By AAA // May 3, 2018
Road trips remain the most popular family vacation
ABOVE VIDEO: The top domestic summer travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for vacations in 2017. Many destinations return to the list in 2018.
(AAA) – Millions of Americans are counting the days until their summer vacations. Today, AAA unveiled the 10 most popular domestic and international destinations for the summer, based on vacations booked with AAA’s Travel Agency.
“This summer is shaping up to be another banner season for travel,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
“Travelers are making plans now to visit a theme park, sail away on a cruise, relax at the beach, and explore cities in the U.S. and across the globe.”
Orlando claimed the top spot for another year. The Central Florida and Los Angeles/Anaheim (5) regions are renowned for their theme parks and proximity to the beach. Honolulu (2) and Maui (6) both rose in the rankings thanks to competitive airfares and new family-friendly attractions.
The popularity of Alaskan summer cruises and Denali National Park are reasons people flock to Anchorage (3) and Fairbanks (7). Meanwhile, the proximity to national parks like the Grand Canyon is a big part of the draw for travelers to Las Vegas (8) and Salt Lake City (10).
The top domestic summer travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for vacations June 1 through August 15, are:
- Orlando, Florida (1)
- Honolulu, Hawaii (4)
- Anchorage, Alaska (2)
- Seattle, Washington (3)
- Los Angeles/Anaheim, California (5)
- Maui, Hawaii (7)
- Fairbanks, Alaska (6)
- Las Vegas, Nevada (8)
- Boston, Massachusetts (13)
- Salt Lake City, Utah (14)
*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking
Road Trip Ready
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.
Many Americans will venture overseas for their summer vacations. A recent AAA survey found that more than one in three families who are planning a trip together this year will visit an international destination.
AAA’s top international summer travel destinations include:
- Rome, Italy (3)
- Vancouver, British Columbia (1)
- Dublin, Ireland (4)
- London, England (2)
- Paris, France (7)
- Montego Bay, Jamaica (8)
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (5)
- Calgary, Alberta (10)
- Cancun, Mexico (6)
- Amsterdam, Netherlands (9)
*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking
Rome regained its standing as the most popular locale for international summer vacations this year, for its rich history, landmarks, and cruise port – which serves as a gateway to the Mediterranean. Paris (5) and Amsterdam (10) land on the top 10 list thanks to world-famous landmarks and bustling river cruise ports.
Calgary (8) moves up the list, thanks to proximity to the Canadian Rockies which offer breathtaking views that rival the European Alps. Beach destinations in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico can also expect an influx of travelers this summer, for their tropical climate, all-inclusive properties and variety of activities.
“No matter where your travels take you, a AAA travel agent is your best resource for getting the most out of your vacation,” Evans continued. “A good travel agent can help you plan your trip from top to bottom, unlock any potential savings or upgrades, and be your advocate if something does not as planned.”
Summer Travel Tips
ABOVE VIDEO: AAA gets 7 million calls during the average summer, with the top 3 items being flat tires, dead batteries and lockouts. With some simple precautions, you can avoid being a victim on the side of the road.
AAA’s travel experts offer their top tips for travelers planning summer vacations, including:
- Plan ahead – Book early for the best deals and availability of 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.
- Enroll in TSA PreCheck to help you get through airport security quicker and easier. It takes about five minutes to complete your application online and costs $85. You provide general information, such as your name, birthdate and Social Security number.
- Global Entry is a similar program offered for international travelers, allowing expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. It even includes access to TSA PreCheck in the $100 fee. It’s best to apply for either of these programs at least three months before your departure date.
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.
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