Posts Tagged ‘Travel Planning’

Travel times could be more than three times longer over the holiday week

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 16, 2017) – AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year. The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. AAA and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predict travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip.

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“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.”

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

By the Numbers: 2017 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast

  • Road trip ready: 89 percent of all travelers – 45.5 million – are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
  • Cheaper airfare: Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.
  • Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at five percent, with 3.95 million travelers.
  • Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.
  • Fueling up: Drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014.
  • Holiday high: Car rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day, which may be due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles.

Travelers still hitting the road despite higher gas prices
While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014, the vast majority of holiday travelers (89.3 percent) are still planning to hit the road. Automobile travel will grow by 3.2 percent this Thanksgiving, with 45.5 million Americans planning a holiday road trip. This November’s national average price is $2.54, which is 37 cents more than last November (1st-14th).

Highs and Lows: Car rentals, airfare and hotel rates

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay the lowest average in five years for a round-trip flight for the top 40 domestic routes. At $157, on average, that is a 23 percent fare drop year-over-year.

Travelers can expect to spend any ‘flight savings’ on car rentals. At $70/day, the daily car rental average is 34 percent more than last year and the highest rate for Thanksgiving weekend since 2013. The increase in rates may be attributed to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles in the fleets with added features and benefits.

Travelers will pay more for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels this holiday weekend. The average price increased by 14 percent to $176/night. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Two Diamond Rated hotels has decreased five percent with an average nightly cost of $117.

Travelers Beware and Advised: Traffic Hotspots and Best and Worst Times to Hit the Road

Based on historical and recent travel trends for the holiday week, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion during the early evening – as early as Tuesday of Thanksgiving week – as commuters mix with holiday travelers. At its peak, drivers on Chicago’s interstates, for example, could see a delay of nearly 300 percent over the optimal trip.

“Thanksgiving has historically been one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year we could see record-level travel delays,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

Worst Time to Travel
Metro Area Worst Day

 for Travel

Worst Time

for Travel

Delay Multiplier
Chicago, IL Tuesday 5:00 – 6:00 PM 3x
San Francisco, CA Tuesday 4:00 – 5:45 PM 2.5X
Los Angeles, CA Tuesday 3:15 – 6:00 PM 2.5x
Boston, MA Tuesday 5:15 – 7:15 PM 2.5x
New York, NY Tuesday 5:30 – 6:30 PM 2x
Washington, DC Tuesday 4:45 – 6:00 PM 2x
Seattle, WA Tuesday 3:45 – 5:30 PM 2x
Atlanta, GA Wednesday 3:00 – 5:15 PM 2x
Houston, TX Wednesday 5:45 – 7:00 PM 1x
Detroit, MI Tuesday 3:00 – 5:30 PM 1x

The worst traffic hotspot during Thanksgiving week in each of the 10 most congested cities in the U.S. are:

Top Traffic Hotspot in America’s Most Congested Cities
Rank City Location
1 Los Angeles, CA I-5 S at Valley View Ave
2 New York, NY I-495 E at NY-106/NY-107
3 San Francisco, CA I-80 E at Pinole Valley Rd
4 Atlanta, GA I-75 N at Chastain Rd
5 Miami, FL I-95 N at Congress Ave
6 Washington, DC I-95 S at US-17/US-1
7 Dallas, TX US-75 S at I-45/I-3
8 Boston, MA I-90 W at I-84/US-20
9 Chicago, IL I-90 W at I-190
10 Seattle, WA I-405 S at WA-167

Across the country, travelers that take to the sky must account for long security lines, but also increased drive times to the airport. AAA and INRIX expect delays getting to the nation’s busiest airports could be as long as an hour.

Worst Travel Times to America’s Busiest Airports
Metro Area Airport Route Worst Time

for Travel

Travel Time

at Peak

New York, NY Downtown to JFK via Long Island Expressway East Tuesday,
5:30 – 7:30 PM
1 hr 54 min
Chicago, IL Downtown to ORD via Kennedy Expressway West Tuesday,
4:30 – 5:30 PM
1 hr 14 min
Denver, CO Downtown to DIA via I-70 E and Pena Blvd Wednesday,
4:30 – 6:30 PM
52 min
Los Angeles, CA Downtown to LAX via I-110 S Tuesday,
4:30 – 6:30 PM
46 min
Dallas, TX Downtown to DFW via TX-183 W Wednesday,
8:00 – 9:00 AM
46 min
Las Vegas, NV Downtown to LAS via I-15 S Wednesday,
8:00 – 9:00 AM
45 min
San Francisco, CA Downtown to SFO via US-101 S Tuesday,
5:00 – 7:00 PM
29 min
Seattle, WA Downtown to SEA via I-5 S Tuesday,
3:00 – 5:00 PM
29 min
Charlotte, NC Downtown to CLT via US-74 W Wednesday,
1:00 – 3:00 PM
19 min
Atlanta, GA Downtown to ALT via I-75 S Wednesday,
5:00 – 7:00 PM
12 min

Top 10 Thanksgiving Destinations
Many travelers will seek theme-park and warm-weather destinations this Thanksgiving. Both Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, top this year’s top 10 holiday destinations based on AAA.com bookings. Compared to previous years, New York City, Las Vegas and San Francisco are gaining popularity as holiday spots.  

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Anaheim, California
  3. New York City, New York
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada
  6. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  7. Cancun, Mexico
  8. San Francisco, California
  9. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii
  10. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

According to Hertz, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers planning to rent a car this Thanksgiving are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Las Vegas (LAS) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Wednesday, Nov. 22, with an average rental length of nearly five full days, as travelers look to take advantage of the long holiday weekend.

Lockouts, flat tires to strand 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving
AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. AAA recommends motorists have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the more than 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway
Before setting out for the long Thanksgiving weekend, 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, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Inspected & Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

About the AAA travel forecast:
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2017 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast is available here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides nearly 58 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.

About INRIX:
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.

Heather HunterOverall value is top priority for most travelers when selecting a hotel

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2013) – Selecting a hotel can be an overwhelming task. On vacation your hotel is your home away from home and base of operations.  The right hotel enhances your vacation experience, while the wrong choice can lead to unexpected expenses, inconvenience and frustration. The first step to selecting the perfect hotel for your next trip is determining what is most important to you and your travel companions.

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“Every traveler and every trip is just as varied as the lodging options available,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “Whether you are looking for a weekend getaway, an oceanfront room or a hotel with activities for kids, the right hotel will enhance your vacation experience. A little research goes a long way in successful vacation planning.”

AAA provides travelers with travel booking services and all the travel information needed to make informed decisions. A reservation through AAA can be made using the AAA mobile app, online at AAA.com, by calling a AAA Travel Agent or by stopping by one of the more than 1,000 branch locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Look Beyond the Price Per Night for Best Value

Whether travelers are looking for a budget motel or luxury beach-front resort, they want to be sure they are getting the best property within their budget.  In a recent AAA survey, 85 percent of respondents cited overall value for money as the top consideration for choosing a hotel. Value was cited as an important consideration for all income levels. Eighty-seven percent of respondents with annual household incomes above $100,000 and 84 percent of respondents with annual household incomes below $35,000 selected overall value as a priority, illustrating that no matter the cost or level of the hotel selected, value is key.

AAA Travel also recommends travelers look beyond the price. At AAA.com travelers can examine prices and compare hotels of similar Diamond Ratings. Be sure to investigate fees that are not included in the price such as resort fees or parking charges. Check what facilities are available at the property which will enhance your stay such as a pool, arcade or children’s programs that could save money on entertainment expenses. Be sure to take advantage of any discounts available to you such as AAA discounts available to members at partner hotels.

While expanding the geographic search for a hotel can lower a hotel bill, convenience to attractions or activities is important to 73 percent of respondents when selecting a hotel.  AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner, which is available free at AAA.com, allows travelers to search and book hotels near points of interest.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch Unless it is Stated

Added benefits such as free breakfast (63 percent) and free hi-speed Wi-Fi (51 percent) also ranked as very high considerations when choosing a hotel. Free Wi-Fi is even more important to younger travelers with 71 percent of respondents age 18-34 saying free, high-speed Wi-Fi is a top consideration when choosing a hotel. Wi-Fi access for a family can add a substantial cost when the kids bring along their laptops, tablets and smartphones, while a free breakfast for every travel companion can lower overall vacation costs.  Be sure to check what extra value your hotel choice offers.
Travelers Going Green

Nearly half (48 percent) of women and 18-34 year-olds surveyed said they seek environmentally-friendly programs when selecting a hotel. 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.

Research Reward Programs and Pet Policies

Frequent travel programs or points are important to more than one-third (35 percent) of all respondents. Other considerations for selecting a hotel involve the personal needs of travelers including is the hotel pet-friendly (29 percent), does it have a spa (23 percent) or does it have a children’s program (23 percent).

Nearly half (47 percent) of all people with children under age 13 consider a children’s program when booking a hotel.

Showing your loyalty can result in extra savings or free nights on future trips. Consider signing up for a hotel’s reward program from your first stay. Even if you do not plan on staying long enough to earn a free room, some chains offer benefits to participants in loyalty programs right away. Keep your loyalty numbers organized and use them every time you book. Some loyalty programs with AAA partner hotels offer additional benefits to AAA members – be sure to check for details at AAA.com/Travel.

For those travelers who like to bring Fluffy or Fido on the family vacation Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook is a great resource.   Available in print and digital versions, The AAA PetBook is updated annually and features more than 14,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and campgrounds that are pet friendly.  Also, this on-the-road guide offers the locations of dog parks and emergency vet clinics, as well as other pet travel advice.

Travelers with pets in tow check should check with the hotel in advance of their stay to confirm pet policies and the cost related to bring your best friend along. Price can vary greatly and some hotels charge a pet fee by the night or one fee for the entire stay. Also ask if there are size or breed limitations and the rules for leaving your pet alone in the room.  The AAA PetBook also includes tips for bringing your pet on vacation. For more information visit http://www.AAA.com/PetBook.

The results of the survey show that Americans expect value and also desire convenience. The assistance of a qualified travel advisor, such as a AAA Travel Agent can help consumers plan the perfect getaway that meets their needs without the frustration of planning. For more information visit www.AAA.com/Travel.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, February 18, 2010

The most memorable of occasions can be even more spectacular by talking to a travel agent before fixing a date and location.

Cynthia BroughContemplating future nuptials should talk to a travel agent before the wedding dress is ordered and the band is booked, AAA’s travel experts say. That’s because the complications and expense of a wedding can be better managed by selecting a honeymoon trip first, or even incorporating the wedding into the honeymoon itself.

“Whether you are planning to cruise, tour or just escape to an isolated dream destination, it is important to realize the costs and availability of certain trips can vary by season, trip-provider, the size of the party and even the day of the week,” said Glen MacDonell, director, AAA Travel Services.

“Ideally, couples should make sure their choice of a date and wedding location will be in harmony with their honeymoon vacation plans. By talking to a travel agent first, you increase the odds of being able to leave when you want to, experience everything you had planned, and pay a price that fits within the overall wedding budget,” he said.

Consider making the wedding part of the trip itself by either tying the knot at your dream destination, while cruising or at a port just prior to departure.

“Since many weddings frequently involve travel for invited guests, the betrothed may want to consider holding their wedding at a location that appeals to everyone. This can be a chapel in a themed resort, in the ballroom of a luxury hotel, or on board a cruise ship. With ships sailing from a variety of ports including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, Baltimore, Norfolk, Jacksonville, New Orleans and Galveston, as well as Cocoa Beach (near Orlando), Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa it may be easier than you think to bring the wedding party with you, or arrange an exchange of vows just prior to sailing,” MacDonell said.

AAA, which operates the largest full service leisure travel agency network in North America, is able to provide unmatched access to the travel industry’s leading cruise, tour and lodging companies. Their services are available to everyone, although members are frequently entitled to special services and benefits. Most of AAA’s travel partners cater to newlyweds and honeymooners with special packages and services designed to elevate their experience. “If you’re dream wedding doesn’t include worrying right up to the last minute about flowers, table settings, music, food, beverages and the comfort of your guests, then a conversation with one of our travel agents is definitely in order,” MacDonell said. “Keep in mind, most luxury hotels, some tour companies and nearly all cruise ships have experienced staff dedicated to wedding events. They are there to handle most of the details and will work with you, and the future in-laws if you wish, to make sure there are no surprises.

A few examples of AAA travel partners that can help make dream weddings and honeymoons come true via AAA’s travel agency network include:

  • David’s Bridal, specializing in wedding and honeymoon vacations arranged via Travel Impressions, offers travel packages that will appeal to honeymooners in many corners of the globe. Newlyweds can select from dozens of specials on travel to Europe, South America, the Caribbean, Central America, Hawaii, and the South Pacific. Fabulous destination weddings can be arranged in affordable and easily-reached locations such as Jamaica, Costa Rica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Ask a AAA travel agent about destination weddings at Paradisus Resorts, Breezes or one of their many honeymoon specials.
  • Pleasant Holidays, offering honeymoon packages to destinations including Maui, Jamaica, Fiji, Tahiti, Dominican Republic and Mexico. All-inclusive, 3-day trips to Mexico that include air fare cost as little as $359 per person. Five nights in Tahiti, including air, inter-island transportation and daily breakfast cost $1,589 per person. To make planning as easy as possible, ask a AAA Travel Agent about the Pleasant Holidays Weddings Travel Desk.
  • The Royal Romance Wedding Coordinators of Royal Caribbean International are ready to assist couples with planning shipboard weddings while in port prior to departure or at many destinations. Weddings can also be performed on shore in some locations. Royal Caribbean can also help non-sailing guests obtain hotel accommodations at some ports. Couples can relax knowing all professional services such as photographers, entertainment, cakes, beverages, and fresh flowers are included.
  • Princess Cruises launched its historic seagoing weddings program in 1998. Until then, it had been a common misperception that any ship captain could join couples in matrimony, but in truth no such ceremony had been performed aboard a major cruise ship. Today, Princess’ “Tie the Knot” wedding program offers at-sea ceremonies in special wedding chapels on all of its ships, as well as weddings ashore at select ports of call, including locations in Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe. The program offers the convenience of an all-inclusive wedding and honeymoon in one customizable packaged starting at $1,800 for the ceremony and $450 for registration and license fees.
  • Disney is renowned for making dreams come true, and when it comes to weddings and honeymoons, their imagination knows no boundaries. Whether you envision a fairy tale exchange of vows in one of their fabulous gardens or magnificent resort hotels in California or Florida, aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship, or on the beach of Disney’s private island, Disney’s wedding planning experts will guide you every step of the way. To make it easier to pay for a Disney wedding, couples can sign up for the Disney Honeymoon Registry.

Romantic travel doesn’t have to begin with weddings or end with honeymoons. AAA’s travel partners can also help with engagement ceremonies, bachelor and bachelorette parties, vow renewals and special anniversary celebrations. For information on any of these activities, visit your nearest AAA’s travel agency network or go to AAA.com.

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, Fla., June 4, 2009

Great rates, custom maps, customer service, expert travel information and more make AAA.com a one-stop travel planning website  

As millions of Americans carefully plan and budget their summer vacations, AAA.com has a new look and an easier way to find the travel information and savings needed to research and book a complete vacation. Along with in-depth travel information, the site features great rates, user-friendly online mapping tools, and simple planning and booking tools. Offering the best of both worlds, AAA.com offers users 24/7 access to all of AAA’s online products and services backed by the reliability and customer service of AAA’s Travel professionals.

To access AAA’s travel planning tools and savings visit the travel section of AAA.com or visit AAA.com/Travel for direct access. Some of the convenient planning tools and information available on AAA.com include:

Great rates: AAA members who visit AAA.com to book a hotel room are more likely to find better rates than on other travel websites 67 percent of the time. Users can also search AAA.com for the best prices and AAA member benefits on cruises, vacation packages, flights and car rentals.

Maps and directions: Planning a summer road trip? The TripTik® Travel Planner can create routing itineraries and custom maps that include Diamond Rated lodgings and restaurants, recommended attractions, and Show Your Card & Save® locations where members can receive discounts. AAA’s popular online mapping tool even helps users avoid traffic by displaying historic congestion information and offering an easy-to-use route modification tool. AAA has in-vehicle navigation and travel information solutions as well, including AAA Mobile® Navigator and AAA content available via select Magellan GPS systems.

Travel information: Not sure where to go or where to stay? Read detailed destination information and “AAA Pick’s” from AAA experts in the “Travel Guide” section and use AAA’s Diamond Ratings to find lodgings and restaurants at your destination or along your route. Most destinations have properties that range from budget to deluxe. AAA TourBook® listings, also available at AAA.com, include Diamond Ratings for more than 58,000 AAA Approved restaurants and lodgings. All properties are rated on a scale of One to Five Diamonds, allowing travelers to easily identify properties that fit their needs and budgets.

No time for planning? Check out AAA Drive Trips®, AAA’s expert-created, ready-to-go itineraries for popular destinations.

Additional Savings: Save money by finding the least expensive gas available. The TripTik Travel Planner also features current fuel prices at over 100,000 U.S. gas stations, including E-85 fuel availability. At a time when saving money is more important than ever, AAA members can also find AAA Show Your Card & Save® locations to take advantage of discounts at attractions, restaurants, automotive centers, retailers and more across the U.S. and Canada.

Travelers will find AAA.com a useful tool whether they need quick maps and local driving directions or complete travel planning tools and destination information. Visit AAA.com/Travel for more information and current rates.

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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