Posts Tagged ‘Travel Tips’

Julie HallPopular European cities and sun destinations top list

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 30, 2015) – Whether travelers are planning an off-season trip this fall, a memorable holiday getaway, or a dream summer vacation, now is an ideal time to plan an international vacation, according to the experts at AAA Travel. In addition to warm-weather destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, European cities top AAA’s list of the most popular international travel destinations.

AAA’s top destinations for international travel through July 2016, are:

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

 

Additional Resources

“Travelers heading to Europe will enjoy favorable currency exchange rates, making now an excellent time to plan a trip overseas,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Senior Vice President of Travel and Publishing. “Unique experiences such as river cruising are incredibly popular as well, as travelers look for opportunities to immerse themselves in a destination’s local culture while enjoying a hassle-free vacation experience abroad.”

AAA travel agents offer their top tips for international travelers:

  • Plan ahead to make sure travel plans are not delayed by the passport application process. It can take up to six weeks to get a new passport, so allow plenty of time to secure the necessary documents. Some countries require that a traveler’s passport be valid for at least six months beyond the dates of the trip. Passport photos can be obtained at select local AAA offices.
  • For travelers planning to drive overseas, an International Driving Permit (IDP) may be required.  Many countries do not recognize U.S. driver’s licenses without an accompanying IDP, and it is illegal to drive without a valid license and insurance in most places. Even for those not planning to drive internationally, an IDP is recommended to serve as an additional source of identification. AAA is one of only two private entities in the U.S. authorized by the Department of State to issue IDPs.
  • Refer to the U.S. Department of State’s current list of travel advisories and register all international travel plans with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling in STEP, U.S. travelers make it easier for the local embassy or consulate to contact them in case of an emergency.
  • Travelers should notify their bank and credit card companies’ fraud departments before traveling internationally to let them know what countries the card will be used in to avoid service interruptions. Use a chip-embedded credit card with EMV technology, a more secure system being adopted in the U.S. that is already widely used throughout Europe.
  • For travelers planning to post about their trips on social media or for those who want a convenient way to stay in touch with loved ones while traveling, subscribe to an international data plan with your current cell phone company or a local provider.
  • When traveling internationally, avoid exchanging foreign currency at the airport or train station as kiosks there often charge high exchange rates or service fees. Check with a travel agent or bank to exchange currencies before an international vacation.
  • Through reciprocal arrangements with motor clubs around the world, AAA members can benefit from services such as travel discounts, travel information and roadside assistance when traveling in many foreign countries. Click here for more information on available services and contact information by country.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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.

Additional Resources

“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 3, 2010

Spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment Spring trips sound exciting, but doing your travel homework will help you ace Vacations 101, AAA says

Heather HunterA challenging economy is expected to alter the travel migration patterns for students and families traveling during this year’s Spring Break—typically defined as the week prior to and after Easter Sunday, AAA’s travel experts say.

“The numbers of those traveling during Spring Break are likely to be somewhat less than the numbers seen before the economic downturn. Domestic destinations that are viewed as less-expensive are likely to pull business from some international Spring Break hotspots, making them just as crowded or even more so,” said Glen MacDonell, director of AAA Travel. “Overall, locations that are easy to get to and offer discount pricing or an all-inclusive experience are likely to be the most popular, just as they have been throughout this economic cycle.”

“Because of these factors, doing your travel research and booking early will be essential to getting the spring vacation you really want. Travelers who are willing to look beyond the obvious ‘college beach towns’ may be able to find deals and discounts not normally associated with the Spring Break season. This is because the all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean will be competing even harder to lure budget-conscious students away from home this year,” he said.

Consider Spring Break at Walt Disney World where there is something new around every corner

For those looking for something closer to home, but definitely beyond the usual, AAA suggests Spring Breakers consider a vacation at the Walt Disney World® Resort.

  • Thrill-seekers will find new experiences both within and beyond all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks—from Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, to CyberSpace Mountain at DisneyQuest® Indoor Interactive Theme Park (Downtown Disney®) and the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
  • The world’s two most popular water parks—Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach—are both situated in the heart of the Walt Disney World® Resort. The nation’s largest, fastest water slide—Summit Plummet—resides at Disney’s Blizzard Beach (with speeds of up to 55 mph); and at Typhoon Lagoon, some of the world’s largest man-made waves are pumped out every 90 seconds in the 2.5 acre wave pool. Springtime temperatures in central Florida should be ideal for this type of experience.
  • Staying at a Disney resort can further the experience by adding to the convenience and value; Disney’s Pop Century Resort is fantastic for budget-minded guests looking not to skimp on the Disney resort experience; and with complimentary transportation, extra hours in the parks, bottomless mugs and the Disney Dining Plan, there is no better way to see Walt Disney World® Resort.
  • College Students looking to “see the world” can visit 11 distinct nations spanning the globe—all while leaving their passport at home, thanks to The World Showcase at Epcot®. Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Morocco, Mexico and more await guests with local fare, drink and atmosphere. And it doesn’t hurt that a walk from, say, Germany to Italy, is a brisk five minutes.
  • As for nighttime excursions, Downtown Disney® West Side and Disney’s BoardWalk feature dozens of entertainment venues, including a tethered-balloon experience, Cirque du Soleil, an ESPN Club and a 24-theater movie complex.

AAA, which operates the largest full-service leisure travel agency network in North America, is able to provide access to unmatched travel values through AAA Vacations® packages to the Walt Disney World® Resort exclusively available through AAA Travel. Some of the many package benefits include convenient preferred parking spaces at all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, Disney’s Story Time Experience—A special storytelling experience which features a character from a classic Disney animated feature film and a special VIP Viewing location to watch the Magic Kingdom Day Parade.

Other AAA travel partners, such as Contiki Vacations, specialize in package travel for younger adult vacationers to Europe, Asia and the Pacific. AAA partners Pleasant Holidays and Travel Impressions also offer outstanding vacation packages to Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii.

Spring Break is a great time for families to travel too, and cruising is an ideal way to go.

The college crowd won’t be the only ones traveling in large numbers this March and April. Families with children also use the occasion of school vacations to get up and go, although they are typically looking for somewhat tamer pursuits. While AAA’s travel experts still advise family travelers to look into a Florida or California theme park destination, they should also contemplate cruising as an ideal way to keep everyone entertained and on a budget.

“With many cruise ships home-ported around the United States, you can escape to the sea without ever stepping foot on an airplane. Cruise ports like New York City, Baltimore, Jacksonville, New Orleans and Galveston make it convenient for families to drive to a cruise instead of enduring the hassle of flying,” MacDonell said.

“Once onboard, you will be able to relax or start the party as the mood strikes you. And with destinations such as Mexico; the U.S. Virgin Islands and The Bahamas nearby, you can be worlds away from both classes and careers overnight,” he said.

It is important to note that there must be an adult aged 21 or older in each cabin.

AAA has partnerships with many of the major cruise operators, including Royal Caribbean International, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruises that provide members special savings and exclusive benefits for AAA members. AAA travel agents can provide up-to-the-minute information on prices, benefits and itineraries.

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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