Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

AAA Honors Top Hotels for Cleanliness and Condition

July 31st, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping Award Showcases the Best and Brightest Among 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved Hotels

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 31, 2019) – AAA’s new Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award recognizes AAA Inspected & Approved hotels that receive the highest possible cleanliness and condition scores, giving travelers another important indication of what it means to be a AAA top-rated hotel in North America.

Additional Resources

While every hotel must meet expected standards of cleanliness and condition to qualify as AAA Inspected & Approved and receive a Diamond Rating, hotels awarded the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping designation significantly surpass expectations, as measured during a comprehensive, on-site inspection. All areas of the property must reflect this very high standard as AAA inspectors review for evidence of dirt, dust, pests, equipment performance and more.

“AAA has found that cleanliness and physical condition are consistently among the most important components travelers consider when looking for a hotel. This new designation identifies hotels with exceptional practices,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “The vast majority of AAA Inspected & Approved hotels fall in the midscale, Three Diamond range, so those that earn the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping badge are a step above in a way that matters to today’s discerning traveler.”

A hotel’s housekeeping and maintenance attributes are among the most rigorous components analyzed during the unannounced evaluation conducted annually by AAA’s professionally trained inspectors. All AAA Inspected & Approved hotels at all Diamond Rating levels, throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, may qualify for the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping designation.

“In addition to passing AAA’s rigorous on-site inspection, the properties that have received the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award have demonstrated a tremendous commitment to keeping their property in top condition – whether that be a small inn or bed-and-breakfast, a sprawling resort or a skyscraping city hotel – at all times for our members and their guests,” continued Petrone.

Properties must demonstrate housekeeping excellence for two consecutive inspections and be free of AAA member complaints to meet the criteria for this award, which puts them in the top 25% of all 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels.

AAA’s professional inspectors evaluate and rate properties year-round, so the total number of properties to achieve the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award varies throughout the year. (All figures listed below are as of July 19, 2019.)

States with the Most AAA Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping Hotels

  1. California (982)
  2. Florida (485)
  3. Texas (468)
  4. North Carolina (458)
  5. New York (406)
  6. Virginia (328)
  7. Pennsylvania (281)
  8. Tennessee (268)
  9. Maryland (238)
  10. Massachusetts (215)

Cities with the Most AAA Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping Hotels

  1. New York, New York (161)
  2. Houston, Texas (90)
  3. Washington, D.C. (78)
  4. Orlando, Florida (69)
  5. Charlotte, North Carolina (68)
  6. Austin, Texas (63)
  7. Nashville, Tennessee (61)
  8. San Diego, California (60)
  9. Anaheim, California (50)
  10. San Antonio, Texas (49)

To find AAA Inspected & Approved hotels that have earned the 2019 AAA Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award, visit the AAA Travel Guides or TripTik Travel Planner.

Hotels that receive the award are eligible to license the 2019 AAA Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping badge and market the accolade everywhere they promote their hotel. For more information, properties can visit AAA.biz/Housekeeping.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Nearly 2 million more travelers than last year planning July 4 getaways, according to AAA

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 25, 2019) – More Americans than ever recorded by AAA, nearly 49 million, are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year. (AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.) Overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1% over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday. For the record-high 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, with Wednesday, July 3 the worst day on the roads.

Additional Resources

In addition to lower gas prices compared with last summer, broader economic fundamentals remain strong. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending, and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer.

“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast to coast are eager to travel.”

Independence Day holiday travel, by mode

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 41.4 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 4.3% more than last year.
  • Planes: 3.96 million people will take to the skies, the highest number on record and 5.3% more than last year.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 0.6% to 3.55 million passengers.

Record-level drivers equals record-level delays

For the 41.4 million Americans traveling by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Wednesday, July 3 as commuters mix with holiday travelers. In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute. Nationwide, delays are expected to increase by approximately 9%.

“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, hands down, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to be on the road.”

 

Region Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier
Atlanta Friday, July 5 5:00 – 7:00 PM 2.5x
Boston Friday, July 5 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 3.4x
Chicago Friday, July 5 1:00 – 3:00 PM 2x
Detroit Wednesday, July 3 2:00 – 4:00 PM 2x
Houston Thursday, July 4 1:00 – 3:00 PM 3x
Los Angeles Wednesday, July 3 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM 2.7x
New York Wednesday, July 3 1:45 – 3:45 PM 3.8x
San Francisco Wednesday, July 3 1:30 – 2:30 PM 2.5x
Seattle Thursday, July 4 12:00 – 2:00 PM 3x
Washington, DC Sunday, July 7 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM 2.4x

 

Lower gas prices motivating millions of road trippers

With today’s national average of $2.66, gas prices are 19 cents less year-over-year and expected to drop even lower into the summer. This is motivating record numbers of travelers to take road trips for the holiday weekend.

“Gas prices are, on average, 17 cents cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, which is welcome news for motorists hitting the road to celebrate the July Fourth holiday,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”

Travelers paying more for July 4 car rentals and airfares

Some of the savings travelers are enjoying from lower gas prices will go toward other travel costs this holiday, which are trending higher. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10% more expensive compared with last Independence Day, while average car rental rates are 5% higher than last year, at $69 daily. Meanwhile, midrange accommodations are expected to cost travelers between $153 for AAA Two Diamond and $189 for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels.

Top Independence Day travel destinations
Fun-in-the-sun locales like Orlando and Honolulu lead the top 10 the list of popular destinations for American travelers this Independence Day, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Seattle, Washington
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  5. Anaheim, California
  6. New York, New York
  7. Boston, Massachusetts
  8. Maui, Hawaii
  9. Anchorage, Alaska
  10. Chicago, Illinois

For those travelers planning an international vacation, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular spots for international vacations this Independence Day, with Vancouver, Canada — a top departure port for Alaskan cruises — rounding out the top five.

According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Independence Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS) and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Wednesday, July 3.

AAA to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists
AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Additionally, before hitting the road, motorists need to be prepared for emergencies by taking along a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

AAA reminds travelers that it’s not too late to plan an Independence Day trip. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.

Methodology:

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7. In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2019 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit 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.

AAA forecasts the most holiday road trippers on record; INRIX predicts drive times could be more than three times longer than normal

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 15, 2019) – Nearly 43 million Americans will start their summers on a high note with a Memorial Day weekend getaway. This long holiday weekend, marking the unofficial start of summer vacation season, will see the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes dating back to 2000, trailing only the bar set in 2005. Overall, an additional 1.5 million more people will take to the nation’s roads, rails and runways compared with last year, a 3.6% increase.

Additional Resources

Despite a rising national gas price average that is inching closer to the $3 per gallon mark, the vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations. For these motorists, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be more than three times longer than normal during evening commutes.

“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and expensive gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”

By the numbers: 2019 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 37.6 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 3.5% more than last year.
  • Planes: 3.25 million people will take to the skies, 4.8% more than last year, second only to 2005.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 3.8% to 1.9 million passengers.

Drivers beware: Worst times to hit the road

For the 37.6 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip, while New Yorkers and Washington, D.C., could see three times the delay.

“Drivers in the most congested metros should expect much worse conditions than normal,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst, INRIX. “Travelers should anticipate delays to start on Wednesday and continue through Memorial Day. Our advice to drivers is to avoid the morning and evening commuting times or plan alternate routes.”

 

Metro Area Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip
Atlanta Thursday, May 23 4:30 – 6:30 PM 2.2x
Boston Monday, May 27 3:45 – 5:45 PM 3.0x
Chicago Friday, May 24 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.6x
Detroit Friday, May 24 2:30 – 4:30 PM 1.7x
Houston Sunday, May 26 2:15 – 4:15 PM 1.0x
Los Angeles Friday, May 24 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.0x
New York Thursday, May 23 4:45 – 6:45 PM 2.0x
San Francisco Saturday, May 25 1:00 – 3:00 PM 1.6x
Seattle Monday, May 27 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.0x
Washington, D.C. Monday, May 27 3:45 – 5:45 PM 3.0x
      Source: INRIX

Higher gas prices won’t keep holiday travelers home
Gas prices have increased by more than 30 cents in the last two months with the national average approaching $3 per gallon ($2.86 on May 14, 2019), which is relatively on par with prices this time last year ($2.87 on May 14, 2018). However, 88% of travelers will choose to drive to their Memorial Day destinations this year, the most on record.

“When gas prices are expensive, travelers may shorten the distance of a road trip, eat out less or look for free activities,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “But, overall, prices are very similar to this time last year and, like then, they aren’t letting that deter them from taking summer road trips.”

Travelers to see relief in lower hotel and car rental costs

While road trippers are paying more to fill up their vehicles at the gas pump, some of that additional expense can be made up with lower prices on car rentals and hotels this Memorial Day. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, car rental prices have declined 7% compared with last year, with an average daily rate of $55. Mid-range hotels are between 2% and 3% cheaper this year, with an average nightly rate of $146 and $183, respectively, for AAA Two and Three Diamond Rated properties. Meanwhile, airfares are holding steady compared with last Memorial Day, for an average roundtrip price of $171.

Top Memorial Day travel destinations
Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas can expect an influx of travelers for the holiday. These are the top destinations in the U.S. this Memorial Day weekend, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. New York, New York
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. Anaheim, California
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Anchorage, Alaska
  9. Tampa, Florida
  10. San Francisco, California

For those travelers planning an international vacation for Memorial Day, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular locales for international vacations this Memorial Day weekend, with Vancouver, Canada, rounding out the top five.

According to Hertz, a more than 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Memorial Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS), and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Friday, May 24, with an average rental length of nearly five days, as travelers look to take advantage of the long holiday weekend.

AAA to rescue more than 353,000 motorists
AAA expects to be called on to rescue more than 353,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

AAA recommends motorist take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Be prepared for emergencies with a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

Methodology:

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27. In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2019 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit 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.

Theme Parks, European Vacations Top Summer Travel Itineraries

April 11th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Majority of U.S. travelers planning a summer getaway

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 11, 2019) – According to a recent AAA Travel survey, two-thirds of leisure travelers (64 percent) plan to take vacations this summer. Many of those vacationers will head to historical European cities or soak up the sun in Orlando’s theme parks and attractions, according to an analysis of AAA’s travel booking data.

“Millions of Americans are making plans for summer vacations, visiting famous landmarks in Europe, family attractions stateside, and anything in between,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “AAA recommends travelers plan ahead and book early with the expertise of a knowledgeable travel agent to maximize your vacation experience, saving time and money so you can focus on making vacation memories that will last well after summer fades away.”

Additional Resources

Top Summer Travel Destinations

These are the top summer travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for trips June 1 through August 15, 2019:

 
  1. Orlando, Florida (1)
  2. London, England (5)
  3. Rome, Italy (2)
  4. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (3)
  5. Dublin, Ireland (4)
  6. Paris, France (7)
  7. Seattle, Washington (9)
  8. Anchorage, Alaska (8)
  9. Honolulu, Hawaii (6)
  10. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (12)

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2018 ranking.

Top trends for summer travel this year include:

  • Orlando, Florida, once again claims the top spot as the most-visited summer travel destination. The city’s world-famous theme parks are a top draw for families, as Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World prepare to unveil new attractions this summer.
  • Europe is a bucket list destination for many Americans, and this summer is no exception. London has grown in popularity compared with last year, while Rome, Dublin and Paris continue to be hot spots for top summer travel destinations.
  • Alaskan cruises are a top vacation choice for summer travelers this year, with Vancouver, Seattle and Anchorage topping the list of embarkation ports for these coveted sailings.
  • After a harsh winter, many Americans will flock to warm-weather destinations, particularly those in Hawaii and the Caribbean. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, has once again cracked the top 10 after briefly dipping off last year’s list.

“These top locales are sure to see an influx of travelers this summer, but some people will be looking for great vacation spots with slightly fewer crowds,” continued Twidale. “Other destinations to watch this year that didn’t quite make the top 10 list include Montego Bay, Jamaica; Calgary, Canada; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Anaheim, California.”

Be Road Trip Ready

While many travelers will tour Europe, take cruises, visit theme parks and soak up the sun in Hawaii or the Caribbean, road trips remain a top choice for many families this summer. AAA expects to be called on to rescue nearly 8 million Americans at the roadside this summer season, with the top reasons being flat tires, lockouts and dead batteries. AAA Automotive experts recommend these car care tips to prepare your vehicle for a summer road trip:

  • Tires – Make sure to inflate tires to the recommended pressure listed in the owner’s manual or on the driver-side doorjamb. To check tread wear, insert a quarter upside down; if the top of George Washington’s head is visible at any point, it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
  • Brakes – Inspect the brake system for fluid leaks, and check all components for wear at every oil change and whenever there are signs of a potential problem. Pay attention to any brake warning indicators on your car’s instrument panel, or any grinding or scraping noises when applying the brakes.
  • Battery – After three years, have your battery tested to determine remaining capacity. In many areas, AAA members can have a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician come to their home or work to perform a free battery test and install a new battery on site if needed.
  • Fluids – Change the oil at the intervals specified by the vehicle manufacturer and use an oil that meets the vehicle’s factory specifications. Also, check the engine coolant and brake, transmission, and power steering fluids.

Regardless of destination, travelers can look to AAA for assistance planning and booking unforgettable vacations this summer. For more information, visit AAA.com/Travel.  

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Road trips reign supreme for family getaways

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 21, 2019) – From coast to coast, families are gearing up for another year of exciting travel adventures with their loved ones. According to a recent AAA Travel survey, nearly 100 million Americans – 4 in 10 U.S. adults – are planning to take a family vacation in 2019, slightly more than last year. Spring and summer road trips will top many of these families’ vacation plans.

  • Two-thirds of all family travelers (68 percent) will embark on a summer getaway, while just under half (45 percent) are making plans to travel as a family this spring.
  • Regardless of the season, the great American road trip remains a major draw for these families; about half of traveling families (53 percent) expect to pack up their cars for a road trip this year.
  • Travelers in the South are more likely to be making plans for a family trip this year (62 percent) than travelers in the Northeast (35 percent).

Additional Resources

A welcome gift to road trippers, gas prices have averaged nearly a quarter cheaper so far in 2019 compared with the first few months of last year. While gas prices are increasing now, summer prices are expected to be cheaper than last year. Another recent AAA survey found that 33 percent of Americans would go on at least one additional summer road trip if gas prices remain low.

“The great American road trip is still one of the best ways for families to relax and reconnect with one another,” said Stacey Barber, executive director, AAA Travel Information & Content. “This is quickly shaping up to be another busy year for family travelers, both on the roadways, as well as other popular travel destinations and attractions. To make the most of their vacations, AAA recommends families plan and research as far ahead as possible to avoid missing out on popular activities and fun.”

To help inspire would-be road trippers, AAA’s travel editors have curated more than 450 pre-planned road trips. The top five routes for summer travel according to AAA member road trip routing data are as follows:

  1. Las Vegas to National Parks – Any road trip through the desert southwest is full of unique twists and turns, regardless of whether you remain on the interstate or head off along enticing back roads. Long the destination for gold prospectors and other dreamers, the mountains and valleys of the Arizona, Nevada and Utah deserts today provide a glimpse of mankind’s historical interaction with the area’s fantastic natural landscapes.
  2. Northern California and Southern Oregon Coast – The trip begins in California’s Central Valley, meanders through high elevation forests and snakes up the awe-inspiring Pacific coast. Not to be rushed, this extraordinary route is winding, narrow and flanked by the ocean and majestic redwood trees. As you make your way past beach towns and shifting sand dunes, you’ll find constant stops are necessary to photograph the stunning terrain.
  3. Northern New England – You’ll travel the backroads of New England on this trek through the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Quaint country inns, steepled churches and weathered barns—some predating the Revolutionary War—dot the roadside.
  4. Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina – If any drive merited the term “scenic,” it’s the Blue Ridge Parkway. Begun in 1935 to create a transportation link between Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it was finally completed in 1983. This winding road was designed to maximize enjoyment of the mountainous terrain, so heed the posted speed limit.
  5. Black Hills, South Dakota – This picturesque route winds through South Dakota’s Black Hills, taking you from one of America’s best-known landmarks, Mount Rushmore, past granite spires and into historic mining towns nestled in valleys thick with Ponderosa pine. The area packs so much scenery into a small area that it’s become a mecca for motorcyclists and anyone else who loves the outdoors.

For more destination recommendations, travel tips and expert advice from AAA inspectors and travel editors, visit AAA.com/TravelTips. AAA’s travel experts offer these top tips for a perfect family road trip:

  • Be prepared – For passengers, pack books, games, or music for the ride, and a pillow. Bring information on your destination to keep kids and other passengers entertained. Pack healthy snacks for kids, especially if you can’t stop for a full meal while traveling.
  • Safety first – Drivers should plan frequent stops, about every 100 miles or two hours, to remain alert. Make sure everyone is restrained by seat belts or a child safety seat to prevent injury in case of a sudden stop, swerve or crash. AAA members who are renting a car through Hertz can request a complimentary infant car seat or toddler booster seat.
  • Pack your patience – Be prepared for busy roads and long airport security lines throughout the summer. If hitting the road during a holiday weekend, consider leaving earlier or later than the typical holiday travel times to avoid heavy traffic. Same goes for air travel, and be sure to arrive at the airport at least two hours before scheduled take-off.
  • Do your research – To make the most of your trip, map out your route in advance, using a tool like AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner. For extra guidance, seek the advice of a knowledgeable travel agent. And be sure to download the AAA Mobile app to find AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, gas prices and fun stops along the way.
  • Be road trip ready – Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. In case of an emergency, always carry a flashlight, extra batteries, warning devices such as flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit and extra water. To locate a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop in your area, visit com/AutoRepair.

Passengers are one of the most precious cargo on a trip, be it 5 or 50 miles down the road. AAA recommends drivers keep their attention on the road by pre-programing GPS devices and adjusting seats and mirrors before driving. So a driver can remain focused safely on driving, enlist the help of passengers and don’t use handheld or hands-free cell phones while driving.

AAA’s family travel research is the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,007 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted January 24-27, 2019. This study has an average statistical error of ±3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

 

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Three Restaurants Added as AAA Five Diamond Honorees

February 14th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Just 67 restaurants in North America meet AAA’s rigorous Five Diamond expectations

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 14, 2019) – Only 67 restaurants in North America currently have what it takes to hold AAA’s distinctive Five Diamond Rating, including three restaurants added this year – Atera, COAST and Oriole. The coveted 2019 Five Diamond Award restaurant list makes up just 0.2 percent of the nearly 32,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Additional Resources

Among the exclusive number of high-end establishments that have attained the Five Diamond Rating, AAA’s inspectors note many are adopting a much more casual environment in response to evolving guest preferences for a more relaxed experience. High-end restaurants are adopting simple, streamlined décor and, thanks in part to the popularity of cooking shows and competitions, some continue to highlight lively open kitchen designs that allow guests to watch and even interact with culinary staff.

“Attaining the Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “To be considered leading edge, chefs must incorporate a laser-focused approach using innovative concepts and menus featuring the finest ingredients. Diners want to be wowed on multiple levels, so exceptional service is also important, but they’re not necessarily looking for all the formalities that were once synonymous with fine dining.”

Following a rigorous evaluation that includes anonymous dining by an experienced AAA inspector and review by a panel of experts, these restaurants earned Five Diamonds for the first time this past year.

  • Atera (New York, New York) – A treat for all the senses, the tasting menu slowly builds and excels with never-before-seen visual presentations and combinations. In a small dining room with a chef’s table open to the kitchen and a lone side dining table for a party of four, it does not get much more exclusive than this.
  • COAST (Watch Hill, Rhode Island) – Located within a stately seaside inn with dramatic views of the ocean, this restaurant prides itself on using local Rhode Island and Atlantic Coast farm-to-table ingredients. The menu changes daily to incorporate the freshest items from local farmers and fishmongers.
  • Oriole (Chicago, Illinois) – The classy dining room is made more interesting by the brightly illuminated display kitchen that allows diners to watch the artful assembly of each plate. A multi-course menu is designed to be a surprise for guests.

Atera and Oriole both debut as AAA Five Diamond restaurants, while COAST—Rhode Island’s first Five Diamond restaurant—was upgraded from Four Diamonds.

Those at the Four Diamond level, just 2.1 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants, are also an exclusive group. They offer a distinctive fine-dining experience, employing creative preparations that are skillfully served amid upscale ambience. This year, there are 656 Four Diamond restaurants located across North America, including 39 additions this year.

To see the complete lists of 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond restaurants, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Restaurant Facts. The 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond Award-winning hotels were announced in January.

About AAA Diamond Ratings  

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant inspections guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. AAA conducts these inspections as the trusted source of nearly 60 million members, guiding them to have memorable travel and dining experiences.

The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Exclusive European river cruise hosted by the famed PBS personality available for booking now

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 5, 2019) – AAA Travel, one of North America’s largest leisure travel agencies, has joined one of the most recognized women in travel television as a sponsor of Samantha Brown’s “Places to Love” on PBS. The show follows along as Samantha visits 27 destinations near and far, highlighting the emotional value of travel and introducing viewers to the people and hidden gems that make each spot unique. The 13-episode second season is airing now ‒ check local listings for dates and times.

Additional Resources

This summer, viewers inspired by Samantha’s travels can sail with her on an exclusive river cruise onboard AmaWaterways’ newest ship, AmaMagna. Travelers have the opportunity to join her on the ship for eight days, immediately after she christens the vessel as its ceremonial godmother as it launches in Germany. The itinerary, which includes two travel talks with Samantha, takes travelers through the heart of Europe, from Vilshofen, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary, July 14-21.

“AAA and Samantha Brown share a passion for travel, and we’re excited to help bring to life season two of ‘Places to Love’,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel Products and Services. “And now travelers can join Samantha Brown for an exclusive sailing onboard the AmaMagna. This incredible opportunity is available just in time for ‘wave season,’ the best time to book a cruise vacation.”

In addition to interactive sessions with Samantha and a personalized gift from the travel expert, the sailing includes immersive tours in every port, including active, regular and late-riser options for exploring; all onboard dining, including special welcome and Captain’s Gala dinners; unlimited fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; daily entertainment including cultural performances and more. AAA members also receive $150 onboard spending credit, the services of a AAA host, and AAA Vacations 24/7 member care.

“I am thrilled to be able to host my first cruise on AmaMagna, especially the day after I become her godmother,” said Samantha Brown. “Cruising the Danube has been a dream of mine and I’m counting the days until July 14!”

For more information about AAA’s sponsorship of Samantha Brown’s “Places to Love” or the exclusive sailing onboard AmaMagna, visit www.AAA.com/SamanthaBrown.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

About Samantha Brown:

Known for her warm, engaging personality and her ability to convey the true character of the people and places she visits throughout the world, Samantha has been inspiring wanderlust since her television journey first began with Travel Channel’s “Great Hotels.” Since then, her career has taken her to over 250 cities in 62 countries and 40 of the United States, winning her two Emmys in the process. A natural extension of her years on the road, in 2011, Samantha debuted her own stylish and practical luggage line on HSN, the Home Shopping Network. Designed from her travel expert’s perspective, blending style and utility, the line instantly became a top “customer pick” and was one of the most successful brand launches for the year.

Follow Samantha via her website, www.samantha-brown.com; on Instagram @samanthabrowntravels; Facebook at www.facebook.com/RealSamanthaBrown/; and @samanthabrown on Twitter.

Ten Hotels Join AAA’s Prestigious Five Diamond List for 2019

January 31st, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallFive Diamond properties are noted for ultimate luxury, sophistication and comfort

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 31, 2019) – With the addition of 10 new properties, AAA has unveiled the coveted 2019 Five Diamond Award list totaling 121 hotels. This exclusive group represents just 0.4 percent of the more than 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels across North America.

Additional Resources

“The Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment that recognizes the upper echelon of hotels. These properties have extraordinary physical qualities, extensive amenities and impeccable standards of excellence in delivering a highly personalized experience,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings.

Following a rigorous evaluation that includes in-person inspections, anonymous overnight stays and, finally, review by a panel of experts as an additional step to ensure credibility, 10 hotels have been added as Five Diamond honorees throughout the past year.

  • Baccarat Hotel New York (New York, New York) – Crystal chandeliers sparkle as they chime overhead and exquisite stemware overflows with champagne in the lounges, creating rich pleasures for the senses at this storybook destination from the fabled French glass company.
  • Banyan Tree Mayakoba (Playa del Carmen, Mexico) – The unique mixture of Asian and Mexican architecture is stunning throughout. This gated resort, located on the famed Riviera Maya coast, blends untouched nature in a carefully maintained ecosystem.
  • Fairmont Pacific Rim (Vancouver, Canada) – Guests are pampered at this luxury tower, which has a beautiful, innovative design. Gorgeous rooms with spectacular views feature an enhanced Pacific Northwest feel.
  • Hotel Emma (San Antonio, Texas) – Guests will be stunned by this chic hotel, the site of the former Pearl’s Brewhouse, built in 1894, including its upscale, beautifully crafted lobby, library and rooftop pool areas.
  • Montage Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico) – This upscale property features several infinity-edge pools that blend in with the ocean and overlook the secluded beach. The impressive guest bathrooms feature indoor and outdoor showers.
  • NIZUC Resort & Spa (Cancun, Mexico) – This beautiful and expansive resort features rustic and elegant Mayan-inspired décor. The guest rooms are spacious with many custom furnishings and luxurious features.
  • Rosewood San Miguel de Allende (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico) – This colonial-style hacienda has gorgeous public areas and meticulously maintained gardens. The spacious guest rooms feature a refined colonial décor with a fireplace and terrace.
  • The Dominick Hotel (New York, New York) – With stellar views of the city, this bastion of contemporary luxury features swanky modern Italian furnishings, impressive artworks and marble bathrooms. The SoHo location puts you at the very heart of Manhattan’s fashion culture.
  • The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston (Houston, Texas) – Houston’s premier property offers its guests impeccable service and highest quality amenities. This contemporary hotel is a crown jewel among the city’s accommodations.
  • The St. Regis Mexico City (Mexico City, Mexico) – This gleaming hotel tower offers large rooms complete with high-tech conveniences and a butler. The views are stunning, with many overlooking iconic symbols of Mexico.

Many of this year’s new Five Diamond honorees have received top marks in the past for their physical attributes that, although impressive, were not paired with AAA’s exceptionally high Five Diamond service expectations, until now. After demonstrating notable service enhancements, San Antonio’s first Five Diamond establishment, Hotel Emma, as well as Banyan Tree Mayakoba, NIZUC Resort & Spa, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, and The St. Regis Mexico City, received the coveted fifth Diamond for the first time.

Others, like Baccarat Hotel, The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston and Montage Los Cabos, attained the AAA Five Diamond Rating shortly after opening within the past 12 months. 

Hotel trends observed by AAA inspectors, often appearing first at high-end properties, include continued developments in the use of technology to enhance service. Responding to this trend, AAA recently updated its hotel Approval Requirements & Diamond Rating Guidelines, which reflect the importance of connective technologies such as availability of in-room tablets, mobile apps, interactive kiosks, mobile key technology and digital messaging services.

Those at the Four Diamond level, just 6.3 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved hotels, are also an exclusive group. They must be refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. This year, there are 1,722 Four Diamond hotels.

To see the complete lists of 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotels, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotel Facts.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Twidale brings more than 35 years’ experience to
the nearly 60 million member organization

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (January 23, 2019) – AAA, North America’s largest motorist and leisure travel organization, today announced that travel industry leader and trail-blazer Paula Twidale has been named vice president of AAA Travel effective February 4, 2019. She replaces Bill Sutherland, who retired in December after more than 21 years with the organization.

Additional Resources

Twidale brings more than 35 years of distinguished travel industry experience to AAA Travel, most recently serving as executive vice president of Collette Vacations as well as the first female board chair of United States Tour Operators Association, a nonprofit professional association that serves as the unified voice of the tour operator industry, protecting consumer interests. In addition, she has been nominated five times as one of the most powerful women in travel by Travel Agent Magazine.

“AAA Travel has a strong reputation among its members and the traveling public as the go-to travel expert. I am honored to join an organization with the respected history and brand reputation of AAA,” said Paula Twidale. “Travel provides a great opportunity to build member engagement through the offering of differentiated benefits and personalized services, which members have grown to expect from the AAA brand. I look forward to working collaboratively with the AAA teams and industry partners to promote brand and service excellence to create members for life.”

As AAA Travel’s vice president, Twidale will provide leadership and strategic direction for all of the association’s travel services. She will create and manage strategic alliances, maximizing relationships with preferred suppliers in an effort to increase member benefits. Additionally, her responsibilities include guiding the development of innovative technology solutions to support AAA clubs in the delivery of differentiated travel products and services to members.

“Paula brings to AAA vast experience as a visionary leader in travel. I’m confident that she will serve our organization well, building and expanding upon the trust our members have placed in us for their travel needs,” said Marshall Doney, president and CEO of AAA. “I look forward to working with her as we bring the federation to the next level of providing our nearly 60 million members one-of-a-kind travel experiences and vacation memories that will last a lifetime.”

During her 27-year tenure with Collette Vacations, the 100-year-old tour operator, Twidale developed and executed innovative, differentiated growth strategies, and led a negotiations team across the United States, Canada and the UK. She also served as executive spokesperson for the organization.

Twidale holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rhode Island College. Additionally, she has completed several executive education programs (including Strategy & Innovation and Executive Leadership) at Harvard Business Continuing Education and MIT Sloan.

About AAA:
AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 35 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

INRIX predicts delays could peak at four times normal drive times;
Thursday, Dec. 20 to be nation’s worst day to travel

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (December 13, 2018) – AAA forecasts that more than one-third of Americans will travel this holiday season. The record-breaking 112.5 million travelers taking to the nation’s runways, roads and rails for the year-end holidays represents a 4.4 percent increase over last year and the most since AAA has been tracking holiday travel. For the more than 102 million people who will pack up their cars for a holiday road trip, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be as much as four times longer than a normal trip.

Additional Resources

“’Tis the season for holiday travel, and more Americans than ever will journey to spend time with friends and family or choose to take a vacation,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director, AAA Travel products and services. “Strong economic growth fueled by robust consumer spending continues to drive strong demand for seasonal travel. With a record-breaking one-third of the country choosing to travel this holiday, roadways and airports are sure to be busy.”

By the Numbers: 2018 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast

  • Automobiles: More Americans will travel by car this holiday season than ever before. The 102.1 million people expected to pack up their cars for road trips is 4.4 percent higher than last year. It is the most since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2001.
  • Planes: The 6.7 million people who will travel by air this year is the highest level since in 15 years and is 4.2 percent more than last year.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 4 percent, with a total 3.7 million passengers.

Holiday Hotspots

Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX expects drivers to experience the greatest amount of congestion before the holiday week – starting on Wednesday, December 19 – as commuters and holiday travelers mix on our nation’s busiest roadways. Drivers in Atlanta, New York City, Boston and Houston will see travel times more than three times a normal trip.

“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays in major metro areas – with Thursday, December 20 being the nation’s worst day to travel,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Our advice is to avoid traveling during peak commuting hours. If schedules allow, leave bright and early, or after the morning commute.”

City Worst Day to Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier
Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 22 3:00 – 4:00 PM 4x
New York City Thursday, Dec. 20 9:30 – 10:30 PM 3.75x
Boston Wednesday, Dec. 19 3:30 – 4:30 PM 3.5x
Houston Wednesday, Dec. 19 12:15 – 1:15 PM 3.25x
Detroit Monday, Dec. 24 2:00 – 3:00 PM 3x
Seattle Wednesday, Dec. 19 4:00 – 6:00 PM 2.25x
Chicago Monday, Dec. 24 1:30 – 2:30 PM 2.25x
Los Angeles Thursday, Dec. 20 2:30 – 3:30 PM 2x
San Francisco Friday, Dec. 21 4:15 – 5:15 PM 1.25x
Washington, DC Thursday, Dec. 20 1:15 – 2:15 PM 2.75x
      Source: INRIX

Falling Gas Prices Motivating More Holiday Travelers to Drive
While gas has been relatively expensive throughout this year, a recent drop to the cheapest national gas price averages of the year, combined with rising disposable income, is motivating more Americans to hit the road this holiday season. Gas prices averaged $2.46 for the first week of December, which is two cents per gallon less than one year ago.

Best Times to Fly and Book Christmas Flights

An analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that most holiday air travelers depart two or three days before Christmas and return the day after the holiday. This holiday season, Saturday, December 22, Sunday, December 23 and Wednesday, December 26 will be the busiest days in the skies and at the airports. Fewer holiday travelers choose to fly on Christmas Eve (Monday, December 24) and Christmas Day (Tuesday, December 25), which are the lightest travel days around the Christmas holiday.

Day 3-Year Average Ticket Price Expected Crowds
Saturday (Dec. 22, 2018) $590 Heavy
Sunday (Dec. 23, 2018) $564 Heavy
Monday (Dec. 24, 2018) $512 Light
Tuesday (Dec. 25, 2018) $564 Light
Wednesday (Dec. 26, 2018) $666 Heavy

 

Most travelers booked their Christmas flights between October 26 and November 27, paying an average ticket price of $561 roundtrip. Last-minute planners who book between December 12-18 this year can expect to pay the lowest average airfares, at $488. However, those travelers risk encountering limited availability and their preferred flights may already be sold out.

Car Rental Costs Reach 10-Year High, Hotel Prices Mixed

Holiday road trippers should budget slightly more for a rental car this year, as daily rates have increased 3 percent over last year. At $76, the daily average car rental rate this holiday season is the most expensive in 10 years. Travelers will also pay a bit more at AAA Two Diamond hotels, where prices are 1 percent more than last year, or $122 per night. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Three Diamond hotels has fallen 3 percent to an average nightly cost of $152.

Top 10 Year-End Travel Destinations

Warm-weather destinations are top draws in the winter months, occupying nine of the top 10 spots on the list of most popular holiday destinations, based on AAA’s online and travel agency air and tour bookings. The major cruise ports of Fort Lauderdale and Miami have both gained in popularity compared with last year, on the heels of a strong year for cruise sales. Meanwhile, New York City, the only cold-weather destination to make the top 10, can also expect a growing influx of travelers this holiday season.

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Cancun, Mexico
  3. Anaheim, California (Disneyland)
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Montego Bay, Jamaica
  6. Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. New York, New York
  8. Kahului, Hawaii (Maui)
  9. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  10. Miami, Florida

AAA to Rescue More Than 960,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 960,000 motorists at the roadside this year-end holiday period. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown. Members who require roadside assistance can call the toll free number (800-222-4357 or 800-AAA-Help), or contact AAA via www.AAA.com or the AAA mobile app.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 46 percent of all crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter. AAA encourages drivers to be vigilant when hitting the road this winter and to always stay prepared by carrying an emergency roadside kit containing a mobile phone and car charger, first-aid kit, blankets, drinking water and snacks, a flashlight with extra batteries, a basic toolkit, warning flares, an ice scraper, jumper cables and a shovel.

Download the AAA Mobile App Before the Holidays
Before heading out on a holiday road trip, 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 inspectors to evaluate 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 Year-End Holiday 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 2018 year-end holiday travel forecast is available here.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 35 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit 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. Learn more at INRIX.com.

Media contacts:       

AAA
Julie Hall, APR
(407) 444-8003
juhall@national.aaa.com 

INRIX
Mark Burfeind
(425) 284-3825
mark.burfeind@inrix.com

B-Roll

YouTube Videos

AAA Senior Driver Expos

NewsRoom Video Gallery

Media: Find and Download AAA Videos and B Roll.