Whether our AAA Travel Agents are working from home, or in the AAA service centers, they remain ready to assist members with any travel needs. Much has changed this year. While we are continuing to navigate the ever changing COVID-19 landscape, we are slowly getting accustomed to how things may look for us for a while.

If you have visited your local AAA service center lately, you’ve likely seen some changes. Like any other public business: floor markers have been added to help remind us to keep our distance from others, plexiglass shields have been installed to ensure safety for our AAA members and our team members, and face masks are required when inside the service centers.

What you may not have noticed, is that many of our AAA Travel Professionals are no longer at their desks. As an additional safety precaution, AAA has temporarily moved many of our travel team members home, where they will continue to work until it is safe to bring them back again.

We were curious how AAA Travel Agents were adapting to their new work environments and a couple travel team members were kind enough to share their thoughts.

working from home

Kathleen McNeal – Working from Home

Name: Kathleen McNeal
Role: Certified Travel Agent
Working: From Home

What have you enjoyed most about working from home?

My home office is really great.  It’s inviting and energizing.  It allows me space to build on my travel inspirations and get into the travel training courses.

What do you miss most about working in the office?

I miss the camaraderie of being in the office.  I really miss meet ups with visiting AAA preferred travel partners and of course, our AAA members.  Those face to face communications are best for building strong relationships.

What advice or tips do you have for members considering travel now or in the future?

Some tried and true advice: Travel with the people and companies you can trust.  That is more important now than ever.

Also, I preach on the value of choice.  During the pandemic, we’re making choices constantly about where to shop, dine, or even walk the dog based on how we feel about safety and quality of experience.  This is also true when considering where and how to travel in the future.  I recommend to the members I assist with travel that they have control over their travel experience by choosing what works best for them.  There is always a great choice, it’s just a matter of finding that and feeling good about it.

What destinations (2021 and beyond) are trending with the members you’re assisting with travel?

I am talking with members about many travel destinations currently, but the top three would be European River Cruises, Alaska/Canada, and Mexican getaways.

Where would you like to travel to once it is safe to do so again?

I always have a few favorite destinations in mind, my bucket list of sorts.  Now, I am open to travel almost anywhere.  I’ve taken advantage of the travel pause to learn about many destinations.  I am eager to visit museums and monuments, but also to just get out and explore any new place.  I am especially eager to experience what travel is like now so I can better assist and offer suggestions to you, our members.

Additional thoughts to share with members?

I encourage our members to continue dreaming and talking about their travel ideas with their AAA Travel Agents.  I think it’s important to have those conversations about how they feel about the current changes in the world and how it may affect travel experiences.  These safety precautions are not all bad.  In fact, I believe there will be many good things coming from the new policies and procedures.  

working from home

Gordon Spath – Working in a AAA Service Center

Name: Gordon Spath
Role: Certified Travel Agent
Working: In AAA Service Center

What have you enjoyed most about continuing to work in the service center?

Having a sense of normalcy being able to drive to work, sit at my normal desk, and interact with AAA members in person and get to see some of my fellow co-workers who are working in the office. Doing my lunchtime walk up Mt. Scott to get some fresh air.

What do you miss most about having the full travel team in the service center?

Not being able to see my colleagues on a regular basis except on occasional zoom calls. Worrying and hoping everybody at home is doing okay when you don’t get to communicate with them on a daily basis.

What advice/tips do you have for members considering travel now or in the future?

Book your next trip far enough in the future to increase the likelihood of the trip operating as intended. If possible, select a trip that has a refundable deposit or changeable deposit without penalty. AAA Travel professionals can help explain the current terms and conditions of each preferred AAA travel partner. Your next travel experience may look a little different while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place – but you’re still guaranteed a fantastic experience!

What destinations (2021 and beyond) are trending with the members you’re assisting with travel?

Close to home destinations for the most part: driving trips within the 48 states and national parks. But some members have expressed interest in Hawaii, Mexico, and Caribbean packages.

So far, a majority of bookings I’ve made for 2021 and beyond are for members who unfortunately had their travel plans cancelled in 2020. They are now rebooking the same trip in 2021 or 2022. A majority of these have been Alaska cruises and European river cruises and tours.

Where would you like to travel to once it is safe to do so again?

I would like to do the Alexander + Roberts Peru/Machu Picchu educational trip I was anticipating traveling on back in March of this year that was cancelled about a week before I was scheduled to go.

Other places I’d like to visit someday that I haven’t been to yet include the Galapagos, Egypt, and exploring the two big waterfalls of South America and Africa: Iguazu Falls and Victoria Falls.

Additional thoughts to share with members?

Stay positive and keep dreaming. Know the joy that travel brings to our lives will return someday, hopefully very soon.

Ready to Travel?

No matter where we’re working, in our homes or at your local AAA service center, your AAA Travel Agent is ready to help!

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