AAA Travel Update: What to Know Before You Go

BOISE, IDAHO – “Vaxication” and “Revenge Travel” are trending topics these days, as more Americans receive vaccines and set their sights on a long-awaited trip.  But AAA reminds travelers that before heading out on their next adventure, they’ll need to prepare for a different travel experience.

“It’s too early to predict what will happen around the major holidays this year, but it’s safe to say that there’s pent-up demand to travel, whether it’s to see family and friends or to check a few items off the bucket list,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde.  “With the ever-changing landscape of the current pandemic, it’s more important than ever to do your homework on a potential travel destination and rely on the advice of a skilled travel professional.”

AAA reminds travelers that the CDC still recommends postponing vacation plans to prevent the spread of sickness, but those who make the very personal decision to take a vaxication or revenge trip should take the following into consideration:

Masks.  Face coverings are required on planes, trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation, and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.  States, counties, cities, and local establishments may also have mask requirements.

Automobile travel.  As a convenient way to isolate their household from others, many travelers will opt for a road trip.  This year, the state and national parks will be popular for their natural beauty and the ability to promote physical distancing.

Travelers can refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com for the latest information on state and local travel restrictions, and to identify which hotels, restaurants, gas stations and rest areas are open along their route.

Stay safe when flying during your vaxication or revenge travelAir.  In the short term, seat capacity is still very limited, so it’s important to book well in advance.  Due to COVID-19, passengers can pack one oversized bottle of liquid hand sanitizer in their carry-on bag at this time, but other liquids are limited to the standard 3.4-ounce containers.

Hotel stays.  Call ahead to make sure your hotel is open.  When you arrive, use disinfectant wipes to clean high-touch surfaces such as light switches, door knobs, faucets, telephones and TV remotes.

“As much as we all enjoy a good hotel breakfast, many locations have been forced to switch to simple, pre-packaged items,” Conde said.  “As part of the planning process, you should also ask about capacity restrictions in pools, hot tubs, and any other amenities that are a high priority for you, including on-site spas, business centers, and dining options.”

International air travel.  All air passengers traveling to the United States, including U.S. citizens, must present a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before returning to the country.  Travelers who don’t provide this information will be denied boarding.

Cruises.  The cruise industry continues to be hard-hit by the pandemic, and many cruise lines have extended their suspension of sailing operations well into the spring.

“Regardless of where you’re interested in traveling, it’s critical to understand cancellation and refund policies, because the situation can change in the blink of an eye,” Conde said.  “Be ready to pivot to Plan B, whether it’s an alternate route, alternate destination, or even a different venue in the same location.  Travel insurance can further alleviate concerns if your original revenge travel or vaxication doesn’t work out.”

AAA Diamond Awards

While 2020 put many AAA inspections on hold, AAA Diamond Award designations are awarded to 53,000 hotels and restaurants across North America.  After meeting AAA’s high standards of cleanliness and quality, each location is issued a designation of Approved or Three, Four, or Five Diamond based on the number of additional features and amenities.

Just 4.4% of the properties that AAA inspects have achieved Four Diamond status.  This year, AAA Four-Diamond designations have been awarded to these Idaho hotels:

Grove Hotel Boise – since 2014

Inn at 500 Capitol (Boise) – since 2017

The Coeur d’Alene Resort – since 1986

Shore Lodge (McCall) – since 2012

Sun Valley Lodge & Sun Valley Inn – since 2005

 

Beverly’s Restaurant at the Coeur d’Alene Resort is the state’s only Four Diamond restaurant, a distinction it has held since 1989.

“What these properties accomplish year-in and year-out is nothing short of impressive,” Conde said.  “They never know when AAA inspectors might show up, or which rooms will be inspected.  That means that these teams aren’t taking any off days – they are constantly delivering exceptional service.”

AAA says that now is a great time to get discounts on future vaxication or revenge travel bookings.  Many travel companies are offering deep incentives and minimal deposits to book now.  For more information, travelers should speak with a AAA Travel Agent.

In addition to its trusted travel agents, AAA recently launched Digital TourBook guides for destinations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.  For more information, visit TourBook.aaa.com.