Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Vacation loyalists still traveling despite rising fuel costs

ORLANDO, Fla., (April 5, 2012) – Large numbers of vacation loyalists are still traveling despite rising fuel costs, according to a recent AAA travel agent survey and travel sales data.  AAA Travel’s lists of top summer vacation destinations include choices popular with American families for generations within the United States and around the world.  Many seasoned vacationers are expanding their travel horizons to exotic faraway lands.  While many Americans head to their computers when planning a summer getaway, planning a vacation can be overwhelming.  AAA Travel has seen a continuation of the number of vacationers seeking expert advice from a travel counselor to help guide their decisions, save countless hours of research and gain insight into popular destination.   AAA has more than 3,000 travel counselors located within more than 1,000 AAA Travel offices across the United States and Canada.

“Many Americans consider travel a mainstay to our way of life and are loyal vacationers,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “While some Americans may modify their travel due to rising fuel costs, those who can are still choosing to travel and they are traversing the world.” 

Last year, several airlines made cost-saving adjustments by reducing seating capacity, consolidating routes, and replacing large aircraft with smaller more fuel-efficient airplanes.  Following those capacity reductions and this year’s rising fuel costs, some travel suppliers including tour companies and cruise lines have begun offering price incentives to attract travelers.  Savvy summer vacationers have been taking advantage of those incentives especially for international travel.  Vacationers can visit the nearest AAA Travel office or AAA.com for more price incentive information.

AAA Travel’s Top Summer Vacation Destinations by travel category are:

AAA’s Top Summer Land Vacation Destinations:  

Orlando, Florida
Honolulu, Hawaii
Rome, Italy
London, England
Anaheim, California

Leading the way in popularity for summer travel are vacations to the Orlando area, consistently holding the valedictorian spot in the top destination class year after year.

AAA’s Top Summer Cruise Vacation Destinations:

Caribbean
Alaska
Bahamas
Europe
Bermuda

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) forecasts that more than 17 million vacationers will cruise the world’s waterways in 2012, one million more than last year. AAA Travel sales data shows significant increases in cruise bookings for the summer family vacation season and throughout 2012 and into 2013.

AAA’s Top Summer Exotic Vacation Destinations: 

China
Peru
The Galapagos
The Amazon
India

Many seasoned vacation loyalists have been choosing AAA Vacations® – a collection of customized cruise and land vacation packages designed exclusively for AAA members – to fulfill their exotic travel desires.  AAA Vacations® destinations include once-in-a-lifetime experiences like a visit to an off-the-beaten-path section of the Great Wall of China.

Travel counselors at AAA receive frequent travel updates and stay abreast of price changes, travel alerts and continuously monitor the overall travel landscape. Their time, personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge enables them to offer valuable destination tips and sightseeing recommendations adding irreplaceable value to the vacation price.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

ORLANDO, Fla., May 24, 2011

Nation’s largest motor club encourages all drivers to do three easy maintenance tasks to help avoid becoming stranded, improve their safety and save money on gas
Christie HydeThe summer travel season kicks off later this week with the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and AAA estimates it will come to the rescue of 8.7 million stranded motorists between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

“More than 30 million Americans are expected to take road trips during the Memorial Day holiday weekend and, unfortunately, many of them will end up stranded by the roadway,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information. “However, there are three easy maintenance tasks any driver can perform to reduce their chances of becoming stranded, improve the safety of their road trip and even save a little money.”

Additional Resources

The three maintenance tasks AAA recommends all motorists to perform before hitting the road for a summer road trip include:

1. Inspect All FIVE Tires

Many motorists may be confused when told to check five tires, however AAA has found one of the most frequently overlooked items on a vehicle is the spare tire. When inspecting tires, it’s important also to make sure the spare is in good condition and ready for use in case it’s needed.

“Roughly 1.2 million drivers will call AAA for help with a flat tire during the summer travel season, and many of those problems could be avoided by inspecting the tires before hitting the road,” said Nielsen. “Tire inspections are simple to perform. The only tools needed are a quarter and a tire pressure gauge.”

Begin every tire inspection with a pressure check. “Eighty-five percent of drivers do not know how to properly inflate their tires, and more than half of all cars on the road have at least one under-inflated tire,” explained Nielsen.

Always check tire pressure when the tires are at ambient temperature and the car has not been driven recently. Use a quality gauge to make sure all five tires are inflated to the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer—which is probably not the maximum pressure molded into the sidewall of the tire. The carmaker’s recommendation can be found on a sticker usually attached to the driver’s door jam, in the owner’s manual and sometimes on the gas cap door. Drivers should be aware that the recommended pressures for front and rear tires may differ, and the spare may require yet another pressure. Most space saver spares require much higher air pressures than normal vehicle tires.

Properly inflated tires also can reduce fuel costs during a trip. The Department of Energy reports that correctly inflating all four tires can improve fuel economy by up to three percent, which is equivalent to as much as to 12 cents per gallon.

After making sure all five tires are properly inflated, drivers should inspect the tread depth and overall condition of the tires. Worn tires in need of replacement are much more likely to suffer punctures and other problems. An industry survey found one out of every 10 cars has at least one bald tire, and 64 percent of drivers do not know how to check their tread depth.

To check tread depth, insert a quarter into a tire tread groove with Washington’s head upside down and facing outward. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If any area above his head is visible, it might be wise to go tire shopping before you take a long road trip. Be sure to check the tread depth at several points around the tire and across its width, and use the lowest reading.

While checking the tire tread wear, also look for signs of uneven wear or abnormal bulges or other damage on the tire treads and sidewalls. “Taking a few minutes to inspect your tires once a month can help keep you rolling down the roadway instead of being stranded by the roadside,” noted Nielsen.

2. Check and Clean Car Battery

AAA estimates it will assist nearly 1.7 million motorists with dead batteries during the summer driving season—replacing nearly 700,000 batteries at the roadside. Summer heat breaks down car batteries internally and accelerates the rate of corrosion on the vehicle’s battery terminals. Both conditions can lead to insufficient electrical power being available, and leave a motorist stranded without warning.

Check the battery cables and ensure they are securely attached to the terminals. Clean the terminals if there are signs of corrosion. It is not enough to simply remove external corrosion; proper cleaning requires disconnecting the cables to clean the hidden areas where they contact the battery terminals.

Depending on local climate and vehicle usage patterns, most car batteries have a three to five year service life. If a battery is nearing the end of its lifecycle, have it tested at a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop or by the AAA Mobile Battery Service to determine if replacing the battery prior before your road trip might be a good idea.

If it’s time to replace a car’s battery, AAA members can get a quote on a replacement battery while on the go on their phone with the AAA Roadside app, available for iPhone and Android, or on any web-enabled mobile device using AAA Mobile Web at AAA.mobi.

3. Replace Wiper Blades and Refill Washer Fluid

Low or no windshield washer fluid was the number two problem AAA uncovered during its 2010 car care inspections. Rain, insects, grime and other debris on a windshield will compromise the driver’s vision, and safety, if the windshield wipers cannot remove them. A supply of the proper washer fluid, delivered effectively to the glass, helps the wipers remove these contaminants.

Check the windshield washer fluid reservoir monthly or more often if the washers are used frequently. Top it off with a solution formulated to aid in the removal of insects and other debris. Be sure to test the washer spray nozzles for proper operation and aim before leaving on a trip.

While topping off the washer fluid, also check the wiper blades. If blades are worn, cracked or rigid with age, they will not adequately remove rain, grime and other debris that can obscure driver vision. If the wiper blades are sufficiently deteriorated, the metal wiper blade frame could contact and permanently damage the windshield.

Check the wiper blades at every oil change or whenever they fail to wipe the glass clean in a single swipe. The life of a rubber insert is typically six to 12 months depending on its exposure to heat, dirt, sunlight, acid rain and ozone. Streaking and chattering are common clues that the rubber is breaking down and replacement is needed.

“While any driver can perform these three simple maintenance tasks before a summer road trip, they are not the only services your car needs to stay in top notch operating condition. It is also important to have your car serviced regularly according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual,” said Nielsen.

This summer, AAA will remedy three out of five motorists’ car problems at the roadside and get them back on the go. However, an estimated 3.7 million drivers will suffer more significant troubles that will require towing to a place of repair. Regular vehicle maintenance can help a motorist avoid becoming one of the unlucky drivers who end up spending part of their summer vacation hooked to a tow truck.

To help consumers identify quality auto repair shops that can assist in the maintenance and repair of their vehicles, AAA offers the Approved Auto Repair program as a free public service. AAA-approved repair facilities meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Motorists can look for the Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair facilities, or search for a nearby AAA-approved shop online at AAA.com/Repair.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Orlando, Fl – 5/6/2011

Release of new edition marks official open for next AAA PetBook Photo Contest

Tails are wagging for the latest edition of Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook®, just released. The annually updated guidebook contains all the information needed to plan a pet-friendly vacation, from hotel and park listings to pet preparations and safety tips. It also features scenic, smile-provoking photos of traveling pets — a reminder to capture the action from this year’s vacation for the next AAA PetBook Photo Contest sponsored by Best Western, now open for entries.

The key to memorable travels with pets is careful planning. “Be sure your pet is healthy enough to travel, you include activities that appeal to the entire family and you choose places to stay and play that offer pets a warm welcome,” said Bill Wood, executive editor, AAA Publishing. “AAA is pleased to provide the millions of traveling pet owners with complete, reliable vacation planning information.”

Whether you are looking for affordable, comfortable hotels near your favorite recreation spots, or luxurious accommodations that extend the royal treatment for both you and your canine companion, you’ll find it in Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook. The book includes more than 13,000 pet-friendly, AAA Approved and Diamond Rated lodgings in the U.S. and Canada. Listings include fees, permitted pet sizes and conditions of stay for properties across every Diamond Rating level.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the book lists more than 400 AAA Approved pet-friendly campgrounds. Readers will also find useful tips for preparing four-legged travelers for the road or air and handy information about pet etiquette, insurance and emergency animal clinics.

“With more than 1,600 pet-friendly Best Western properties worldwide, we know pets are very much a part of our guests’ families. As such, we want to welcome pets and their owners to our pet-friendly properties,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Best Western. “We are proud to help travelers get this information through The AAA PetBook, an exceptional resource.”

This vacation, be sure to capture some photos of your pet enjoying safe travel. Each year, entries from the AAA PetBook Photo Contest are selected to appear on the back cover and spine of the next edition of The AAA PetBook. In addition to cover fame, the winners also receive cash, pet treats, copies of the book and a Best Western Travel Card usable worldwide. Entries must be received by Nov. 30, 2011. See inside The AAA PetBook for details, or access official contest rules, an entry form and the contest photo gallery at AAA.com/PetBook.

Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook, 13th edition, is available at many AAA and CAA offices, online at bn.com and at fine bookstores. The cover price is $18.95 U.S.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

About Best Western International, Inc.

Best Western International, Inc. is THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HOTEL FAMILY(SM), providing marketing, reservations and operational support to over 4,000* BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER® hotels in 90* countries and territories worldwide. Each Best Western-branded hotel is independently owned and operated. Now celebrating 65 years of hospitality, Best Western has grown into an iconic brand that hosts 400,000* worldwide guests each night. Equally committed to the business and leisure traveler, Best Western has embarked on a mission to lead the hotel industry in customer care. World Vision is the charity of choice for Best Western in building the world’s biggest family, with our hotels and staff sponsoring children in need around the globe. Our partnerships with AAA/CAA, Michael Waltrip Racing™ and Harley-Davidson® help guests make the most of every trip. For the fastest way to a free night globally, join Best Western Rewards®. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.bestwestern.com.

*Numbers are approximate and can fluctuate.

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