Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 15, 2020) – According to a recent AAA Travel survey, American travelers are making vacation plans through the end of the year, but remain cautiously optimistic about those future plans. Sixty-seven percent of U.S. adults planning a vacation before the end of the year report some degree of uncertainty they will actually be able to take their vacation.

As a result, some are opting for spur-of-the-moment travel decisions as they take coronavirus implications into account. According to AAA’s survey, one in five who are planning a trip before the end of this year but haven’t booked yet expect to do so within one week of traveling. AAA advises these travelers to take proper precautions to help keep themselves and others safe while away from home.

Additional Resources

The vast majority of trips this fall — 80% — will be road trips. In a sign of the rising popularity of auto travel this fall, use of AAA’s popular TripTik road trip planning tool has doubled compared to the spring and early summer. Not surprisingly, when they pack up their cars, more Americans are heading to destinations known for outdoor recreation and socially distanced fun than in previous years.

“As many Americas continue to work from home and attend school virtually, this temporary lifestyle change opens up new and exciting possibilities for fall travel – particularly for those who deferred summer travel plans,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “For those who choose to travel, the great American road trip continues to be the preferred method of getting out and exploring the United States. AAA advises these travelers to plan ahead and take precautions to be a responsible traveler.”

Lower prices at the gas pump may also be motivating some would-be travelers to hit the road this fall. On average, gas prices nationally are nearly 50 cents cheaper than this time last year, and are the cheapest fall prices since 2016.

Top Road Trip Destinations

This fall, vacationers are showing a preference for the great American road trip and U.S. destinations that allow for socially distanced, outdoor recreation. New additions to the list of top road trip destinations this year include Keystone, South Dakota – home to Mount Rushmore – and Colorado Springs.

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Keystone, SD
  7. Portland, OR
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. Colorado Springs, CO
  10. Myrtle Beach, SC

Data based on TripTik.AAA.com searches from June 15-Sept 14, 2020

“Trips that allow people to take advantage of the great outdoors are particularly appealing this fall. From hiking and exploring state and national parks, to visiting beaches and outdoor gardens, all of these top road trip destinations feature activities that allow families to enjoy America’s backyard within their individual comfort levels,” continued Twidale.

What to Know Before You Go

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

For those who make the personal decision to travel, AAA recommends travelers check with state and local authorities where they are, along their route, and at their planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place. These additional tips and helpful information play an important role in being a responsible traveler:

  • Check AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map as well as CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker for the latest state and local travel restrictions.
  • Consistent use of face masks combined with social distancing (at least 6 feet) and regular handwashing are the best ways to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Be sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor your health. Also pack water and extra snacks to reduce the need to stop along your trip.
  • Use TripTik.AAA.com to plan your road trip and help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along your route. Also check out AAA.com/RoadTrips for more road trip inspiration.
  • Take your car into a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop to ensure it is road trip ready. To find one near you, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.
  • Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to ensure your hotel is open and ask what precautions they are taking to protect guests. Ask about social distancing protocols like capacity reductions in common spaces and hotel staff requirements to wear masks at all times.
  • If renting a car, ask what has been done to clean the vehicle. Hertz, for example, has introduced Hertz Gold Standard Clean, an enhanced vehicle disinfectant and sanitization process. For extra peace mind, use disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, steering wheels, shifters and control panels. Hertz is also offering deals for road trippers this fall. Book four or more days at any Hertz neighborhood location and get one day free. Visit AAA.com/Hertz for more details.
  • Consult a travel agent; they are a great resource and act as your advocate if your plans change unexpectedly. AAA travel counselors are ready to help Americans when they are ready to plan their next adventure. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.

AAA continues to monitor travel trends and will release a traditional Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast in November. For more information, visit www.Newsroom.AAA.com.

Survey Methodology

Survey findings are the result of a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without Internet access were surveyed over the phone. A total of 1,041 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 3.9% at the 95% confidence level.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 61 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 32 motor clubs and nearly 1,000 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.

Trends show travelers are eager, but anxious to explore, booking last-minute trips; INRIX provides travelers with insight on summer traffic

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 25, 2020) – This summer, AAA forecasts Americans will take 700 million trips based on economic indicators and state re-openings. That number is down nearly 15% compared to last July through September and is the first decline in summer travel since 2009. AAA booking trends show Americans are making travel plans, though cautiously and more spur of the moment.   

Additional Resources

“Americans will get out and explore this summer though they’re taking a ‘wait and see approach’ when it comes to booking and are likely to book more long weekend getaways than extended vacations,” said Paula Twidale, AAA’s senior vice president of Travel. “When they do venture out, travelers will take to the road with 683 million car trips to satisfy their wanderlust.”

Car trips reign supreme accounting for 97% of the favored mode of transportation. Car trips will also see the smallest decrease in travel volume of just 3% year-over-year. Air travel will be off by about 74%, while rail, cruise ship and bus travel will slide by 86%. Were it not for the pandemic, AAA would be projecting 857 million trips during the third quarter, a 3.6% increase over last year. By this analysis, the pandemic wiped out nearly 150 million person-trips this summer.

  July 1 – Sept 30, 2019

total volume

July 1 – Sept 30, 2020 total volume forecast YOY Difference
Automobile 706M 683M          -3.3%
Air 57.9M 15.1M -73.9%
Rail, Cruise, Other 64.3M 9.3M -85.5%
Total 828M 707M -14.6%

AAA travel experts have begun to see positive trends in travel, noting that hotel and rental car bookings have been gradually increasing since April. Air travel has been slower to rebound. The share of travelers making plans 48 hours to 7 days before departure – a sign that people are arranging last-minute trips – is significantly higher than normal.

Road Trips + Top TripkTik Destinations

With travel restrictions lifting but social distancing still recommended, it’s no surprise that 97% of summer trips are road trips. That’s up from an average of 87% over the last five years. Road trips allow travelers to make their own schedule and customize stops based on comfort level and interests. For families, especially those with small children, it is an easy and less expensive way to travel. And an added benefit right now – gas prices remain low.

This summer, road trippers should plan their travel in advance using AAA TripTik – a tradition that has guided generations of road trippers with paper and digital maps. Plus, it now includes COVID-19 Travel Restriction updates.

“Beyond mapping your route in advance, it is important to book hotels and plan out gas and food stops. Also, keep in mind that some national parks and attractions have capacity limits, so if there is a must-do activity on your trip, you’ll want to make arrangements for these in advance,” added Twidale.

When it comes to TripTik destination searches, prominent cities that typically draw large crowds are not as popular. Orlando, FL has dropped from the top searched city destination to number eight while Denver, CO makes the biggest climb from number 10 to number one: (Data based on TripTik.AAA.com searches from March 15 – June 14, 2020)

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Phoenix, AZ
  6. Portland, OR
  7. Myrtle Beach, SC
  8. Orlando, FL
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Nashville, TN

For travelers looking to plan their Great American Road Trip, AAA recommends visiting https://www.aaa.com/roadtrips/.

Road Trips & Traffic Across the Country

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, analyzed the top 20 metropolitan areas and all states to inform travelers of the chances they will run into traffic when they travel. While the top 20 metro areas will remain below typical traffic congestion, a number of states could expect to see traffic congestion rise to normal levels – but still be below usual summer traffic patterns.

“While the amount people drive is still low for this time of year, we know millions will be taking road trips in the months ahead. The good news is, the congestion they will encounter is nowhere near what we typically see in a summer,” says Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX.

Using the latest vehicle miles traveled (VMT) data available, INRIX has classified three categories to analyze traffic:

  • Lower: Probably not going to run into “normal” traffic congestion while traveling
  • Middle: Below 50% chance to run into “normal” traffic congestion while traveling
  • Upper: More likely than not to run into “normal” traffic congestion while traveling

Top 20 Metropolitan Areas Traffic Congestion Forecast

No metro area in the top 20 by population are in the upper third of VMT recovery.

Lower Third Middle Third
Boston, MA Dallas, TX
Baltimore, MD Denver, CO
Chicago, IL Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
Detroit, MI St. Louis, MO
Los Angeles, CA Houston, TX
Miami, FL Atlanta, GA
New York, NY  
Philadelphia, PA  
Phoenix, AZ  
San Diego, CA  
San Francisco, CA  
Seattle, WA  
Tampa, FL  
Washington, D.C.   

State Traffic Congestion Forecast  

Lower Third Middle Third Upper Third
Arizona Alabama Alaska
California Colorado Arkansas
Connecticut Delaware Idaho
Florida Georgia Iowa
Hawaii Indiana Kansas
Illinois Kentucky Missouri
Louisiana Maine Montana
Maryland Michigan Nebraska
Massachusetts Minnesota North Dakota
Nevada Mississippi Oklahoma
New Jersey New Hampshire South Carolina
New York New Mexico South Dakota
Pennsylvania North Carolina Tennessee
Rhode Island Ohio Utah
Texas Oregon West Virginia
Vermont Virginia Wisconsin
Washington   Wyoming

National Gas Price Average

AAA expects the national gas price to average near $2.25/gallon for the third quarter of 2020, which will be a 15% decline from the $2.66 average seen last summer. This will be the cheapest summer for filling-up since 2016.

When at the pump, AAA recommends wearing disposable gloves or using a plastic sandwich bag to avoid touching the pump handle. When back in your car, be sure to clean your hands with sanitizer or wipes.

Hotels

AAA Travel data shows that when top destinations, including Las Vegas, Orlando and NYC,  were shut-down earlier in the year, bookings shifted to smaller destinations. As those top destinations begin to open, they are once again the top hotel destinations, though advance bookings in general are nearly 25% shorter than this time last year. Here are the top 10 most popular hotel destinations since mid-March based on AAA Travel bookings:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. Orlando
  3. San Diego
  4. New York City
  5. Chicago
  6. Nashville
  7. Atlanta
  8. Houston
  9. Portland
  10. San Antonio

For road trips that require an overnight stay, look for hotels with a AAA Diamond designation. For extra confidence, look for Diamond hotels that display a AAA Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping badge. Property inspections were completed prior to February. However, to meet the criteria for this award, these hotels have received top marks for housekeeping excellence for two consecutive inspections and are free of AAA member complaints.

“In light of COVID-19, AAA is revising the inspection process used in its Diamonds Program,” said Twidale. “The new criteria will reflect best practices for protecting the health of hotel guests, employees and AAA inspectors.”

Prior to your hotel stay, AAA recommends calling ahead to ensure your hotel is still open and asking about any restrictions or changes to the check-in process. It’s likely that the hotel has reduced the number of times guests have face-to-face interactions with other guests and hotel staff. When you check into your room, remember to wipe down surfaces with disinfecting wipes. Pay special attention to surfaces such as light switches, door knobs, faucets and remote controls.

Other Modes of Transportation

Other modes of transportation – cruises, buses and rail – have seen the most dramatic drop in travel volume. Most cruise lines have suspended all departures until at least August 1, with only limited offerings after that. AAA, however, has noted growing demand for departures in 2021.

Rail travel offers a unique way to see the country, and AAA offers a number of itineraries to explore iconic cities as well as the National Parks and beyond at AAA.com/vacations.

Know Before You Go

No matter how a traveler gets to their final destination, AAA recommends considering these points before you go:

  • Check the CDC’s Covid-19 data tracker, municipal and state health departments and local news for updates on coronavirus cases and continue to do so while on the road.
  • Visit AAA’s Covid-19 Travel Restrictions Map at AAA.com for the latest state and local travel restrictions.
  • Pack face coverings, gloves and cleaning supplies – like disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer – and a thermometer.
  • Take all necessary travel documentation, including health insurance cards.

Methodology:

Because of the pandemic’s impacts on travel, AAA did not release Memorial or Independence Day travel forecasts.  AAA’s Q3 projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the summer travel period is defined as July 1 through September 30. 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 forecast is available here.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 32 motor clubs and nearly 1,000 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 s

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When it is safe to travel, AAA expects vacationers will explore America’s backyard

ORLANDO, Fla. – For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast, as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19. The annual forecast – which estimates the number of people traveling over the holiday weekend – will return next year.

Anecdotal reports suggest fewer people will hit the road compared to years past for what is considered the unofficial start of the summer travel season.

“Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend – the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “With social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low.”

Memorial Day 2009 currently holds the record for the lowest travel volume at nearly 31 million travelers, according to AAA. That holiday weekend, which came toward the end of the Great Recession, 26.4 million Americans traveled by car, 2.1 million by plane and nearly 2 million by other forms of transportation (train, cruise, etc.).

AAA expects to make travel projections for the late summer and fall, assuming states ease travel restrictions and businesses reopen. Already, there are indications that Americans’ wanderlust is inspiring them to plan future vacations.

AAA.com/travel online bookings have been rising, though modestly, since mid-April, suggesting travelers’ confidence is slowly improving. When it is safe to travel, AAA predicts vacationers will have a preference for U.S destinations, mostly local and regional locations, and the great American road trip.

The expected rebound in domestic vacations aligns with trends AAA anticipated for summer 2020 pre-COVID-19. In a February AAA Travel survey, 90% of the 173 million Americans who had summer vacations on the books planned to take a U.S.-based vacation. AAA travel experts say that’s common during a presidential election year, when many travelers hold off on international travel because they want to see how the election will affect the economy or international relations. This year, the phenomenon is amplified by concerns about the pandemic.

“The saying goes that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Americans are taking that first step toward their next journey from the comfort of their home by researching vacation opportunities and talking with travel agents,” said Twidale. “We are seeing that Americans are showing a preference and inspiration to explore all that our country has to offer as soon as it is safe to travel.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that Americans stay home and avoid nonessential travel. Americans should heed all official warnings and refer to the latest updates from the CDC and U.S. Department of State to help decrease the spread of COVID-19.

AAA expects vacationers will gravitate to road trips and family bookings including air, car, hotel and activities to destinations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Shortly thereafter, assuming international travel restrictions are lifted, we expect to see more demand for tropical destinations and a wider range of international travel.

For would-be travelers, AAA – one of North America’s largest travel agency networks – offers essential information and resources to guide exploring future domestic vacations. Check these out:

  • AAA Travel Guidesfind expert insight about where to go, how to get around, what to do and see, and what not to miss. These vacation planners offer suggested itineraries and more to help you best know how to plan a trip without missing anything along the way.
  • The Great American Road Tripcheck out the 11 most popular road trips in America along with travel tips and expert advice from AAA Travel Inspectors and editors that will inspire you and help you find AAA Diamond designated hotels along the way.
  • Travel Agents – knowledgeable AAA travel agents can help travelers assess their options and serve as their advocate in case any changes to travel plans are needed.
  • Travel Insurance – consider purchasing travel insurance to protect vacation investments. It’s important to review your options with a travel adviser as many travel protection plans exclude losses caused by an epidemic.
  • AAA’s Best of Housekeeping badge – look for a hotel that has earned the AAA Inspector’s Best of Housekeeping badge. While all AAA Diamond designated properties must pass a comprehensive inspection, hotels that display the Inspector’s Best of Housekeeping badge have achieved the highest possible scores for cleanliness, surpassing expectations, demonstrating housekeeping excellence for two consecutive inspections and are free of AAA member complaints. AAA is working with its industry partners to review its inspection process and standards to ensure they reflect the COVID-19 realities of today.
  • Road Trip Ready – if your car hasn’t hit the road in a while, AAA encourages you to take some simple steps to keep you and your vehicle safe. Use this car care checklist to ensure your vehicle is ready for summer travel.

For more information and to get started planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 32 motor clubs and nearly 1,000 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.

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**Updated March 12, 2020 at 12:55 pm**

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 5, 2020) – With new coronavirus cases being announced every day, Americans with spring break excursions, upcoming business trips or those thinking about summer travel have one thing on their mind: Should I travel? AAA can’t make that decision for its members, but is providing information on travel safety and insurance to help travelers make the decision that is right for them.

“Research is important to any traveler ahead of a trip. It’s no different with the coronavirus,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel.  “Become familiar with the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations, consult your healthcare professional, talk to your travel provider about waiver policies and chat with a travel agent about travel insurance possibilities before making any decision.”

Travel – Is it still safe?

Travelers should heed all official advisories, including the latest guidance from CDC and the State Department. This includes travelers, particularly those with underlying health conditions, defer cruise ship travel at this time. Traveling anywhere else is a personal decision you have to make based on all facts available.

First and foremost, if you are feeling sick, don’t travel. Even if you are not sick, talk to your health care provider about their medical recommendations, especially as it may relate to your age and personal health.

Contact your travel agent or travel provider to understand options available to you to postpone or reschedule any planned trips.

“AAA travel counselors are knowledgeable, caring and available to assist members if they have questions or concerns about cruises or other travel,” said Twidale.

Quarantine – What is the likelihood I could be quarantined if I travel?

If you choose to take that trip:

  • Travel with all necessary travel documentation, including health insurance cards.
  • At the top of your packing list, AAA recommends that travelers pack an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and disinfecting wipes.
  • Pack any extra supplies you may need, including additional doses of medication, in the event your return trip is delayed.
  • Know the nearest location of and contact information for the U.S. embassy or consulate. Also, enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), so you can be reached if the situation changes while abroad.
  • U.S. citizens who have been in China in the preceding 14 days who attempt to return to the United States will be redirected to one of 11 designated U.S. airports and undergo enhanced health screenings by CDC staff for fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Travel Insurance – Does it cover the coronavirus?

Coverage options can vary widely. If you purchased travel insurance before the coronavirus was recognized as an epidemic, your policy likely provides at least some level of protection. Customers who purchased “cancel anytime” or “cancel for any reason” insurance prior to February 3, when coronavirus was recognized as an epidemic, or soon thereafter may be able to cancel their trip and receive reimbursement for a portion of their non-refundable travel deposits.

Travel insurance generally excludes epidemics. If you have a trip already booked, check with your travel providers (cruise line, airline, hotel, etc.) to see what waivers they have put in place. If you are planning a trip, also check with travel providers to understand their coronavirus-related policies and connect with a travel agent. Depending on your situation, there could be some travel insurance options for your needs.

No matter where you travel, make sure you are taking everyday preventive measures to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and more than 1,000 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.

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With 4.3 million more Americans traveling this year, INRIX predicts double drive times

ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2019) – More Americans than ever on record – 115.6 million – will travel this holiday season, from Saturday, Dec. 21 through Wednesday, Jan. 1. That is the most in nearly 20 years since AAA began tracking in 2000, and represents an increase of 3.9% over last year, or 4.3 million more people packing up their sleighs for a holiday getaway. More than 104 million of those holiday travelers will drive to their destinations and, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects delays to be the worst on Thursday, Dec. 26, with afternoon delays reaching nearly double congestion-free drive times in major U.S. cities.

Additional Resources

“Holiday cheer is at an all-time high this year, with unemployment at historically low levels, and noted improvements in both disposable income and household net worth,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Travelers should be getting used to crowded highways and airports, as this marks the eighth straight year of new record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays.”

More Americans than ever on record will drive this holiday season

  • Automobiles: 104.8 million Americans, the most on record, will drive to their holiday destinations. That means 3.9 million more people are expected on the roads compared with last year, for an increase of 3.9%.
  • Planes: With 4.9% growth, air travel will see the biggest increase in travel volume during the year-end holidays, with 6.97 million Americans expected to fly – the most since 2003.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel by these other modes will reach 3.81 million, 3% more than last year.

Rushing home for the holidays

For the 104.8 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts only marginal delays throughout the holiday week. Nationally, drivers could experience double the travel times on Thursday and Friday afternoon, although New York City and Washington, D.C. could see triple the delays.

“With kids out of school and many Americans taking extended time off for the holidays, drivers will experience only incremental delays throughout the week. Although congestion will be lighter than normal, knowing when and where major delays will likely happen will help save time and reduce stress this holiday season,” says Trevor Reed, a transportation analyst at INRIX.

City Worst Day to Travel Peak congestion period Delay Multiplier
Atlanta Thursday, Dec. 26 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.3x
Boston Friday, Dec. 27 4:00 – 6:00 PM 1.5x
Chicago Thursday, Dec. 26 4:45 – 6:45 PM 1.3x
Detroit Thursday, Dec. 26 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.4x
Houston Friday, Dec. 27 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.8x
Los Angeles Thursday, Dec. 26 4:25 – 6:25 PM 1.6x
New York Thursday, Dec. 26 4:15 – 6:15 PM 2.7x
San Francisco Thursday, Dec. 26 4:00 – 6:00 PM 2.0x
Seattle Friday, Dec. 27 4:15 – 6:15 PM 1.2x
Washington, D.C. Thursday, Dec. 26 4:00 – 6:00 PM 3.0x
Source: INRIX

The holidays can be a stressful time; AAA encourages drivers to maintain a cool head, and focus on reaching their destination safely. AAA offers these tips to help prevent road rage:

  • Do Not Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it is not personal.
  • Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

Gas prices are expected to drop in time for the holidays, members can save even more with Shell

Gas prices steadily declined in November, paving the way for even cheaper prices for the year-end holidays. AAA expects most motorists to see gas prices drop before the new year, but will likely be slightly more expensive than last December’s national gas price average of $2.37.

As an added bonus for holiday road trippers, AAA members who register in the Fuel Rewards at Shell program through Dec. 31, 2019 can receive an additional 25 cents per gallon discount on their first fill up after registering as a new Fuel Rewards member, on top of the everyday 5-cent discount (30 cents total).

AAA to rescue more than 853,000 at the roadside

More than 853,000 motorists will call AAA for assistance at the roadside this holiday season. 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. And remember to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles at the roadside. It’s the law in all 50 states.

Prepare for busy airports Dec. 21-23, steep flight prices Dec. 26

A recent analysis of AAA’s flight booking data revealed that most travelers depart two to four days prior to the Christmas holiday, Dec. 21-23, with the 22nd being the single busiest air travel day of the holiday week. These travelers, on average, pay ticket prices between $593 and $639. Christmas Eve is the best day to travel, with the lowest average price per ticket ($527) and the fewest crowds of the holiday week. Many travelers opt to fly after the Christmas holiday leading up to New Year’s, and they pay a premium to do so. Dec. 26 has the highest average ticket price of the week at $692.

Hotel prices fluctuate slightly; car rental rates reach 10-year high

Travelers will need to budget more for car rentals this holiday season. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the daily average rental rate this Christmas and New Year’s will reach $84, 11% more than last year and the highest price in 10 years. AAA Three Diamond hotel prices have increased 1% to $153, while AAA Two Diamond hotels will average $119, 2% less than last year.

Theme parks, warm-weather destinations & NYC top holiday getaways

Theme parks in Orlando and southern California, other warm-weather locales, and the iconic holiday destination New York City top the list of 10 most popular destinations in the U.S. for the year-end holidays, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Anaheim, CA
  3. Honolulu, HI
  4. Kahului, Maui, HI
  5. Las Vegas, NV
  6. Lauderdale, FL
  7. New York, NY
  8. Miami, FL
  9. Tampa, FL
  10. Phoenix, AZ

Many travelers are also seeking warm weather and sandy beaches in Mexico and the Caribbean this holiday season. Cancun, Mexico; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Los Cabos, Mexico; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, are AAA’s top five international destinations for the year-end holidays.

AAA’s travel experts remind travelers that it’s not too late to begin planning a holiday getaway. Visit AAA.com/Travel for travel planning resources to book your trip today.

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 year-end holiday travel period is defined as the 12-day period from Saturday, Dec. 21 to Wednesday, Jan. 1.

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.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and more than 1,000 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.

Media contacts:

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

 

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

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The most since 2005; INRIX predicts record delays on Wednesday

ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2019) – More than 55 million travelers are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving. This will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005. Overall, an additional 1.6 million more people will travel compared with last year, a 2.9% increase. The vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations and, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects Wednesday afternoon to be the worst travel period nationally, with trips taking as much at four times longer than normal in major metros.

Additional Resources

“Millions of thankful Americans are starting the holiday season off right with a Thanksgiving getaway,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers. Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”

By the numbers: 2019 Thanksgiving travel forecast

  • Automobiles: 49.3 million travelers will hit the road this Thanksgiving, the most since 2005 and 2.8% more than last year.
  • Planes: With 4.6% growth, air travel will see the biggest increase in travel volume during the Thanksgiving holiday, with 4.45 million Americans expected to fly.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel by other modes will reach 1.49 million, a slight increase of 1.4% from 2018.

Nothing worse than Wednesday: Times NOT to be on the road

For the 49.3 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts major delays throughout the week, peaking Wednesday with trips taking as much four times longer as commuters mix with travelers.

“With record levels of travelers, and persistent population growth in the country’s major metropolitan areas, drivers must prepare for major delays,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week.”

Metro Area Worst Time Wednesday, Nov. 27 Delay Multiplier
Atlanta 5:30-7:30 PM 3.5x
Los Angeles 5:00-7:00 PM 3.5x
New York 5:15-7:15 PM 3.5x
Boston 4:30-6:30 PM 3.4x
Houston 5:00-7:00 PM 3.4x
San Francisco 2:00-4:00 PM 3.2x
Washington DC 3:00-5:00 PM 2.8x
Seattle 4:00-6:00 PM 2.7x
Detroit 5:15-7:15 PM 2.6x
Chicago 4:15-6:15 PM 2.4x

Source: INRIX

Lower gas prices fuel road trips; AAA to rescue more than 368,000

Gas prices have been fluctuating as of late, but are currently cheaper than the national average at this time last year, giving Americans a little extra money to spend on travel and motivating millions to take road trips. For the majority of Americans, AAA expects gas prices to be fairly similar to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, which averaged $2.57.

Meanwhile, more than 368,000 motorists will call AAA for assistance at the roadside this Thanksgiving 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. And remember to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles at the roadside.

Travel tip for the friendly skies: Fly Monday before Thanksgiving

A recent analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that flying the Monday before the Thanksgiving travel rush is the best option for travelers. It has the lowest average ticket price ($486) prior to the holiday and is a lighter travel day than later in the week. Travelers can also save by traveling on Thanksgiving Day, which has the week’s lowest average price per ticket ($454).

Car rental costs peak, hotel prices mixed

Holiday road trippers should budget more for a rental car this year, which have reached their highest prices on record for the Thanksgiving holiday (since 1999), at $75 per day. Travelers will also pay a bit more at AAA Two Diamond hotels, where prices are 1% more than last year, or $125 per night. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Three Diamond hotels has fallen 5% to an average nightly cost of $158.

Warm weather beckons this Thanksgiving

The theme parks of Orlando and southern California, and other warm-weather destinations will see an influx of travelers looking to escape the start of winter. Florida is home to four of the top 10 destinations, and Hawaii twice graces the list of top destinations in the U.S. this Thanksgiving, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Anaheim, California
  3. New York, New York
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  5. Honolulu, Hawaii
  6. Lauderdale, Florida
  7. Tampa, Florida
  8. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii
  9. Phoenix, Arizona
  10. Miami, Florida

For those travelers planning an international vacation for Thanksgiving, sandy beaches are their destinations of choice. Nassau, Bahamas; Cancun, Mexico; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Montego Bay, Jamaica are AAA’s top international destinations this Thanksgiving, with Munich, Germany rounding out the top five.

AAA’s travel experts remind travelers that it’s not too late to begin planning a Thanksgiving getaway. Visit AAA.com/Travel for travel planning resources to book your trip today.

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 Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1.

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.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and more than 1,000 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.

Media contacts:

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

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

Travel industry thought-leaders explore transforming the AAA member experience

SEATTLE (Oct. 29, 2019) – AAA Travel, one of the largest leisure travel agencies in North America, hosted its annual conference Oct. 20-22 in Seattle, Washington. With a theme of “Travel: Transforming the Member Experience,” the event focused on how AAA continues to evolve its travel offerings along with changing consumer expectations, as the association recently reached a record-high 60 million members. The conference featured world-renowned speakers including: bestselling author and motivational speaker, Erik Qualman; journalist Ron Insana; and travel industry experts Terry Dale, CEO of the United States Tour Operators Association; Emmy Award-winning travel host Samantha Brown; Tourism Cares’ chief impact officer, Paula Vlamings; and more.

“Travelers want their vacations to make a mark on their lives, to be memorable and engaging. They want to embrace and interact with locals and immerse themselves in the culture by doing something authentic to the destination or learning something new,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel in her conference keynote speech. “AAA is focused on keeping pace with the experiences that drive member expectations, paving the way for a transformed member experience that leads to continual engagement and creating members for life.”

During the conference, AAA presented leading travel industry suppliers with prestigious Partner of the Year Awards in 14 categories. These highly coveted awards recognize the partners’ commitment to providing AAA travel agents and members with exemplary travel services in their respective product categories, and for marketing, member service and travel agency support. Additionally, four of AAA’s top-performing agents were honored with Travel Agent Superlative Awards.

“We are proud to present AAA Travel’s Partner of the Year Awards to some of the top companies in the travel industry. AAA is intentionally selective of our preferred partners whose products and services reflect our brand, and these companies offer exceptional value to our members,” said Twidale. “We are also honored to recognize four of our top travel agents with Superlative Awards, based not only on remarkable sales levels, but more importantly, their commitment to personalized vacation planning for members.”

2019 Partner of the Year Awards

(Photos available upon request)

Ocean Cruise Partner of the Year:
Royal Caribbean International

River Cruise Partner of the Year:
Viking Rivers

Guided Tour Partner of the Year:
Member Choice Vacations

Independent Tour Partner of the Year:
Pleasant Holidays

Lodging Partner of the Year:
BWH Hotel Group (Best Western)

Best in Marketing:
Cruise:                  Viking Rivers
Tour:                     Trafalgar
Lodging:               Marriott International

Best in Member Service:
Cruise:                  AmaWaterways
Tour:                     African Travel
Lodging:               BWH Hotel Group (Best Western)

Best in Travel Agency Support:
Cruise:                  Royal Caribbean International
Tour:                     Trafalgar
Lodging:               BWH Hotel Group (Best Western)

 

2019 Travel Agent Superlative Awards

Henry Dennis, AAA Carolinas

Highest Sales Volume

Henry Dennis, a six-time Superlative Award winner, has more than 30 years of experience in the travel industry. In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree in in Tourism Management from Northeastern State University, he is a Certified Travel Counselor and Accredited Cruise Counselor. He holds multiple destination specialist accreditations, as well as numerous supplier and destination certifications. Dennis is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he has served AAA Carolinas’ members for more than 23 years.

Rhonda Bartnikowski, Auto Club Enterprises

Highest Revenue

Rhonda Bartnikowski, a nearly 25-year veteran of the travel industry, is an agent with Auto Club Enterprises, based in Williamsburg, Virginia. Her success comes from a philosophy of creating value and offering indispensable information. She also relies on a wealth of product and destination expertise, helping her provide members a consistently high level of service.

Mary Brown, Auto Club Enterprises

Highest Preferred Cruise Sales

Mary Brown began working at Auto Club Enterprises in 2002 as a member service representative at the La Quinta, California, branch office. She was promoted to travel agent in 2010. Since then, she has received numerous awards for her performance and client service, including the club’s top cruise sales Superlative Award in 2012.

Julie Hill, AAA Auto Club Group

Highest Preferred Tour Sales

Julie Hill’s journey in the travel industry began in 1989 in her hometown of Camden, Maine. Realizing her passion for travel and wanting to advance her career, she became a travel agent with AAA Northern New England before eventually relocating to Naples, Florida. She has been with the Auto Club Group in Naples for the last 21 years, expanding her knowledge and expertise, earning her Certified Travel Associate designation, and destination specialist certifications for Hawaii, Africa and many travel suppliers.

The Partner of the Year Award selection process included surveys and evaluations from the association’s club travel agency executives. Superlative Awards are based on agents’ leisure travel productivity and leisure group sales from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. Thousands of agents were eligible for the awards, and AAA clubs nominated their top achievers.

For more information on AAA’s travel offerings, visit AAA.com/Travel.

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and more than 1,000 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.

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AAA recommends travelers consider an International Driving Permit as part of their vacation planning

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 17, 2019) – One-quarter of Americans plan to take an international vacation over the next 18 months, according to a recent AAA Travel survey. AAA’s advance travel booking data suggests that many travelers will head to popular European destinations like Rome, London, Dublin and Paris, and warm-weather locales in Mexico and the Caribbean, including Cancun, Montego Bay and Punta Cana, with most travelers in search of unique experiences.

Additional Resources

“More and more travelers are looking for experiential travel opportunities and seeking ways to intimately engage with their destination, whether at home or abroad,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “There are many ways to do that, especially with the great American road trip remaining a beloved vacation option and for many, AAA has found that road trips are increasingly appealing to U.S. travelers while overseas.”

AAA’s survey revealed that 80% of Americans have taken at least one vacation outside the United States, and two in five of those, or nearly 77 million adults, have rented or used a personal vehicle while doing so. Aligning with this finding, AAA reports a 33% increase in International Driving Permits (IDPs) sold in the last five years (through 2018).

An international driving vacation comes with additional planning considerations and paperwork for which travelers need to be prepared. More than 150 countries accept IDPs; 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. An IDP is a legal document that translates U.S. driver’s license information into 10 foreign languages and AAA is one of only two entities authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue IDPs.

“Travelers can easily apply for an International Driving Permit with an application accessible online or in person at AAA, whether they are a member or not,” continued Twidale. “The nominal $20 fee is a small price to pay for peace of mind while traveling overseas.”

Top International Travel Destinations: Book Now for Savings

These are the top international travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for trips over the next 18 months:

  1. Rome, Italy
  2. Cancun, Mexico
  3. London, England
  4. Dublin, Ireland
  5. Paris, France
  6. Montego Bay, Jamaica
  7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  8. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  9. Munich, Germany
  10. Barcelona, Spain

“Millions of Americans are making plans to travel internationally this year and next. For those who will not, AAA’s survey found that one of their top concerns is the expense,” said Twidale. “A trip out of the country doesn’t have to break your bank. There are opportunities to save, and now is the ideal time to do so. Many travel suppliers offer early payment incentives to travelers who book and pay for their trips before the end of the year. Travelers who lock in their plans now can take advantage of great cost savings.”

Tips for International Travel

Planning an international vacation can be a daunting task, but AAA Travel experts advise travelers they don’t have to go it alone. AAA recommends these additional tips to prepare for a trip overseas:

  • Seek the expertise of a knowledgeable travel agent; they can make recommendations and help navigate the myriad options available for international travel, saving time, money and the hassle of planning solo.
  • Review the AAA Travel Guides, recently enhanced with additional international destination information, for tips on where to go, how to get around, what to do and see, and what not to miss on vacation.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your vacation investment and ensure a smooth vacation experience.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and remain vigilant while traveling internationally. Refer to the U.S. Department of State for detailed recommendations and country-specific information. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which makes it easier for the nearest embassy or consulate to contact U.S. citizens in case of an emergency.

Potential Impact of Brexit

Home to AAA’s third-most popular international travel destination, the United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union on Oct. 31. It is not clear whether or how tourism to the region will be affected. However, in the event no deal is struck between the governments of the UK and EU, travelers may experience delays at the border when crossing between the UK and other top destinations in Europe. Additionally, if travelers encounter any political protests or demonstrations, the U.S. Department of State cautions travelers to avoid those areas if possible, and to be careful within the vicinity of demonstrations. Travelers should continue to monitor the United Kingdom travel advisory and seek the expertise of a knowledgeable travel agent.

For more information or to start planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.

Survey Methodology

AAA’s international travel findings are the result of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,002 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted from August 22 to 28, 2019. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1% at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults. Results are weighted by age, gender, region, race/ethnicity and education to be proportionally representative of the U.S. adult population.

AAA provides more than 60 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.

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AAA reveals the ideal time to purchase flights for
Thanksgiving and Christmas starts Sept. 25

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2019) – The much-anticipated Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays may still be months away, but the best time to book flights for these busy travel weeks is quickly approaching. In fact, a recent analysis of AAA Travel’s flight booking data from the last three years reveals that Sept. 25 marks the start of the best booking window for air travel around both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

“Holiday travelers should make their plans now and begin booking their flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas as early as Wednesday, Sept. 25 for the best deals and availability,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Procrastinating travelers may be able to find last-minute deals on flights close to the holidays, as airlines look to fill their last few remaining seats, but flight availability for these peak travel weeks will be very limited by that time.”

Additional Resources

Thanksgiving Insights

Most travelers book their flights for Thanksgiving between Sept. 25 and Oct. 27, which is 28 to 60 days prior to the holiday and offers relatively good prices ($491 on average). Surprisingly, AAA’s analysis found that travelers can find some of the best pricing ($482 on average) seven to 13 days before the holiday, Nov. 11-17 this year. However, limited availability will make seats hard to come by at these discounted rates.

Flying Monday of Thanksgiving week is the best option for travelers to arrive at their destinations before the holiday. It has the lowest average ticket price ($486) prior to the holiday, and is a lighter travel day than later in the week. For travelers more concerned about crowds than cost, the Sunday before the holiday has the highest average price per ticket ($564) and it is consistently the lightest travel day. Travelers can save by traveling on Thanksgiving Day, which has the lowest average price per ticket ($454).

Christmas Insights

While many travelers are focused on Thanksgiving, they would be wise to consider Christmas now as well. AAA found that 61 to 90 days prior to the holiday (between Sept. 26 and Oct. 25) is the sweet spot for Christmas flight bookings, with prices lower on average ($551) than more advanced bookings. However, most travelers book between 28 and 60 days before Christmas — between Oct. 26 and Nov. 27 — and still get a relatively good price ($561 on average). Like Thanksgiving, last-minute Christmas travelers can find the overall best pricing ($488 on average) seven to 13 days before the holiday week, but flight availability is likely to be very limited by that time.

Regardless what day of the week Christmas falls on (a Wednesday this year), most travelers depart two to four days prior to the holiday. These travelers, on average, pay ticket prices of $593 on Dec. 21, $639 on Dec. 22 (the busiest air travel day of Christmas week), and $603 on Dec. 23. However, AAA found that Christmas Eve is the best day to travel. It consistently has the lowest average price per ticket ($527) and is the lightest travel day of the week. Many travelers opt to travel after the Christmas holiday leading up to New Year’s, and they pay a premium to do so. Dec. 26 has the highest average ticket price of the week at $692.

“Last year, AAA projected that 54.3 million Americans would travel over the Thanksgiving holiday and a record-breaking 112.5 million during the longer year-end holiday season,” continued Twidale. “If those trends hold again this year, travelers are in for crowded airports and, possibly, longer wait times. Pack your patience and plan ahead, giving yourself plenty of time at the airport to maintain that holiday cheer.”

When it comes to getting the best value for your travel this holiday season, AAA recommends:

  • Start researching holiday travel options now and book flights by Oct. 27.
  • Consult a knowledgeable travel agent; they can take the guesswork out of researching and evaluating the many available options, saving time, the hassle and the headache.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance for your flight to protect your trip from life’s unexpected surprises that can throw a wrench in your plans.

For more information, visit AAA.com/Travel.

Methodology

AAA analyzed its member flight booking data for travel within the continental United States, from 2016-2018 to determine the best and most popular times to book air travel for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, as well as the prices travelers pay during various advance booking windows. An unweighted, three-year average ticket price was used for this analysis. Since Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday, the full week of Thanksgiving (Sunday through Saturday) was analyzed. For the Christmas holiday, Dec. 19-26 was analyzed, regardless of what day of the week Christmas fell on that year.

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.

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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.

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