Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

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.

JulieHallSun destinations are travelers’ top getaways following harsh winter

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 12, 2015) – As snow continues in many parts of the country, travelers are ready to escape to warmer weather and sunny destinations, according to AAA. Warm destinations offering fun-filled activities for families will experience the largest influx of travelers this spring season, followed by ever-popular vacation destinations Washington, D.C., New York City, Seattle and San Francisco.

 

AAA Travel’s top spring travel destinations, based on AAA.com hotel bookings, are:

  1. Orlando, Fla.
  2. Los Angeles, Calif. (Anaheim)
  3. San Diego, Calif.
  4. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  5. Miami, Fla.
  6. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. New York, N.Y.
  9. Seattle, Wash.
  10. San Francisco, Calif.

“It’s clear that travelers are seeking warm weather destinations this spring as they look to escape the cold after a particularly harsh winter,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Senior Vice President of Travel and Publishing. “In addition to great domestic destination getaways, cruises, tours and vacation packages to international destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean are also popular vacations this spring.”

Theme parks continue to be a popular vacation option, as evidenced by Orlando and Los Angeles holding top spots on this year’s list. Universal Orlando Resort is an increasingly popular destination with new attractions including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the new family-friendly Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

AAA Vacations, a collection of cruises, guided tours and independent vacations, offers unique, engaging travel experiences that range from exploring the Galapagos to touring America’s national parks, and are available at more than 1,000 AAA Travel offices. 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.

With all the options available to travelers today, vacation planning can be a daunting task. To maximize a spring break 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. For more information and to begin planning a vacation, visit AAA.com/Travel.

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 HunterOptimistic Americans dusting off credit cards for a Fourth of July vacation.

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 26, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 41 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend, a 1.9 percent increase from the 40.3 million people who traveled last year and a nearly 14 percent increase compared to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  The majority of travelers will be celebrating their freedom with a road trip, with more than eight in 10 (34.8 million) choosing to travel by automobile, the highest level since 2007.  The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 6.
Highlights from 2014 Independence Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Willingness to take on credit card debt, not an increase in income, is responsible for the increase in consumer spending.
  • Nearly five million more Americans are expected to travel for Independence Day than for Memorial Day.
  • Travel volume for Independence Day has grown four out of the past five years and is expected to be more than six percent higher than the average of the past 10 years.
  • Holiday air travel is expected to increase one percent to 3.1 million travelers from 3.07 million last year.
  • Travelers will encounter airfares five percent lower than last year and car rental costs that remain consistent with last year at $58.
  • Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are 15 percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are nine percent more.

Additional Resources

“With school out for summer, the Fourth of July holiday is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, with five million more Americans traveling compared to Memorial Day weekend,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “In line with tradition, most travelers are celebrating their newfound summer freedom with an all-American road trip.”

An increase in consumer spending is primarily due to increasing credit, rather than rising incomes.  Consumers have been hesitant to add to their credit card balances the past several years, but continued improvements in the employment picture and rising home values means they are starting to feel more comfortable taking on debt. In addition to consumer spending, a boost in consumer confidence and the employment outlook are driving more Americans to take a road trip.

“Steady improvement in the economy has spurred increased consumer confidence and spending,” continued Doney.  “Optimistic Americans are more willing to take on debt this year, dusting off their credit cards to pay for a much-needed Independence Day getaway.”

Travelers likely to pay most expensive Independence Day gas prices in six years

AAA expects the majority of U.S. drivers likely will pay the highest gas prices for Independence Day since 2008. Today’s national average price of gas is about 20 cents per gallon more expensive than the average on July 4, 2013, which was $3.48 per gallon. In recent years gas prices have declined in the weeks leading up to Independence Day, but this has not occurred this summer due to higher crude oil costs as fighting intensifies in Iraq. AAA does not believe that high gas prices will have a significant impact on the number of people traveling, but it could result in some consumers cutting back on dining, shopping or other trip activities. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

Travel expenses mixed

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase nine percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $178 per night compared to $164 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen 15 percent with an average cost of $137 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $58, the same as last year. Airfares have declined five percent with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $215, down from $228 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. More information including an infographic for the AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Independence 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.

Yolanda Cade(HEATHROW, May 21, 2014) Today’s proposed fee-disclosure requirements from the U.S. Department of Transportation will lead to a better-informed traveling public and should enable travelers to better plan and budget for vacation travel.  AAA supports the proposed steps to increase fare transparency, which is essential regardless of where a customer chooses to purchase a ticket. Currently, fees for additional services are often difficult to determine when searching for airfares and as a result, many consumers are unable to understand the true cost of travel before purchasing a ticket.  As one of the largest leisure travel agencies in the United States, AAA supports the requirements. With the Memorial Day weekend approaching AAA is projecting that 2.6 million leisure travelers will take to the skies to kick off summer with a getaway. Those travelers provide a good reminder about the popularity of air travel and the importance of good information for consumers.

Ginnie PritchettAAA alerts drivers that extreme summer heat can push vehicles to limits if not properly maintained

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ORLANDO, Fla., (July 25, 2013) – With temperatures soaring to record highs around the country, AAA cautions motorists not to underestimate the ways in which extreme heat can wreak havoc on vehicles.  With an estimated eight million automobiles in need of AAA’s roadside assistance this summer, heat will take its toll on vehicles and their occupants.

“Prolonged exposure to high temperatures is not only a threat to passengers, but a vehicle concern as well,” said John Nielsen, AAA Managing Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Knowing the dangers and preparing your vehicle for extreme heat can help keep your vehicle running smoothly during the hot summer months.”

To keep your vehicle running smoothly this summer AAA recommends motorists address the following common heat-related car problems:

Over-Heating Engine

Automobile engines work extra hard in the summer, and it is the cooling system’s job to protect the engine from overheating. In addition, additives in the coolant protect the radiator and internal engine components against wear and corrosion. Without proper cooling system maintenance, the odds of long term engine damage, and a summer time boil over, definitely increase.

Over time, engine coolant becomes contaminated and its protective additives are depleted. That’s why the system should be flushed and the coolant replaced periodically as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Older coolants required changing every two years or 24,000 miles, but most modern formulations are good for at least five years and 50,000 miles, and many do not require replacement until approximately 100,000 miles. See the owner’s manual or maintenance booklet to determine the service interval appropriate for a vehicle.

Between flushes, make sure the coolant is filled to the proper levels by checking the overflow reservoir. If necessary, top off the reservoir with a 50/50 mix of water and the coolant type specified by the vehicle manufacturer. CAUTION! – Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot – boiling coolant under pressure could cause serious burns.

Other fluids help keep vehicles running cool as well. Most vehicle fluids don’t just lubricate, they also serve as coolants by helping carry heat away from critical components. When fluid levels are low, this cooling effect is reduced, and the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers to should check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.

Battery Failure Due to Heat and Vibration

Heat and vibration are a battery’s two worst enemies, leading to internal breakdown and eventual failure. While drivers cannot do much about the heat, they can make sure their battery is securely mounted in place to minimize vibration.

If a car’s battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer it will last. This test can be performed at any AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, or AAA members can request a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician come to them and test their battery free of charge. Should the battery need replacement, the technician can usually replace it immediately on location. For more information on the AAA Mobile Battery Service visit AAA.com/Battery.

Blown Tire

Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.

Tires should be checked when the car has not been driven recently, and they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer—not the number molded into the tire sidewall. Recommended tire pressures can be found in the owner’s manual or on a tire information sticker normally located on the driver’s door jamb. Drivers also should inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.

Air Conditioning Failure

During extreme summer heat, a properly operating air conditioning system can be more than just a pleasant convenience. If a car’s air conditioning is not maintaining the interior temperature as well as it did in the past, it may mean the refrigerant level is low or there is another problem. Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician.

Many automotive climate control systems today are equipped with a cabin filter that prevents outside debris from entering. If present, this filter should be inspected and replaced as needed to ensure maximum airflow and cooling during the summer months.

If you think your vehicle is experiencing problems due to the extreme summer heat, have it checked out by a trained automotive technician. The AAA Approved Auto Repair program is a free public service that helps motorists identify high-quality auto repair facilities they can trust to work on their vehicle. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops must meet stringent professional standards and maintain an ongoing customer satisfaction rating of 90 percent or better. To locate a nearby AAA-approved repair shop visit AAA.com/Repair.

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.

Heather HunterSurvey examines summer travel plans, identifying top priorities and key frustrations for travelers

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 2, 2013) – As the weather gets warmer and children finish the school year, many Americans are planning summer getaways. A new AAA survey reveals that two-thirds (66 percent) of U.S. adults plan to take a leisure trip between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year.   Those planning to travel, will hit the road a few times, averaging 3.5 trips during the summer months.  Additional findings from the survey also reveal that family and value are top priorities while unexpected expenses and finding time to take the perfect trip are the biggest frustrations.

Two-thirds to travel, one-third plan multi-generational trips

Sixty-six percent of Americans plan to take a least one trip during the summer travel season, with many planning to travel more than once. With an average of 3.5 trips among those traveling, 22 percent are planning one trip,   16 percent are planning two trips and the 29 percent are planning three or more trips between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Many travelers will also use these vacations as a time to build family bonds with nearly one in three (32 percent) of respondents plan to take a multi-generational trip in the next 12 months. For one-quarter of Americans the multi-generational trip will include both their children and their parents or their partner’s parents.

Top travel frustrations

The survey, fielded in April, shows that while value continues to be a top priority for travelers, 58 percent of respondents ranked unexpected expenses that can make developing a travel budget difficult the top vacation frustration. Additionally, finding the time to take the perfect vacation came in as the second largest travel frustration and finding the best price for lodging and transportation was third.  The full results of travel frustrations are listed below:

  • Unexpected expenses such as airline fees, resort fees or parking (58 percent)
  • Finding the time to take the perfect trip (52 percent)
  • Finding the best price for lodging and transportation (49 percent)
  • Airport security lines (45 percent)
  • Crowds at your destination (43 percent)
  • Packing for your vacation (27 percent)
  • Family arguments about where to go and what to do (21 percent)

Top considerations for choosing a hotel

Survey respondents continued to reiterate the importance of value as 85 percent of respondents cited overall value   as a top consideration for choosing a hotel. Added benefits such as free breakfast (63 percent) and free hi-speed Wi-Fi (51 percent) also ranked very high. When surveyed, 44 percent of respondents said they seek environmentally-friendly programs when selecting a hotel. The full results of top considerations when choosing a hotel are listed below:

Overall value for money (85 percent)

Convenience to attractions or activities (73 percent)

Free breakfast (63 percent)

Free, high speed Wi-Fi (51 percent)

Environmentally-friendly programs 44 percent)

Frequent travel programs or points (35 percent)

Pet-friendly (29 percent)

A spa (23 percent)

Children’s programs (23 percent)

The results of the survey show that Americans continue to prioritize travel, however they expect value and also desire convenience. The assistance a qualified travel agent, such as a AAA Travel Counselor can help consumers plan the perfect getaway that meets their need without the frustration of planning. For more information visit www.AAA.com/travel.

AAA provides travel planning information to travelers who wish to consider sustainability programs when making travel plans. Currently an ECO icon marks approximately 3,000 eligible lodging listings in the TourBook® guides, TripTik® Travel Planner and on AAA.com.

ORLANDO, Fla., May 24, 2011

Nation’s largest motor club encourages all drivers to do three easy maintenance tasks to help avoid becoming stranded, improve their safety and save money on gas
Christie HydeThe summer travel season kicks off later this week with the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and AAA estimates it will come to the rescue of 8.7 million stranded motorists between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

“More than 30 million Americans are expected to take road trips during the Memorial Day holiday weekend and, unfortunately, many of them will end up stranded by the roadway,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information. “However, there are three easy maintenance tasks any driver can perform to reduce their chances of becoming stranded, improve the safety of their road trip and even save a little money.”

Additional Resources

The three maintenance tasks AAA recommends all motorists to perform before hitting the road for a summer road trip include:

1. Inspect All FIVE Tires

Many motorists may be confused when told to check five tires, however AAA has found one of the most frequently overlooked items on a vehicle is the spare tire. When inspecting tires, it’s important also to make sure the spare is in good condition and ready for use in case it’s needed.

“Roughly 1.2 million drivers will call AAA for help with a flat tire during the summer travel season, and many of those problems could be avoided by inspecting the tires before hitting the road,” said Nielsen. “Tire inspections are simple to perform. The only tools needed are a quarter and a tire pressure gauge.”

Begin every tire inspection with a pressure check. “Eighty-five percent of drivers do not know how to properly inflate their tires, and more than half of all cars on the road have at least one under-inflated tire,” explained Nielsen.

Always check tire pressure when the tires are at ambient temperature and the car has not been driven recently. Use a quality gauge to make sure all five tires are inflated to the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer—which is probably not the maximum pressure molded into the sidewall of the tire. The carmaker’s recommendation can be found on a sticker usually attached to the driver’s door jam, in the owner’s manual and sometimes on the gas cap door. Drivers should be aware that the recommended pressures for front and rear tires may differ, and the spare may require yet another pressure. Most space saver spares require much higher air pressures than normal vehicle tires.

Properly inflated tires also can reduce fuel costs during a trip. The Department of Energy reports that correctly inflating all four tires can improve fuel economy by up to three percent, which is equivalent to as much as to 12 cents per gallon.

After making sure all five tires are properly inflated, drivers should inspect the tread depth and overall condition of the tires. Worn tires in need of replacement are much more likely to suffer punctures and other problems. An industry survey found one out of every 10 cars has at least one bald tire, and 64 percent of drivers do not know how to check their tread depth.

To check tread depth, insert a quarter into a tire tread groove with Washington’s head upside down and facing outward. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If any area above his head is visible, it might be wise to go tire shopping before you take a long road trip. Be sure to check the tread depth at several points around the tire and across its width, and use the lowest reading.

While checking the tire tread wear, also look for signs of uneven wear or abnormal bulges or other damage on the tire treads and sidewalls. “Taking a few minutes to inspect your tires once a month can help keep you rolling down the roadway instead of being stranded by the roadside,” noted Nielsen.

2. Check and Clean Car Battery

AAA estimates it will assist nearly 1.7 million motorists with dead batteries during the summer driving season—replacing nearly 700,000 batteries at the roadside. Summer heat breaks down car batteries internally and accelerates the rate of corrosion on the vehicle’s battery terminals. Both conditions can lead to insufficient electrical power being available, and leave a motorist stranded without warning.

Check the battery cables and ensure they are securely attached to the terminals. Clean the terminals if there are signs of corrosion. It is not enough to simply remove external corrosion; proper cleaning requires disconnecting the cables to clean the hidden areas where they contact the battery terminals.

Depending on local climate and vehicle usage patterns, most car batteries have a three to five year service life. If a battery is nearing the end of its lifecycle, have it tested at a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop or by the AAA Mobile Battery Service to determine if replacing the battery prior before your road trip might be a good idea.

If it’s time to replace a car’s battery, AAA members can get a quote on a replacement battery while on the go on their phone with the AAA Roadside app, available for iPhone and Android, or on any web-enabled mobile device using AAA Mobile Web at AAA.mobi.

3. Replace Wiper Blades and Refill Washer Fluid

Low or no windshield washer fluid was the number two problem AAA uncovered during its 2010 car care inspections. Rain, insects, grime and other debris on a windshield will compromise the driver’s vision, and safety, if the windshield wipers cannot remove them. A supply of the proper washer fluid, delivered effectively to the glass, helps the wipers remove these contaminants.

Check the windshield washer fluid reservoir monthly or more often if the washers are used frequently. Top it off with a solution formulated to aid in the removal of insects and other debris. Be sure to test the washer spray nozzles for proper operation and aim before leaving on a trip.

While topping off the washer fluid, also check the wiper blades. If blades are worn, cracked or rigid with age, they will not adequately remove rain, grime and other debris that can obscure driver vision. If the wiper blades are sufficiently deteriorated, the metal wiper blade frame could contact and permanently damage the windshield.

Check the wiper blades at every oil change or whenever they fail to wipe the glass clean in a single swipe. The life of a rubber insert is typically six to 12 months depending on its exposure to heat, dirt, sunlight, acid rain and ozone. Streaking and chattering are common clues that the rubber is breaking down and replacement is needed.

“While any driver can perform these three simple maintenance tasks before a summer road trip, they are not the only services your car needs to stay in top notch operating condition. It is also important to have your car serviced regularly according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual,” said Nielsen.

This summer, AAA will remedy three out of five motorists’ car problems at the roadside and get them back on the go. However, an estimated 3.7 million drivers will suffer more significant troubles that will require towing to a place of repair. Regular vehicle maintenance can help a motorist avoid becoming one of the unlucky drivers who end up spending part of their summer vacation hooked to a tow truck.

To help consumers identify quality auto repair shops that can assist in the maintenance and repair of their vehicles, AAA offers the Approved Auto Repair program as a free public service. AAA-approved repair facilities meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Motorists can look for the Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair facilities, or search for a nearby AAA-approved shop online at AAA.com/Repair.

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, FLORIDA,  May 25, 2010

Motor club anticipates helping 9.3 million stranded motorists during summer driving season and reminds drivers that auto maintenance is key to avoid breakdowns at home or away

Christie HydeAAA estimates it will come to the rescue of nearly a half million stranded motorists during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. With 28 million Americans expected to travel by car during the holiday, many travelers could be left stranded away from home this weekend.

“Whether traveling or near home, the best way to avoid your vehicle leaving you stranded is with a little preventative maintenance,” said John Nielsen, AAA director of auto repair and buying services. “Taking care of your vehicle now can not only prevent the hassle of a breakdown, but also can cost far less than a major repair that might be needed if vehicle upkeep is ignored.”

AAA expects it will jump start 56,000 auto batteries this weekend and replace an additional 22,000 batteries with its AAA Mobile Battery Service. The motor club will change 70,000 flat tires during the holiday weekend and retrieve keys for nearly 81,000 motorists who lock them inside their vehicle. And while AAA’s well trained roadside technicians will be able to get three out of five motorists back on the go, 200,000 vehicles will end up requiring a tow—thousands for reasons that could have been prevented with proper maintenance.

Over entire summer driving season between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, AAA will rescue roughly 9.3 million stranded motorists.

Find problems before they arise

Whether planning a summer road trip or continuing a regular commute to work, AAA recommends two fundamental things motorists can do to decrease the likelihood of their vehicle leaving them stranded:

  • Have your vehicle serviced regularly based on the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. This is the best way to catch problems before they arise.
  • Identify a quality repair shop, and use that facility for all of your vehicle repairs and maintenance. Repeated use of a trustworthy shop allows a motorist to develop a good working relationship with the service staff, and allows the repair technicians to get to know the vehicle and make needed service recommendations in a timely manner.

AAA offers a free public service to help consumers find quality auto repair facilities that meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Motorists can either look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair facilities, or search for a nearby AAA Approved shop online at AAA.com/Repair.

Easy maintenances and checks for motorists

While some maintenance and repair tasks are best left to certified automotive technicians, there are several basic items motorists can easily check themselves between trips to their auto repair facility.

Engine Air FilterA dirty air filter was the most frequent problem found during AAA car care inspections in 2009. A dirty or clogged air filter restricts airflow and reduces engine performance. A damaged filter, or one that does not seal properly in its housing, will allow unfiltered air to enter the engine. This can lead to increased engine wear and, in some applications, damage to electronic engine control components.

Check the air filter every six months or 7,500 miles by holding it up to a 100-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if the light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.

Windshield Washer FluidLow or no windshield wiper fluid was the number two problem AAA found during its car care inspections. Rain, insects, grime and other debris on a windshield will compromise the driver’s vision if the windshield wipers cannot remove them. A supply of the proper washer fluid, delivered effectively to the glass, helps the wipers remove these contaminants.

Check the windshield washer fluid reservoir monthly or more often if the washers are used frequently. Top it up with a solution formulated to aid in the removal of insects and other debris. Be sure to test the washer spray nozzles for proper operation and aim before hitting the road.

Tire PressureOver- or under-inflated tires were the number three problem found during AAA car care inspections last year. More than 21 percent of the vehicles checked had one or more tires with incorrect air pressure. Proper inflation will make tires last longer and delay the need to buy new ones. Plus, correct tire pressures will help maximize a vehicle’s fuel economy, while ensuring optimum ride and handling for comfort and safety.

Check and adjust tire pressures at least once a month when the tires are cold—including the spare. Always inflate tires to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended settings—not the maximum pressure molded on the side of the tire. The manufacturer’s recommendations can be found on a sticker on the driver’s door jam or in the owner’s manual.

Tire TreadTires with not enough tread depth were in the top five of AAA’s list of vehicle concerns. Having good tires with sufficient tread depth is crucial, particularly in wet road conditions. Worn tires with shallow tread are much more likely to hydroplane on wet pavement, resulting in a loss of braking power and steering control.

Check the tread depth by inserting a quarter upside down into a tire groove with Washington’s head facing outward. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If any of the area above Washington’s head is visible, it’s time to start shopping for new tires. Always check the tread at several points around the tire and across its width, and use the lowest reading.

Uneven or excessive wear of the tire tread may indicate the need for suspension repair or wheel alignment, both of which will extend the life of a vehicle’s tires.

BatteryBattery problems were a frequently seen issue during AAA’s car care inspections. Summer heat breaks down the battery internally and accelerates the rate of corrosion on vehicle’s battery terminals. Both of these conditions can lead to insufficient electrical power being available, and leave a motorist stranded without warning.

Check the battery cables to ensure they are securely attached to the terminals. Clean the terminals if there are any signs of corrosion. It is not enough to simply remove external corrosion; proper cleaning requires disconnecting the cables to clean the areas where their ends contact the battery terminals.

Depending on the local climate and vehicles usage patterns, most car batteries have a three to five year service life. If your battery is nearing the end of its lifecycle, have it tested at a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop or by the AAA Mobile Battery Service to determine if it is time for a replacement.

Windshield Wiper Blades – Also in AAA’s top-10 vehicle problem areas, windshield wipers are easy to overlook until motorists find themselves in a pounding rainstorm. If wiper blades are worn, cracked or rigid with age, they will not adequately remove rain, grime and other debris that can obscure driver vision. If the wiper blades are sufficiently deteriorated, the metal wiper blade frame could contact and permanently damage the windshield.

Check the wiper blades at every oil change or whenever they fail to wipe the glass clean in a single swipe. The life of a rubber insert is typically six to 12 months depending on its exposure to heat, dirt, sunlight, acid rain and ozone. Streaking and chattering are common clues that the rubber is breaking down and replacement is needed.

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.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, April 9, 2010

Discounts available on hotel stays, theme park tickets, car rentals and more

Heather HunterPlanning ahead can help you save big on your summer vacation, AAA says. Although spur-of-the-moment trips are exciting, a little research and advance planning can result in big savings. AAA recommends travelers take advantage of cheaper prices by booking early and researching any available discounts such as those available to AAA members on hotels, car rentals and attraction tickets.

Although last minute discounts can be found, typically the best bargains and availability are accessible to those who book in advance. AAA.com features a variety of discount packages every day. If you are planning a complex summer vacation consider visiting a travel agent. A qualified travel agent, such as your AAA travel agent, works directly with travel providers and will be better equipped to negotiate discounts for you and advise you on other savings or benefits that may be available.

“Household budgets will continue to weigh heavily on summer travel decisions as many Americans continue to be concerned about the economy,” said Gail Acebes, director, AAA Partnership Programs. “We are pleased to offer members many discounts on travel products and services that will ease the financial burden of a memorable vacation.”

AAA membership provides extensive discounts to make a summer getaway more affordable. The following is a partial list of travel discounts available to AAA members:

Lodging Discounts

AAA members who stay at AAA preferred hotels receive discounts ranging from five to 15 percent off the best available rate and the comfort of a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Preferred hotels include Best Western, Hampton, including The Hilton Family, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Marriott brands including Renaissance, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, including Sheraton and Westin.

Lodgings vary greatly by cost and amenities. Travelers can use the AAA Diamond Ratings to identify properties that meet their needs and budget. The AAA TourBook® listings, also available on AAA.com, include more than 31,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated® lodgings.

AAA members who visit AAA.com to book a room are more likely to find a better rate there than on other leading websites, according to a recent survey. A direct comparison of hotel rates offered on competing sites showed that AAA.com offered the lowest rate available 66 percent of the time.

Car rental discounts

As the exclusive car rental partner of AAA, Hertz offers members a wide variety of money-saving discounts and exclusive offers. AAA member benefits include the guaranteed best rate available at time of reservation by booking channel; reduced rate for NeverLost®GPS, Hertz’s customized on-board navigational system, a discount on Hertz prepaid rates, a discount on the Fuel Purchase Option, no charge for additional qualified AAA drivers, free use of a child safety seat and more.

Attraction Tickets

AAA offers discounts at some of the most popular attractions for a summer getaway including Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld, Six Flags, Sesame Place and many other great places. Visit a AAA office at home or at your destination for additional AAA area discounts.

Discounts are also available to members to help prepare for travel. If you are heading out of town and can’t take your pet, check out great savings from Fetch! Pet Care. Need sunscreen, sunglasses or other summer gear? Check out AAA’s shopping discounts at partners such as Target.com, Kmart.com, Sunglass Hut and more. Visit AAA.com/discounts for a complete list of retailers and offers.

Finding discounts on the road has never been easier. Apple iPhone users can easily find their way to AAA member savings this summer by downloading a free application, AAA Discounts. The GPS-based “app” displays more than 110,000 retail locations of AAA Show Your Card & Save® partners near user locations.

Last year, members saved more than $2 billion by taking advantage of AAA discounts including those available through the Show Your Card & Save® program. AAA’s Show Your Card & Save program is the largest member discount program in the world offering more than 164,000 locations for savings worldwide including 110,000 retail locations in North America and popular online retailers.

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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