Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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

Julie Hall

INRIX predicts travel times could be up to four times longer over the holiday week

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 8, 2018) – AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. For the 48.5 million Americans planning a Thanksgiving 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

“Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel senior vice president. “This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”

The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.

By the Numbers: 2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 48.5 million – will hit the road this Thanksgiving, nearly 5 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air, at 5.4 percent, with 4.27 million travelers.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 1.4 percent, with a total 1.48 million passengers.

Drivers Beware: Thanksgiving’s Terrible Traffic

Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion Thanksgiving week during the early evening commute period, with travel times starting to increase on Monday. Drivers in San Francisco, New York City and Boston will see the largest delays – nearly quadruple normal drive times.

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”

In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.

Worst Times to Hit the Road in America’s Largest Cities
Metro Area Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Worst Hotspot Delay Multiplier
Houston Monday 2:00 – 4:00 PM TX-8 Beltway E, TX249 to I69 2.75
Boston Tuesday 4:00 – 6:00 PM I-495 S, exit 41 to 33 3.5x
Seattle Tuesday 4:00 – 6:00 PM I-5 S, exit 178 to 149 2x
Atlanta Tuesday 5:00 – 7:00 PM I-75 N, exit 216 to 227 2.75x
Washington, D.C. Tuesday 5:00 – 7:00 PM Capital Beltway Clockwise 2.5x
Detroit Tuesday 5:30 – 7:30 PM US-23 N, exit 35 to 49 2.5x
New York Tuesday 6:00 – 8:00 PM I-95 W, exit 7 to Hamilton Bridge 3.5x
San Francisco Wednesday 1:00 – 3:00 PM I-680 N, exit 8 to 21 4x
Chicago Wednesday 2:30 – 4:30 PM I-94 W, exit 40A to 1 2x
Los Angeles Wednesday 2:30 – 4:30 PM I-5 S, exit 79 to 54B 2x

Source: INRIX

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

Worst Travel Times to America’s Busiest Airports
Metro Area Airport Route Worst Time for Travel Travel Time at Peak
Dallas Downtown to DFW via TX-183 W Monday,
5:00 – 7:00 PM
30 min
San Francisco Downtown to SFO via US-101 S Monday,
5:00 – 7:00 PM
24 min
Denver Downtown to DIA via I-70 E and Pena Blvd Monday,
5:30 – 7:30 PM
55 min
New York Downtown to JFK via Long Island Expressway East Tuesday,
5:30 – 7:30 PM
1 hr 19 min
Los Angeles Downtown to LAX via I-110 S Tuesday,
7:00 – 9:00 PM
58 min
Atlanta Downtown to ALT via I-75 S Tuesday,
7:00 – 9:00 PM
34 min
Charlotte Downtown to CLT via US-74 W Tuesday,
8:00 – 10:00 PM
21 min
Las Vegas Downtown to LAS via I-15 S Wednesday,
8:00 – 9:00 AM
27 min
Chicago Downtown to ORD via Kennedy Expressway West Wednesday,
1:30 – 3:30 PM
1 hr 37 min
Seattle Downtown to SEA via I-5 S Wednesday,
8:00 – 10:00 PM
41 min

Source: INRIX

Higher Gas Prices Not Keeping Holiday Travelers Home
Motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a national average of $2.79 as of November 1, 31-cents more than a year ago.

“Motorists have become accustomed to this year’s more expensive gas prices and won’t let higher fuel costs deter them from taking Thanksgiving road trips,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano.

Best Times to Fly and Book Thanksgiving Flights

An analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving are usually the most popular air travel days and have the highest average price per roundtrip ticket. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving Day consistently has the lowest average price per ticket and is the lightest travel day. Travelers looking to save money this holiday season can fly the morning of the holiday and arrive just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

Day 3-Year Average Ticket Price Expected Crowds
Monday (November 19, 2018) $465 Moderate
Tuesday (November 20, 2018) $509 Heavy
Wednesday (November 21, 2018) $507 Heavy
Thursday (November 22, 2018) $446 Light

 

Most travelers booked their flights for Thanksgiving between September 23 and October 25, paying an average ticket price of $478 roundtrip. Procrastinating travelers who still need to book their flights may find cheaper airfares, paying an average ticket price of $459 between now and November 15. However, last-minute flight availability will likely be very limited.

Car Rental Costs Fall, Hotel Prices Mixed

Travelers can expect to save on car rentals this Thanksgiving holiday season. At $63, the average daily rate is 10 percent less than last year, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index. Travelers can also save on AAA Three Diamond hotels, with an average nightly rate of $166, a decline of six percent compared to last year. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has increased six percent with an average nightly cost of $124.

Top 10 Thanksgiving Destinations

Many travelers will seek iconic American cities, theme parks and other warm-weather destinations this Thanksgiving. Orlando, New York City and Anaheim top this year’s top 10 holiday destinations based on AAA’s online and travel agency air and tour bookings. Punta Cana, Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami are all gaining popularity as holiday spots compared with last year. 

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. New York, New York
  3. Anaheim, California
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada
  6. Cancun, Mexico
  7. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  8. Honolulu, Hawaii
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Miami, Florida

AAA to Rescue Nearly 360,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Thanksgiving. 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.

Download the AAA Mobile App Before Thanksgiving
Before heading out on a trip for Thanksgiving, 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.

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 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast is available here.

About AAA:

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 59 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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

 

Top Travel Suppliers and Agents Honored at AAA Travel Conference

October 30th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallPHOENIX, ARIZ. (October 30, 2018) – AAA Travel, one of the largest leisure travel agencies in North America, hosted its annual conference Oct. 21-23 in Phoenix, Arizona. With a theme of “Futurescape: Convergence + Relevance,” the event focused on the forces shaping the future of the travel industry, from technological advancements to evolving consumer expectations. The conference featured world-renowned speakers from across the travel industry, including Pete Rose, executive vice president, Kantar Consulting; Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line; Wayne Best, Visa’s chief economist; and futurist Chris Riddell, an expert on emerging trends in the connected world.

“We are seeing a convergence of concepts that impact our business, like an expansion of travel planning resources and channels; increasing ease of access for members, which is not limited to technology; and the transformative nature of travel experiences,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel in his conference keynote speech. “AAA members trust us to understand and handle all of the diverse inputs that are at play in vacation planning, including providing expertise on destinations, finding the best value, recommending quality accommodations, and delivering ‘braggable’ experiences.”

During the conference, AAA also 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, two of AAA’s top-performing agents, Kelly Brock and Henry Dennis of AAA Carolinas, 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. Our members benefit from these strong partnerships and our shared commitment to providing world-class service and amazing vacation experiences,” said Sutherland. “We are also honored to recognize our two top travel agents with 2018 Superlative Awards, based not only on remarkable sales levels, but more importantly, their commitment to personalized vacation planning on behalf of our members.”

2018 Partner of the Year Awards

(Photos available upon request)

Ocean Cruise Partner of the Year:
Princess Cruises

River Cruise Partner of the Year:
AmaWaterways

Guided Tour Partner of the Year:
Member Choice Vacations

Independent Tour Partner of the Year:
Rocky Mountaineer

Lodging Partner of the Year:
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Marketing:
Cruise:                  AmaWaterways
Tour:                     Rocky Mountaineer
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Member Service:
Cruise:                  Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Tour:                     Insight Vacations
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Travel Agency Support:
Cruise:                  Celebrity Cruises
Tour:                     Alexander+Roberts
Lodging:               Marriott International

2018 Travel Agent Superlative Awards

Kelly Brock, AAA Carolinas
Highest Sales, Highest Revenue and Highest Preferred Cruise Sales

Kelly Brock is a 30-year veteran of the travel industry, having served the last 18 years at AAA Carolinas in Bluffton, South Carolina. This is her fifth time being honored as a Superlative Award winner. Her extensive travel experience has taken her to exotic destinations around the world, as well as many European countries, Caribbean islands, and all throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Her passion lies in adventure travel, river cruising and luxury travel.

Henry Dennis, AAA Carolinas
Highest Preferred Tour Sales

Henry Dennis, also a five-time Superlative Award winner, has more than 30 years’ experience in the travel industry. He has also been named by Travel Agent Magazine as a “Top 25 All Star” twice in the past three years. He is a Certified Travel Counselor and Accredited Cruise Counselor. He also holds multiple Destination Specialist and Lifestyle 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 22 years.

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, 2017 through June 30, 2018. Thousands of agents were eligible for the awards, and AAA clubs nominated their top achievers.

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.

Cruise Travelers Looking for More Luxury

October 16th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 11, 2018) – Mega-size cruise ships that can carry upwards of 5,000 passengers are becoming more common on the high seas and are popular with a wide range of travelers, including those looking for a premium cruise vacation. At the same time, an analysis of AAA Travel’s cruise booking data from the last 12 months reveals an emerging trend of vacationers increasingly selecting smaller-ship voyages on luxury ocean and river cruise lines. AAA Travel’s cruise sales have increased substantially in the last year, while bookings of suites on large cruise ships and sailings on small, luxury cruise lines have exploded, by high double-digit percentages in some cases. 

Additional Resources

“Many cruise ships today are like resorts, holding thousands of passengers and offering countless opportunities for entertainment and places to dine,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “Meanwhile, a growing number of travelers is looking for an intimate experience, and they’re turning to smaller, ultra-premium cruises, demonstrating tremendous interest in cruise lines like AmaWaterways, Seabourn Cruise Line, Azamara Club Cruises, Viking River Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, and others.”

As some travelers select smaller, luxury cruises, mass-market cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are introducing bigger, more expansive suites on new oceangoing ships. Many suite guests now have exclusive access to specialty restaurants, private pools and lounges, and in some cases, even the dedicated service of a private butler while onboard.

“Cruise travelers today are not shying away from paying for premium experiences,” continued Sutherland. “Whether opting for an upgraded suite class on a large cruise ship, or increasingly, splurging for all-inclusive luxury on a small riverboat, travelers are seeking special opportunities to elevate their cruise vacation experience.”

The cruise industry is experiencing strong growth across the board, as cruise lines invest billions of dollars in new ships and continue evolving their offerings to attract more travelers. In 2019, the North American cruise market capacity is projected to grow seven percent, adding space for one million additional passengers annually on seven new ships. According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 26.7 million passengers sailed on an ocean cruise globally in 2017, and that number is expected to climb to 28 million in 2018.

AAA Travel experts have identified these additional trends that are transforming the cruise industry:

  • Changing Destinations: Europe, Alaska, the Caribbean and Hawaii remain the most popular cruise destinations, but travelers’ preferences are starting to shift. AAA Travel bookings for cruises to Europe and Hawaii are growing substantially, compared to other popular destinations. While still popular, Alaskan cruise bookings have started to level off some, following several years of surging interest in the destination.
  • Leaps in Technology: Responding to the growing demand of travelers who wish to stay connected to their devices and social media, cruise lines have invested significantly in technology to enhance the onboard experience. This includes adding high-speed Wi-Fi; high-tech, interactive sign boards throughout the ships; and free smartphone apps that allow passengers to customize their own daily itineraries, exchange messages with other passengers and keep in touch with friends and family back home.
  • Something for Everyone: Both ocean and river cruise lines are tailoring their offerings to appeal to more niche audiences. For example, Viking River Cruises has adopted an adults-only policy on its ships, while others, like AmaWaterways, are adding connecting staterooms to appeal more to families and multigenerational groups.

Travel planning comes with a myriad of options and can be overwhelming. To ease the planning process, AAA offers these top tips for cruisers:

  • Work with a travel agent. Travel agents work with cruise lines every day and often have access to added benefits and deals that may not be available elsewhere.
  • Book early and be flexible to take advantage of special promotions and secure first choice of ship, itinerary, cabin location and sailing date.
  • Consider the full cost of a cruise. Most cruises are not all-inclusive, so travelers should factor in what they will likely spend on specialty dining, beverages and spa services. Added-value promotions, such as those that include beverage packages, are popular options to consider.
  • Reserve shore excursions directly through a travel agent when booking a cruise, rather than onboard the ship or in the destination, as many popular activities sell out quickly.
  • Fly to the embarkation port the day before the cruise, not the morning of departure. Cruise ships have firm departure times and won’t wait for a delayed flight.
  • Check in for the cruise online before leaving to save time at the cruise ship terminal.

For more information or to begin planning a cruise vacation, visit AAA.com/cruises.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 59 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Three-quarters of Americans would consider working with a travel agent, according to AAA

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2018) – The vast majority of Americans (75 percent) would consider working with a travel agent to plan their vacations, while some 27 million travelers plan to do so just within the next year, according to new research from AAA Travel. The outlook remains positive for years to come, with younger travelers embracing the expertise of travel agents. In fact, millennials are just as likely as baby boomers to say they are planning to use a travel agent for a trip in the next 12 months.

Additional Resources

  • Graphics: 1 | 2

Despite continual advances in technology that allow travelers to plan and book vacations for themselves online, nearly half of Americans (46 percent) feel that working with a travel agent adds value to their trip. Travelers’ top reasons for considering whether to consult a travel agent are to ensure a smooth experience on more complicated and expensive trips, and for recommendations and help arranging special activities and experiences.

“Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, first time overseas or an annual family getaway, travelers want to make the most of out of any trip and are relying on travel agents to ensure that happens,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “Although travelers today have myriad ways in which to book their vacations, they recognize the value of working with a professional, experienced travel agent to make sure there is a return on their travel investment and a lifetime of memories to be made.”

Although travelers increasingly recognize the value of travel agents, there is still more opportunity for vacationers to reap the full benefits. Nearly half of travelers (49 percent) would consider working with a travel agent for an international vacation, but just one-quarter (22 percent) would do so for a vacation within the United States.

“Even when staying stateside, travelers can benefit significantly from working with a travel agent,” continued Sutherland. “AAA recommends consulting a knowledgeable travel agent before starting to plan your next vacation.”

While more than half of Americans would consider working with a travel agent to find the best deals, secure upgrades and additional money-saving travel perks, AAA encourages travelers to keep in mind these additional benefits:

  • Save time. Travel agents can take the guesswork out of researching and evaluating the many options that are available to travelers, saving time and the hassle that often come with vacation planning.
  • Expert recommendations. A knowledgeable travel agent will make personalized recommendations and offer tips on destinations, what to see and do while on vacation, the best and worst times to travel, and much more.
  • They’ve been there and done that. Travel agents are often well-traveled, having visited the destinations and experienced the vacations they recommend to travelers.
  • Reduce stress. Travel agents can help with all the details—advising travelers on everything from passport renewal requirements to recommendations for obtaining an International Driving Permit before traveling overseas—taking the stress out of the process.
  • Help with the unexpected. Between weather delays, natural disasters, flight cancellations, lost luggage and much more, a lot can happen on vacation. Travel agents act as the traveler’s advocate in the event something goes wrong, helping navigate the challenge of making any necessary itinerary changes.

AAA’s research findings are the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,002 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted August 23-26, 2018. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 59 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

AAA data reveals travelers increasingly consider insurance as more take expensive, international vacations

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (July 31, 2018) – As international travel grows in popularity, Americans are choosing to protect their vacation investments by purchasing travel insurance. According to a recent AAA Travel survey, nearly 4 in 10 Americans (38 percent) are likely to purchase travel insurance for future international trips. For those travelers, trip cancellation protection is the most valuable benefit with 9 in 10 (88 percent) of those likely to purchase insurance saying that getting their money back, if they cancel a trip, is their top priority.

“More than 30 million family travelers will visit an international destination this year, 9 percent more than just two years ago,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel and Publishing. “There are just too many unknowns, like family emergencies and natural disasters, which can throw an unexpected wrench into a planned vacation. Travelers are increasingly not taking chances and they’re choosing to invest in the value and peace of mind that travel insurance can provide, for international as well as domestic and cruise vacations.”

Additional Resources

  • Infographics: 1 | 2

After the cost of their trip (70 percent), the leading influencers for travelers deciding whether to purchase travel insurance are: personal or family health concerns (69 percent); how far in advance the trip is booked (61 percent); and recommendations to purchase insurance by friends or family (57 percent).

In addition to the information collected in the survey, AAA Travel data reflects an increase in demand for travel insurance and members choosing to protect their more expensive vacations. AAA’s domestic and international travel insurance sales have increased more than 20 percent year-to-date, with 13 percent more members overall opting to purchase travel insurance last year compared to 2016. In 2017, AAA members insured trips that were approximately 18 percent more expensive than the previous year, according to AAA’s 30-year travel insurance partner Allianz Global Assistance.

“The relatively small upfront cost of travel insurance can pay back dividends in the event of sudden and unforeseen circumstances before or during a vacation. As policies and coverage options vary, travelers should consult a knowledgeable travel agent to explore their travel insurance options,” continued Sutherland.

AAA encourages travelers to keep in mind these advantages of travel insurance to protect their investment in domestic and international trips, as well as cruise vacations. After all, life is unpredictable and some trips need to be cancelled.

  • You landed, your bags didn’t. Airlines mishandled more than 22 million bags in 2017. Travel insurance can provide coverage to replace needed items if luggage is delayed, damaged or stolen.
  • Sick happens. Insurance may help cover medical expenses while traveling, internationally and in the United States.  Many hospitals outside of the country require cash payments before providing treatment.
  • Health insurance. Most health insurance policies don’t cover international travel. Travel insurance can help cover medical expenses and costly medical evacuation back to the United States in emergencies.
  • Flight delays and cancellations. Airlines may not cover all the costs associated with a delayed or cancelled flight. Travel insurance can help reimburse expenses such as rebooking fees, meals and accommodations.
  • Economic uncertainties. The loss of a job or other income may mean having to postpone a trip planned in advance. Travel insurance can help travelers recoup their costs when funds are tight.

AAA’s travel insurance research findings are the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted June 21-24, 2018. This study has an average statistical error of ±4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Julie HallINRIX predicts travel times during the holiday week will double compared to normal trips

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 21, 2018) – A record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Independence Day holiday, an increase of more than 5 percent compared with last year and the highest number since AAA started tracking 18 years ago. For the 39.7 million Americans planning a Fourth of July road trip, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be twice as long than the normal trip, with Tuesday being the busiest day.

Additional Resources

“This Independence Day will be one for the record books, as more Americans take to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways than ever before,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “Confident consumers with additional disposable income will look to spend on travel this holiday, building on an already busy summer travel season.”

In addition to strong economic variables, the expected increase in travelers this year is helped by Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend before or after the holiday. The Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8.

By the Numbers: 2018 Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 39.7 million – will hit the road this Independence Day, 5.1 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: A record-breaking 3.8 million people will travel by air, a 7.9 percent increase and the ninth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 5.8 percent to a total of 3.5 million passengers.

Drivers Beware: Terrible Tuesday

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion over the holiday week on Tuesday, July 3 in the late afternoon – as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Travel times could increase two-fold in the major metros across the U.S., with drivers in Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. experiencing the most significant delays.

“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros,” says Scott Sedlik, general manager and vice president – public sector, INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands down be the worst time to be on the road. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”

Worst Days/Times to Travel
Metro Area Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip
San Francisco, CA Tuesday, July 3 3:00 – 6:00 PM 1.7x
Seattle, WA Tuesday, July 3 3:00 – 6:00 PM 1.8x
Detroit, MI Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.6x
Los Angeles, CA Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 5:30 PM 2x
Boston, MA Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 6:30 PM 1.8x
New York, NY Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 6:30 PM 2.3x
Atlanta, GA Tuesday, July 3 4:00 – 6:00 PM 1.6x
Chicago, IL Tuesday, July 3 4:00 – 6:00 PM 1.7x
Washington, DC Tuesday, July 3 4:00 – 6:00 PM 2.1x
Houston, TX Tuesday, July 3 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.8x
      Source: INRIX

Gas Prices Starting to Stabilize Heading into Independence Day
Gas prices have slowly but steadily started to fall since the 2018 high of $2.97 set over Memorial Day weekend. Since then, the national gas price has dropped nine cents to $2.88 (as of June 20), which is 59 cents more than one year ago. However, the higher prices are having little effect on travelers this Independence Day, with record number of travelers still planning to hit the road this year.

Travelers Paying Less for Airfare, More for Car Rentals and Hotels
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay an average $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. That is the lowest Independence Day airfare in five years, and 9 percent less than last year.

However, travelers can expect to pay more to rent a car and stay at mid-range hotels this Independence Day. At $66, the average daily cost of a car rental is a slight increase of 2 percent over last year. The average nightly rate at AAA Two Diamond hotels is $147, 11 percent more than last year, while AAA Three Diamond hotels will average $187, a 2 percent year-over-year increase.

Theme Parks and Europe are Major Draws this Independence Day
This Independence Day, travelers will flock to theme parks in Orlando and southern California, while many others are heading west. Alaska cruises departing from Seattle, Anchorage and Vancouver round out the top five U.S. travel destinations for the holiday. For those venturing overseas, Europe is a major draw, with Rome, London, Dublin and Paris all making the list of top international travel destinations for Independence Day.

Top Domestic Travel Destinations Top International Travel Destinations
1.    Orlando, Florida 1.    Rome, Italy
2.    Anaheim, California 2.    London, England
3.    Seattle, Washington 3.    Dublin, Ireland
4.    Anchorage, Alaska 4.    Vancouver, Canada
5.    Honolulu, Hawaii 5.    Paris, France

Source: AAA’s advance travel bookings

AAA to Rescue More Than 362,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists at the roadside around the Independence Day holiday. 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.

Download the AAA Mobile App Before Independence Day
Before heading out on a trip for Independence Day, 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.

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 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

About AAA:

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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

Hertz and AAA Celebrate 40 Years of Partnership

June 14th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallESTERO, Fla., June 14, 2018 – Hertz (NYSE: HTZ), one of the world’s most iconic and recognized car rental brands, and AAA, North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, are celebrating a major milestone this year—the 40th anniversary of their partnership.

“As AAA’s longest-tenured partner, Hertz shares the association’s commitment to providing our members with exceptional value and service,” said AAA President and CEO Marshall L. Doney. “We’re proud to celebrate 40 years of collaboration with Hertz, and look forward to further growing our partnership in the years to come.”

The relationship began in 1978, when AAA began providing members enhanced value when renting with Hertz at the airport. Fifteen years later, Hertz became AAA’s exclusive rental car partner, and in 1998, the program expanded to include off-airport rental locations. Since then, the partnership has grown to extend across multiple AAA products and service areas.

In 1999, for example, Hertz Car Sales was added to the AAA program, providing exclusive discounts to members on its extensive selection of pre-owned vehicles. In 2001, AAA Diamond Ratings were added as an enhancement to Hertz NeverLost navigation systems. In 2013, Hertz’s Dollar and Thrifty car rental brands were added to the AAA portfolio, offering members more choices in car rentals.

Today, the partnership provides AAA members a suite of benefits and savings when renting from Hertz. Discounts and benefits for members are available on daily, weekly, weekend and monthly rates when including a designated AAA discount code in the reservation and presenting a AAA membership card at the time of rental. Benefits include:

  • Savings up to 20 percent off the base rate rental.
  • No charge for additional drivers who are also AAA members.
  • Free use of one child, infant or booster seat.
  • Young renter fee waived for members ages 20-24.

Additionally, AAA members who join Hertz Gold Plus Rewards®, Hertz’s award-winning loyalty program, can enjoy a faster and more rewarding car rental experience with benefits that include skipping the counter, exclusive access to member-only discounts, complimentary upgrades to premium vehicles, and the opportunity to redeem points for free rental days.  

The partnership extends beyond exclusive benefits and savings for AAA members as Hertz and AAA have partnered on distracted driving awareness campaigns to support a safe travel experience.

“Hertz and AAA share similar goals in delivering excellent service and ensuring people have safe and enjoyable travel experiences,” said Kathryn V. Marinello, president and chief executive officer of Hertz. “Throughout our 40-year partnership with AAA, we have continuously strived to provide members with valuable benefits and savings that are unrivaled in our industry. We are honored to be celebrating this partnership and are especially proud to continue offering best-in-class service. We look forward to building and growing our partnership over the next 40 years.”

This year marks another significant milestone in Hertz’s history as the company celebrates its 100th anniversary. Strategic partnerships such as the one with AAA continue to underscore Hertz’s longstanding commitment to frequent travelers and its legacy of delivering superior service. With more than 10,000 locations worldwide, and a large and diverse fleet of top-rated vehicles, Hertz can get travelers where they want to go in the car that’s right for them.

About Hertz

The Hertz Corporation, a subsidiary of Hertz Global Holdings, Inc., operates the Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty vehicle rental brands in approximately 10,200 corporate and franchisee locations throughout North America, Europe, The Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The Hertz Corporation is one of the largest worldwide airport general use vehicle rental companies, and the Hertz brand is one of the most recognized in the world. Product and service initiatives such as Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Ultimate Choice, Carfirmations, Mobile Wi-Fi and unique vehicles offered through the Adrenaline, Dream, Green and Prestige Collections set Hertz apart from the competition. Additionally, The Hertz Corporation owns the vehicle leasing and fleet management leader Donlen, operates the Firefly vehicle rental brand and Hertz 24/7 car sharing business in international markets and sells vehicles through Hertz Car Sales. For more information about The Hertz Corporation, visit: www.hertz.com.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Julie Hall

INRIX predicts travel delays could be up to three times longer than normal over the holiday week

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 14, 2018) – Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and Americans will kick off the season by traveling in near-record numbers. According to AAA, more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than a dozen years. With nearly 2 million additional people taking to planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be up to three times longer than normal, with the busiest days being Thursday and Friday (May 24-25) as commuters mix with holiday travelers.

Additional Resources

“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

By the numbers: 2018 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 36.6 million – will hit the road this Memorial Day, 4.7 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: 3.1 million people will travel by air, a 6.8 percent increase and the fifth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 2.4 percent to 1.8 million passengers.

Drivers Beware: Worst Times to Hit the Road

For the 36.6 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 24 and Friday, May 25 – 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 could see three times the delay.

“Ranked the most congested country in the world, U.S. drivers are all too familiar with sitting in traffic,” said Graham Cookson, Chief Economist and Head of Research, INRIX. “Drivers should expect congestion across a greater number of days than in previous years, with the getaway period starting on Wednesday, May 23. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commute times in major cities altogether – traveling late morning or early afternoon – or plan alternative routes.”

Worst Days/Times to Travel

Metro Area

Worst Day for Travel

Worst Time for Travel

Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip

Atlanta, GA

Thursday, May 24

3:30 – 5:30 PM

1.6x

Houston, TX

Thursday, May 24

4:30 – 6:00 PM

1.5x

Boston, MA

Thursday, May 24

4:30 – 6:30 PM

1.8x

Washington, DC

Thursday, May 24

4:30 – 7:00 PM

2.3x

San Francisco, CA

Friday, May 25

3:00 – 5:30 PM

1.7x

Los Angeles, CA

Friday, May 25

3:30 – 5:30 PM

1.9x

New York, NY

Friday, May 25

3:30 – 6:30 PM

2.7x

Detroit, MI

Friday, May 25

4:00 – 5:30 PM

1.5x

Chicago, IL

Friday, May 25

4:00 – 6:00 PM

2.1x

Seattle, WA

Friday, May 25

4:00 – 6:00 PM

1.8x

     

Source: INRIX

Higher gas prices not deterring travelers
The 88 percent of travelers choosing to drive will pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. Gas prices averaged $2.72 in April, an increase of 33 cents from last year, due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline demand and shrinking global supply. However, these higher prices are not keeping holiday travelers home, with automobile travel expected to increase for the fourth straight year, by nearly 5 percent over last Memorial Day.

Lower hotel, airline and car rental costs make up for higher gas prices

While road trippers will pay higher prices at the gas pump this year, travelers can expect some relief in their wallets when paying for airfare, car rentals and most mid-range hotels. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are 7 percent lower than last Memorial Day, landing at an average price of $168 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. At $59, the average daily cost of a car rental this Memorial Day is the lowest rate in the past four years and 11 percent cheaper than last year.

Travelers will also save on AAA Three Diamond hotels this Memorial Day, which are trending 14 percent less expensive than last year, with an average rate of $186 nightly. Meanwhile, AAA Two Diamond hotels are 7 percent more expensive than last Memorial Day, with an average nightly cost of $151.

Top Memorial Day travel destinations
Orlando again tops this year’s list of the most-visited Memorial Day destinations in the U.S., based on AAA advance travel bookings. Cruises to Alaska, originating in Seattle and Anchorage, as well as warm-weather destinations in Hawaii, Las Vegas, Phoenix and southern California top travelers’ domestic itineraries this summer.

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

For those planning to kick off their summers with an overseas vacation, Europe is a major draw this year. Rome, Dublin and London are the most popular international travel destinations for Memorial Day weekend.

According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Memorial Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Las Vegas (LAS), Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Kahului, HI (OGG). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be May 25, with an average rental length of nearly six days, as travelers look to take advantage of the long holiday weekend.

AAA to rescue more than 340,000 motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 340,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready. Make a good B-E-T to stay on the road this summer by having your Battery tested, looking for Engine coolant leaks and checking Tire condition. 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.

Download the AAA Mobile app before Memorial Day road trips
Before heading out on a road trip this Memorial Day, 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.

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 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

Summer Travelers Seek Fun in the Sun

May 1st, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (May 1, 2018) – Millions of Americans are counting down the days until their summer vacations, with most U.S. travelers planning trips to warm-weather destinations. Orlando has retained its top spot as the most visited domestic travel destination, while Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii, have both grown in popularity compared with last summer.

Additional Resources

  • Inforgraphics: 1 | 2

“This is shaping up to be another banner season for travel as Americans look to get out and enjoy themselves in the summer sun,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “Travelers are making plans now to visit theme parks, sail away on cruise vacations, relax at the beach and explore cities in the U.S. and across the globe.”

Domestic Travel

The top domestic summer travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for trips June 1 through August 15, are:

  1. Orlando, Florida (1)
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii (4)
  3. Anchorage, Alaska (2)
  4. Seattle, Washington (3)
  5. Los Angeles/Anaheim, California (5)
  6. Maui, Hawaii (7)
  7. Fairbanks, Alaska (6)
  8. Las Vegas, Nevada (8)
  9. Boston, Massachusetts (13)
  10. Salt Lake City, Utah (14)

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking.

Road trips remain the most popular family vacation option for those staying stateside, despite higher gas prices. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those planning a family trip are expected to hit the roads this year.

International Travel

“Many Americans, including those traveling as a family, will venture overseas for their summer vacations,” continued Sutherland. “More than one-third of families who are planning a trip together this year will visit an international destination.”

Rome has regained its standing as the most popular locale for international summer vacations, while Dublin and Paris both continue to climb in the rankings. Beach destinations in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico can also expect an influx of travelers this summer.

AAA’s top international summer travel destinations include:

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

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking.

Summer Travel Tips

AAA’s travel experts offer their top tips for travelers planning summer vacations, including:

  • Plan ahead – Book early for the best deals and availability on hotels, airfare, car rentals and more.
  • Work with a travel agent – Travel agents often have access to extra amenities and added benefits to help plan the perfect summer vacation. They can also be a tremendous help in the event something changes or goes wrong on your trip.
  • Be flexible – If your schedule permits, avoid traveling during peak times this summer, including Memorial Day weekend and around Independence Day, to encounter less congestion and fewer crowds.
  • Safety first – If driving, get plenty of rest before setting out on your road trip. Schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to remain alert and avoid driving drowsy.
  • Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Pack an emergency kit that includes 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.
  • Pack your patience – Summer is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Expect heavy crowds and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.

To help travelers plan their summer vacations, AAA’s professional inspectors have assessed nearly 59,000 hotels and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Every AAA Inspected & Approved hotel and restaurant is acceptable for the type of experience it provides. Ratings, from One to Five Diamonds, help travelers find the level of services, facilities and amenities they’re looking for on their vacation. Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments in the AAA Mobile app, AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner.

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

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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