It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted our lives, including affecting if and where we could travel. And while the health of our family, friends, and neighbors as well as the financial well-being of our communities remain paramount, many of us are also looking forward to our next vacation—whenever that may be.
AAA knows travel. So, I’d like to share with you some insights and advice on the new realities of travel.
COMMITMENT TO CLEANLINESS AND HEALTH WILL CONTINUE
When you decide to take your next trip, rest assured that airlines, hotels and rental car companies have implemented strict new cleaning standards that will remain the norm for the future.
I also wanted to alert you to a resource that should help put travelers further at ease: AAA is introducing a “Best in Housekeeping” designation, which recognizes the top 25 percent of AAA-approved lodgings that have demonstrated excellence in cleanliness and physical condition. You will be able to access this valuable information by searching for a hotel using the AAA TourBook guide, available in a new digital format at AAA.com or in print from your local AAA Store. Look for the icon highlighting the “Best in Housekeeping” designation near the property’s name. The program, currently in a pilot stage, should be rolled out later this year as part of AAA’s annual property inspections.
LESS-POPULATED DESTINATIONS AND QUALITY EXPERIENCES WILL APPEAL MOST
While some destinations are already welcoming visitors, many international destinations may take some time to reopen to foreign travelers.
As travel options expand, industry experts expect that many travelers will focus on making that first vacation a high-quality experience—perhaps even opting to visit that long-dreamed-of destination.
AAA Travel agents expect that, at first, many travelers will feel more comfortable visiting smaller cities and natural areas that offer more room to spread out. River cruising will likely be popular with tourists feeling more at ease on these smaller ships, viewing picturesque riverside scenery, and exploring the culture and history of small towns and villages.
ROAD TRIPPING WILL SHIFT INTO HIGH GEAR
Road tripping will continue to be the most feasible immediate option for travelers. Luckily for us, the US provides countless opportunities to experience the freedom of the open road and many fabulous destinations to explore. Before hitting the road, visit AAA.com/covid-19 for a wealth of travel-planning knowledge, including up-to-date travel regulations, as attractions, cities, and states begin to reopen.
TRAVEL AGENTS WILL BE MORE ESSENTIAL THAN EVER
Regardless of where your travels may take you, calling on the expertise of a travel agent has never been more important. AAA travel agents are well versed on travel regulations at home and abroad, and they can help you understand any applicable travel requirements or restrictions as they guide the planning process. A good agent can also help you save precious time and money as you plan a memorable escape. And, should the unexpected occur, it’s particularly beneficial to have a travel agent on your side to serve as your advocate.
As you make the personal decision about when and where to travel, trust AAA and our travel agents to provide reliable travel information and to make personalized arrangements to help create the vacation experience of your dreams.