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AAA is experiencing a sharp surge in the number of Members requesting services related to international travel, including passport photos, International Driving Permits and foreign currency, a strong indicator that travel overseas is bouncing back in concert with the easing of COVID-related restrictions both at home and abroad.

In fact, on average, since the beginning of the year, a sampling* of AAA Retail locations indicates a 64% increase in the number of travelers visiting our stores for passport photos as compared to last year, and the increase in demand for International Driving Permits is even greater. Requests for foreign currency may also require some lead time.

“We are actually encouraging anyone making plans for international travel to request foreign currency several weeks in advance of their departure date because demand is so high,” says Brenda Hunsberger, Senior Vice President for Travel Services for AAA. “We want to be sure we can fulfill every request.”

Also driving the increase in international travel is the dollar to Euro exchange rate, which is the best it has been in 20 years.

“The strong dollar represents a savings for travelers in some of AAA Travel’s most popular destinations, including Paris, Amsterdam and Rome,” Hunsberger adds.

While requests for passport photos and International Driving Permits are both up sharply over last year, they still sit about 20% behind 2019.

According to a recent AAA travel poll**, more than 20% said they were planning at least one international trip this summer – and that was before the U.S. lifted its requirement for a negative COVID test to return to the U.S.

While international destinations have largely reopened to visitors, AAA is reminding travelers that accommodations, tour packages and flights may still be limited or cancelled because of staffing challenges, so planning ahead and working with a travel advisor are key to ensuring the best possible travel experience.

In addition to travel advisors, AAA’s international travel support services include the following:

  • Passport photos
  • International Driving Permits
  • TSA PreCheck events (MD, NJ, OH, PA, VA)
  • RushMyPassport expedited passport service
  • Foreign currency
  • RFID (radio frequency identification) wallets and bags
  • Travel insurance

 

Seven Tips for Planning International Travel:

  1. Work with a travel advisor – Even though many restrictions have been lifted, COVID-related complexities still linger. Given the surge in international travel, flights, tours, cruises and other packages are at a premium. Work with a trusted travel advisor to help you explore options, book the best deals and navigate possible disruptions.
  2. Book early – Flights, hotels, tours, cruises, car rentals – the earlier the better to lock in the best rate, the best flights and take advantage of discounts for pre-paying.
  3. Exchange for foreign currency at least 10 days in advance of departure – AAA Retail locations offer most foreign currencies. Exchange in advance to ensure you have some money on hand as soon as you touch down.
  4. Apply for an International Driving Permit (if needed) as soon as you confirm travel plans Supply chain issues have limited availability so travelers are encouraged to plan accordingly.
  5. Protect your investment – Consider travel insurance. A solid policy provides a safety net should something unexpected happen ahead of or during your trip. Policies vary. Talk to your travel advisor about options. They know you, your trip, your budget and your specific needs and can easily walk you through what travel insurance policy makes the most sense.
  6. Protect your ID – In addition to protecting physical documents such as your passport, travelers should take extra steps to avoid identity theft, an inconvenience at any time but especially with foreign travel. Travelers are encouraged to sign up for ProtectMyID®, the Experian Identity Theft Protection service provided for FREE to all AAA Members.
  7. Pad plans for flexibility – Given flight cancellations and other potential disruptions, travelers should make plans to arrive at their destination at least a full day in advance of a tour or cruise departure to reduce stress and minimize the risk of missing a critical connection.

For additional travel tips AAA Travel Advisors swear by, visit TheExtraMile.com.

 

*Sampling of AAA Retail locations included stores in CT, DE, KS, KY, MD, NJ, OH, OK, PA, SD, VA, WV and the District of Columbia.

**AAA Travel Poll Methodology:

The AAA survey of 8,800 residents across CT, DE, KS, KY, MD, NJ, OH, OK, PA, SD, VA, WV and the District of Columbia was conducted April 8-12, 2022, by Public Policy Polling. The survey has a margin of error of +/-1.0%.

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For More information and local interviews:

Connecticut – Tracy Noble, TNoble@aaamidatlantic.com

Delaware – Jana Tidwell, JTidwell@aaamidatlantic.com

Indiana – Kara Hitchens, khitchens@aaa-alliedgroup.com

Kansas – Shawn Steward, ssteward@aaa-alliedgroup.com

Kentucky – Lori Weaver Hawkins, lweaverhawkins@aaa-alliedgroup.com

Maryland – Ragina Ali, RAli@aaamidatlantic.com

New Jersey – Tracy Noble, TNoble@aaamidatlantic.com

Ohio – Kara Hitchens, khitchens@aaa-alliedgroup.com

Oklahoma – Leslie Gamble, Leslie.Gamble@aaaok.org

Pennsylvania – Jana Tidwell, JTidwell@aaamidatlantic.com

South Dakota – Shawn Steward, ssteward@aaa-alliedgroup.com

Virginia – Morgan Dean, Morgan MDean@aaamidatlantic.com

Washington, DC – Ragina Ali, RAli@aaamidatlantic.com

West Virginia – Lori Weaver Hawkins, lweaverhawkins@aaa-alliedgroup.com

 

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