more information and to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/SummerFun.

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

WASHINGTON, (Nov. 28, 2011) —

AAA Fuel Gauge Report: Oil price flirts with $100, then retreats

Crude oil prices were up 96 cents today at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX finishing at $97.73, erasing the brief drop in prices that occurred last week. Crude briefly surpassed the $100 mark overnight based on positive retail sales news indicating consumers spent more than $52 billion over the weekend, a nine percent increase from last year.

In addition to the holiday retail sales, crude prices followed an overall climb in the stock market in the wake of better economic news from Europe. Analysts pointed to reports that European countries are participating in discussions to fortify the tenuous sovereign debt situation in the euro zone as a reason for optimism that, rather than split apart, the European Union (EU) may be moving to strengthen ties. In particular, France and Germany, the two largest and most financially secure nations of the EU, are pushing towards a financial accord in advance of a Dec. 9 summit which may have significant consequences for the euro zone. An additional report that the International Monetary Fund was about to propose a rescue plan for Italy also added to the positive momentum. Further, the euro strengthened against the dollar today providing added impetus for crude prices. Crude oil futures are priced in U.S. dollars. As economies overseas strengthen and the dollar weakens the price of oil becomes relatively cheaper for those holding foreign currencies, which exerts upward pressure on prices.

Prices were also pressured higher today in response to a number of developments in the Middle East. Several reports indicate that the EU may consider banning all oil imports from Iran in the wake of a recent United Nation’s report that Iran might be developing a nuclear weapons system. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Iran is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the EU is only second to China in terms of consuming Iranian oil. EU Ministers are scheduled to meet later this week to determine what course of action is to be taken. The Arab League formally imposed sanctions on Syria yesterday after refusals to halt violent crackdowns on protesters. Syria, which also faces sanctions from the US and the EU, is estimated to produce about 332,000 barrels of crude per day, according to the International Energy Agency.

It was a different story for oil prices last week. Crude prices sputtered at the end of the shortened holiday trading week, finally dropping below $97 on “Black Friday.” On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the closing bell ended a 42-day streak of increased crude prices during formal trading on the NYMEX.

The current national retail average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline is $3.30, which is five cents less than last week, 15 cents less than a month ago, but 44 cents more than the price one year ago. Motorists in Hawaii ($4.11) and Alaska ($4.01) are paying the most for regular gasoline in the US, while motorists in Missouri ($3.02) are paying the least.

ORLANDO, Fla., November 2, 2011 —

Expected cuts in airline capacity, American pent-up travel demand fueling European travel price sales and early booking discounts

Airlines are expected to cut seating capacity on international flights to Europe next year between five percent and 10 percent, according to TravCorp USA.  The AAA Preferred Travel Partner expects the percentage of reduction to fluctuate by destination as the region’s economic outlook is evaluated.  Airline seating capacity reductions to Paris, Frankfurt and London are among those currently being studied. Travelers are advised to book now for the best deals.

As airlines contemplate capacity reductions, AAA surveys of intended travelers indicate that travel in general is increasing due primarily to pent-up demand.  Responses to AAA travel surveys conducted throughout the year indicate that Americans have maintained a deep desire to travel throughout the economic downturn and have tired of waiting for the United States economy to improve.  Increasing numbers of AAA Travel customers are moving forward with vacation purchases to Europe.

“Americans need and want to spend time with family creating life-time travel memories and fulfilling their bucket list along the way,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services.  “Current savings and booking incentives on European travel make this the perfect time to plan that dream Europe vacation.”

According to AAA Travel sales data, the top five European destinations for travel during the first half of 2012 are Rome; London; Dublin, Ireland; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Paris. Current Europe vacation purchases for travel in the first quarter of 2012 are 15 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2011. Sales for Europe travel during the second quarter of 2012 are 21 percent higher than the second quarter of this year.

Most airlines and travel suppliers are responding to the pent-up demand and expected airline capacity cuts by providing immediate savings opportunities on travel to Europe.  Some cruise lines are modifying itineraries to appeal to specific travelers such as wine enthusiasts and moving more cabin capacity to popular destinations like the Mediterranean.

Price reduction offers include sales on travel and cruises during the remainder of 2011 including the holiday season, early booking discounts and price incentives to pay-in-full at the time of booking for travel in 2012, to name a few.  The key to securing a great travel value is knowing when to buy.  For travel to Europe, that time is now.

Planning international travel can be a daunting task. Partnering with a professional travel counselor who specializes in international travel will save vacationers countless hours of research time, and provide access to additional vacation options sold only through travel agencies.

Travel counselors at AAA Travel receive frequent international travel updates and stay abreast of price changes, document requirement changes, travel alerts and continuously monitor the overall international travel landscape. Their time, personalized service, first-hand destination knowledge to offer tips on places to shop, dine and sightsee adds irreplaceable value to the vacation price.

AAA Travel recently launched AAA Vacations® – a collection of escorted, hosted and independent tours and vacation packages to destinations throughout the world.  AAA Vacations® are customized tours and packages designed to deliver unique, engaging and exclusive vacation experiences to AAA members.  Visit your nearest AAA office or AAA.com for more information.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 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.

Orlando, Fla., July 23 2009

Consumers should lock-in seasonal deals while prices are attractive and exchange rates are favorable 

Outstanding values on package tours should be added to the long list of reasons why European travel makes sense during the upcoming fall season, AAA is advising its travel agency clients. American travelers can take advantage of a variety of special incentives and prices being offered by some of the world’s premiere tour operators, and AAA members often receive extra benefits, AAA said.

AAA, which operates the largest leisure travel agency network in North America, is able to provide access to unmatched European travel values via its industry partnerships with tour providers, Trafalgar, Contiki Vacations, Insight Vacations, Avanti Destinations, General Tours, AAA Member Choice Vacations, Travel Bound and Tauck World Discovery. AAA’s European river cruise partner Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is also offering savings. Discounts of as much as 10 to 30 percent are not uncommon on package tours.

Because the U.S. dollar is viewed as a safe currency in times of economic stress, Americans will find their money goes further in Europe now than it did last fall ($1.59 equaled one Euro on July 15, 2008 versus ($1.40) on July 15, 2009). Because future exchange rates are uncertain, the dollars relationship to the Euro could return to previous levels and make European travel less affordable in the future, AAA said.

Smaller crowds, seasonal festivals and off-season rates make Europe an enticing choice in September, October and November.

Self-guided adventurers will also find bargains with the help of a knowledgeable travel agent, AAA said, since hotel rooms, trains and car rentals are typically less expensive in the Fall than during the peak summer season.

“When travelers consider the savings available due to unusual recession-related discounts, a trend toward more favorable exchange rates and the savings that are normally available during the off- peak or “shoulder” season, they will realize that European travel is an excellent value this fall,” said Amy Nicholas, managing director of AAA tour and cruise products.

Examples of some seasonal European activities and events that could form part of an autumn itinerary are:

  • Great Britain
    • The State Opening of Parliament offers all of the majesty and pageantry for which the British Monarchy is famous. This year the Queen will makes her autumn procession from Buckingham Palace to the House of Lords on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
  • Germany
    • The granddaddy of all beer festivals, Munich’s Oktoberfest, actually begins September 19 and lasts until October 4.
    • Federweisser festivals in the Rhine River valley celebrating the new or young wine newly pressed from white grapes are from mid-September to mid-October.
  • Italy
    • The Italian Gran Prix (or Formula 1 Gran Premio Santander D’Italia) is September 13 in Monza offering the finest spectacle in Italian motorsports and the spiritual home of the Ferrari racing team.
    • The Piedmont region’s annual White Truffle Festival in Alba takes place each weekend in October and is the highlight of the white truffle season. The festival features not only the truffles themselves, but also arts and cultural events and spectacles that revolve around the celebration. 
  • France
    • Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival October 7-11 celebrates the arrival of the new wine from the Montmartre vineyard with a procession, fireworks and local produce.

European river cruising and rail travel are two outstanding ways to view the sites

New and experienced travelers to Europe should ask their travel agent about the growing popularity of European River Cruising; a phenomenal way to view many of the Old World’s most fabled places.

River cruises along the Danube, Main, Rhine, Moselle, Rhone, Saone, Seine, Douro and Volga rivers are all possible with itineraries that can include cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Strasburg, Bucharest, Nuremburg, Budapest, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.

AAA’s Travel Agency network has partnerships with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Tauck River Cruising. Both are offering money-saving promotions to AAA’s clients traveling the European waterways.

AAA Travel also provides complimentary protection from theft or loss of rail passes through its partnership with Rail Europe.

Researching a European trip is vital. Having a friend in Europe is even better.

AAA makes detailed information on European vacations available online at AAA.com and in its AAA TravelBook™ series and AAA Spiral Guides. Both guide book series will help travelers research their trip and can serve as a trusted and experienced friend while journeying abroad.

The five accurate and easy-to-use AAA TravelBook guides are brimming with information essential for a successful trip, including complete coverage of everything from specially selected lodgings and restaurants to driving distances and sightseeing suggestions. A title covering Europe in general is available, as well as specific books on Britain, France, Ireland and Italy.

Other features include:

  • A comprehensive travel facts section which provides valuable information on health matters, car rental and insurance, driving tips, duty-free shopping, embassies and consulates, U.S. customs and regulations, tourist offices and airport information and more
  • Detailed hotel and restaurant listings with addresses, contact details and price guide
  • Detailed, full-color maps of countries, major cities and popular destinations
  • Useful phrases

AAA’s TravelBooks can be purchased at the suggested retail price of $17.95 at many AAA offices, online at AAA.com/BarnesandNoble and at better bookstores.

AAA Spiral Guides are one-of-a-kind travel companion. The series of trusted destination guides provide unique, reader-friendly binding, full-color photos and color-coded locator maps. Each guide has more than 200 pages of intimate details, insightful articles, and lighthearted anecdotes about popular destinations. Area-specific articles provide interesting cultural and historical perspectives and highlight the stops that you must see. Finally, those with more time can learn about those special treasures that call for leisurely sightseeing.

Features include History 101, Finding Your Feet, Don’t Miss, In a Day, At Your Leisure and Excursions, Walks and Tours. AAA has a Spiral Guide for Paris, Amsterdam, France, Portugal, Barcelona, Italy, Rome, Berlin, Budapest, Ireland, Scotland, London, Spain, Munich, Tuscany, Dublin, Venice, Florence and Vienna. Other international destinations also are available.

AAA’s Spiral Guides can be purchased at the suggested retail price of $17.95 at many AAA offices, online at AAA.com/BarnesandNoble and at better bookstores.

European travel information also is available at AAA.com under TourBook® Guide Trip Planning.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 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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