Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Road trips reign supreme for family getaways

Julie Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Julie Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

About AAA:

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

About Samantha Brown:

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

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

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. 

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“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.

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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.

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.

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“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.

Experts share favorite Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants for holiday celebrations

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 25, 2017) – As millions of people make plans to travel this holiday season, hotels and restaurants are unpacking decorations and spicing up menus to help their guests get into the holiday spirit. Travelers and diners looking for the comforts of home without the stress of hosting during the holidays can find festive and family-friendly activities, extravagant light displays and décor, sensational seasonal menus and much more at properties across the United States and Canada.

Additional Resources

To help those travelers who are looking for a little extra holiday magic, AAA’s professional inspectors, who conduct annual evaluations of nearly 59,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels and restaurants, have selected 12 of their favorite festive Diamond Rated properties to visit this holiday season.

Hotels with Holiday Cheer for the Entire Family – Go ice skating, take a sleigh ride or join in a “reindog” parade. These AAA inspector picks offer visitors hands-on ways to enjoy the holidays away from home throughout the season.

Set at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, this gorgeous property is perfect for skiers. Activities in the nearby village include sleigh rides, ice skating and plenty of options for shopping and dining. Visitors can also enjoy daily holiday arts and crafts and other family-friendly activities, a special Christmas dinner, as well as an adults-only New Year’s Eve gala. –Inspector #450

Northern California’s wine region is open for business – wineries and resorts are ready to welcome visitors this holiday season despite recent wildfires. And one of the best things people can do to support the people of Napa is by spending time in the region, helping local businesses get back on their feet. On weekend afternoons in December, hop aboard a festively decorated trolley playing seasonal music, which runs between destination spots like the Oxbow Market and Historic Napa Mill. This cozy bed and breakfast, near the heart of Napa, has a cheerful holiday environment with a beautifully decorated tree and miniature town. –Inspector #569

This property, centrally located in the winter wonderland of Aspen, is lavishly adorned with holiday décor and complete with a mini-gingerbread village. Visitors can enjoy carriage rides through town with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and the hotel provides treats for Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve. –Inspector #599

This exclusive, luxury resort features a full calendar of family-friendly offerings, including holiday movie screenings, elf tuck-ins, ornament decorating, a “reindog” parade, gingerbread house and ornament decorating, a Christmas Eve yule log ceremony, Christmas Day brunch and much more. –Inspector #43

Bright Lights, Winter Wonderland – Immerse yourself in extravagant light displays and décor that create a magical environment. Decked out with hundreds of thousands of lights, ornaments and garlands, these AAA inspector picks offer a holiday feast for the eyes.

AAA’s inspector recommends planning your visit after the first week in December, when this beautifully restored historic country inn is turned into a holiday wonderland. The public areas and guestrooms are charmingly decorated with decked-out Christmas trees, a not-so-small collection of Santa figurines and a lighted village display. Guests are welcomed with eggnog and holiday-decorated cookies throughout the season. –Inspector #87

Located just steps from Rockefeller Center, this hotel is regally decorated for the holidays with its own 30-foot Christmas tree featuring 30,000 ornaments and more than 70,000 lights. Enjoy a cup of eggnog or spiced cider, go for a spin around the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink, then stroll by the spectacularly decorated department store windows nearby. –Inspector #592

  • AAA Five Diamond Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada

With seasonal sculptures created from thousands of fresh flowers and plants, the resort’s 14,000-square-foot conservatory is a floral fairytale. During the holidays, visitors can enjoy the florally crafted enormous polar bears, life-size snow globes and penguins on display. The lobby and shopping areas are also festively decorated. –Inspector #39

This luxurious resort creates a winter dreamscape with nearly 200,000 lights, ribbons, garlands, wreaths and gloriously decorated trees. Guests can take part in myriad activities, 12 days of holiday themed events and Christmas Day brunch or dinner. –Inspector #76

Holiday Delights for Foodies and More – Sensational holiday-themed menus and settings at these Diamond Rated restaurants and hotels offer festive treats for the discerning foodie to the casual diner looking for a flavorful escape from the usual.

Each Sunday and Wednesday in December, the inn offers a Dickens Dinner with roast duck and pheasant accompanied by a reading from Dickens’ novel, “A Christmas Carol.” Guests can go for a stroll along wooded trails adorned with icicles and lovely buildings set among the Hocking Hills. –Inspector #10

The beautiful dining room’s upscale western flair is transformed with festive decorations and seasonal menus for the holiday season. Sleigh rides at night take guests through a winter light display, complete with hot chocolate and blankets for snuggling. –Inspector #450

  • AAA Four Diamond Circa 1886 in Charleston, South Carolina

This renovated carriage house at the historic Wentworth Mansion offers an intimate dining setting. An annual Dickens Dinner includes a retelling of “A Christmas Carol” with a four-course dinner prepared by the award-winning chef. –Inspector #43

This charming Victorian home decorates every square inch with tasteful holiday décor. Diners can warm up and enjoy a holiday-themed tea with options like gingerbread cheesecake and tea sandwiches with roasted turkey and apple cranberry mustard. –Inspector #593

The year-end holiday season is one of the busiest times of year, when millions of travelers take to the roads and air to spend time with family and friends. To help those who will set out on a holiday getaway this year, AAA’s travel experts offer these travel tips:

  • 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 a magical holiday getaway. They can also be a tremendous help in the event something changes or goes wrong on your trip.
  • Be flexible – If your schedule permits, consider traveling on the holiday itself to encounter less congestion and fewer crowds.
  • Safety first – Get plenty of rest before setting out on a holiday trip. If driving, schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to remain alert and avoid driving drowsy.
  • Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – Motorists should check the car battery and windshield wipers, inspect tires and pack a winter emergency kit containing a snow shovel, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, warning devices and extra warm clothing for everyone riding in the vehicle.
  • Pack your patience – The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for traveling. Expect heavy crowds and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.

For more information to plan a holiday getaway, visit AAA.com/HolidayDiamonds.

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 and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Travel Experts Offer Tips on Caribbean Travel Following Recent Hurricanes

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 12, 2017) – Travelers be well advised, the Caribbean is open for business despite last month’s hurricanes. Fortunately, most Caribbean islands did not see major damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, making the region a top AAA recommended destination for fall and winter getaways.

“The Caribbean remains home to some of the world’s most popular travel destinations,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “Vacationers, travel suppliers and the islands welcome guests to enjoy the relaxation, culture and recreation of the Caribbean.”

AAA experts recommend that travelers look to these popular Caribbean destinations, which sustained minimal or no damage, for their upcoming travels:

  • Antigua
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire
  • Curaçao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Saint Lucia
  • St. Kitts & Nevis
  • St. Vincent & The Grenadines
  • The Cayman Islands
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks & Caicos
  • St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Additionally, the Florida Keys have reopened to travelers ahead of schedule following Hurricane Irma, and Mexico saw little impact to its tourism infrastructure following two recent earthquakes and Hurricane Katia, which made landfall in the eastern part of the country.

“While recovery efforts are ongoing, we do not anticipate that the recent storms will have a long-term impact on the travel industry. As the islands work towards a full recovery, AAA shares our care and concern to everyone affected,” added Sutherland. “In addition to making a donation to the recovery charity of your choice, we also can help the Caribbean recover by stimulating their local economies, which rely heavily on travel and tourism.”

For anyone planning a trip during hurricane season (June 1 – November 30) or to a destination recently affected by a storm, AAA Travel experts offer the following tips:

  • Work with a travel agent – A trusted travel agent can serve as the travelers’ advocate, helping them remain informed and assisting with any itinerary changes that need to be made in the event of a storm.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance – Travel insurance is designed to offer protection against sudden and unforeseen events, such as hurricanes. Typically, travelers must have purchased travel insurance prior to a storm being “named” to receive hurricane-related coverage benefits.
  • Remain informed – Before, during and after a storm, travelers should check with their travel providers—including hotels, airlines, car rental companies, cruise lines, and tour operators—for the latest updates to itineraries or cancellation and rebooking policies.
  • Be flexible and remember to pack your patience – In the event of a hurricane, travel plans may be disrupted, even for those not traveling to an affected area. For example, cruise ships often adjust their itineraries to avoid storms or help accommodate travelers on other routes.
  • Share your plans – Before any international trip, enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This makes it easier for the nearest embassy or consulate to contact U.S. citizens in case of an emergency.
  • Check for Diamonds – AAA’s professional inspectors conduct on-site evaluations of nearly 59,000 Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants across the Caribbean, United States, Canada and Mexico. If something goes wrong at one of these properties, AAA’s member relations team is available to help members resolve their concerns.

Travelers should also remember that Atlantic hurricane season continues through November 30, and it’s important for anyone traveling during this time to heed the advice of travel experts and plan ahead for any unforeseen severe weather.

For more information or 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.

AAA: Americans Are Falling for Autumn Travel

September 19th, 2017 by AAA

Fewer crowds, mild weather and budget-friendly options attract fall travelers

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 19, 2017) – Summer’s over and kids are back in school, but many people are making plans for at least one more getaway this fall, before the arrival of another busy holiday season. According to a new survey from AAA, more than one in four Americans (28 percent) expects to take a vacation this year between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Additional Resources

  • Infographics: 1 | 2 | 3

“We have seen strong demand for travel throughout the course of the year, and Americans are discovering that traveling during the fall season is a best kept secret,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “Travelers increasingly prioritize immersive travel experiences and autumn offers more opportunities for them to explore a destination’s local culture, thanks to fewer crowds and mild weather.”

In fact, Americans say the top benefits of taking a fall trip include:

  • Fewer crowds and children (68 percent);
  • Weather that is more favorable (63 percent); and,
  • The opportunity to find better value for the cost of their trip (55 percent).

 

“Savvy travelers can often find lower prices on everything from airfare and hotels to cruises and vacation packages, as travel companies offer incentives to fill their vacancies during the fall,” continued Sutherland.

Road trips are the preferred activity for fall travelers, with 62 percent of those planning a vacation intending to pack up their cars and hit the road. Thanks to milder weather, outdoor events such as fall festivals and visits to national and state parks are particularly popular with travelers this time of year. Twenty-six percent of those who are planning a fall vacation will take a trip to view fall foliage, a favorite pastime from the northeast and New England, to the mountains of North Carolina and Colorado.

The majority of fall travelers will stay within the United States, with Orlando, southern California, Hawaii and New York the most popular domestic travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings. Approximately one-third of fall travelers are planning an international vacation, with European destinations including Rome and London especially popular this time of year. This year’s top fall destinations based on AAA Travel bookings include:

 

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. Anaheim, California
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. New York City
  6. Las Vegas, Nevada
  7. London, England
  8. Dublin, Ireland
  9. Boston, Massachusetts
  10. Cancun, Mexico

 

Before setting out on a fall getaway, travelers should contact their local AAA office for the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor who can provide personalized service and in-depth destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation experience. For more information about fall travel or to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.

AAA’s report presents the findings of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,011 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted August 3-6, 2017. 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 57 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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