If you had the opportunity to travel this summer, you likely encountered some challenges while getting from point A to point B, or even in the vacation destination itself. The travel industry experienced whiplash as it tried to recover from a year of hiatus to meet the sudden demand for travel, as restrictions were lifted and vaccinations and testing became increasingly available.
Though the travel industry has certainly made great progress over the summer, if you plan to travel this fall or during the holidays, you can likely expect much of the same. As understaffing and limited availability remains an issue across the United States, be prepared for service lags, interruptions, and longer than normal check-in times.
It’s safe to say that travel is going to look a little different for a while. If you wish to travel, now or in the future, domestically or abroad, there are a few things you can do to make sure that your next trip is as seamless as possible – starting with speaking with your local AAA Travel Agent.
How Can a AAA Travel Agent Help?
Many AAA members were busy planning their next travel adventures well into the summer. However, as the Delta variant moved quickly throughout the US, many travelers started putting their plans on hold as some destinations began tightening restrictions once again and uncertainty moved to the forefront.
While travelers who were planning vacations on their own are spending hours on hold with airlines, car rental companies and hotels trying to rebook their vacations and navigating cancellation policies, our AAA Travel Agents are hard at work handling these details on our member’s behalf and leveraging their relationships with our travel partners to find the best alternative solutions for our travelers.
Working with a trusted AAA Travel Agent is as important as ever when planning your next trip. Not only are they able to help you plan and book unforgettable vacations, but they are immersed in travel full-time. They are up to date on all the latest travel information and will be with you every step of the way – including before, during, and after your trip. In these uncertain times, having a travel agent in your corner is a crucial element in keeping your vacation plans on track.
Do I Need To Take Precautions If I Want To Travel Domestically?
Yes. The Center for Disease Control advises that you delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, seek advice from your AAA Travel Agent and follow the CDC’s recommendations for people who are not fully vaccinated.
The CDC says that people who are fully vaccinated can travel safely within the United States. To view restrictions in place by destination check out the AAA COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map.
AAA offers a wide assortment of domestic travel experiences, from train journeys and guided tours to all-inclusive resorts and theme parks. Travel requirements vary by travel partner. If you wish to travel domestically, talk to your local AAA Travel Agent and they can provide suggestions that would be the best fit for you.
What About International Travel?
Yes. The Center for Disease Control advises that you do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s international travel recommendations for people who are not fully vaccinated. Find more information on the CDC’s Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People Traveling Internationally.
Should you wish to travel internationally, talk to your AAA Travel Agent to discuss what destinations they recommend, requirements for travel, and any additional factors you may need to consider when planning your trip. If your travel dates are flexible, your AAA Travel Agent may suggest international travel options at a later date to ensure your safety while visiting the destination you wish to explore.
Though international travel may require more moving parts than it used to, with some careful planning alongside your AAA Travel Agent, you can still have incredible travel experiences and you and your travel companions will certainly make memories to last a lifetime! Just remember to pack a little extra patience along with you on your journey.
If you are looking for inspiration for your next international adventure, AAA offers many unique travel styles to destinations around the globe. From Ocean and River Cruising to fully customizable, independent vacations – you’re sure to find a vacation that will match your travel style.
What Can You Do To Make Sure Your Next Travel Adventure Is As Seamless As Possible?
If you want to travel in 2022/2023 – Start Planning Now!
Because many travel plans were cancelled again in 2021, many travelers have moved their vacations to 2022. Because of this, availability is limited already next year.
If you are in need of some inspiration for your next vacation, check out our latest Traveler Catalog which features a variety of 2022 cruise and tour itineraries to help you start planning your next adventure!
Visit Your Local AAA Service Center
Your first destination when planning any vacation should be your local AAA Service Center where you can find a knowledgeable AAA Travel Agent who can help you start planning an unforgettable vacation or visit AAA.com for some great vacation ideas.
Check expiration dates on important documents needed for travel. If your driver’s license or passport is up for renewal, start the process as soon as possible.
- Oregon Members: Federal identification requirements for domestic air travel will change on May 3, 2023. That is when the Transportation Security Administration will no longer accept a standard Oregon driver license or ID card to pass through airport security checkpoints. If you plan to travel by air soon, get ready now! More information on Real ID.
- Passports: Because of mail delays, it is taking longer for passport applications to be processed. According to state.gov, routine service can take up to 18 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received. The 18 weeks include up to 12 weeks for processing and 5 to 6 weeks for mailing times. More information on passport renewal.
Consider Enrolling in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
- Global Entry: Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. How to Expedite Your Entry. To enroll, visit globalentry.gov.
- TSA PreCheck®: TSA PreCheck® provides expedited security screening benefits for flights departing from U.S. Airports. Global Entry members also receive TSA PreCheck® benefits as part of their membership. Apply for TSA PreCheck® here.
Download Travel Apps to Your Smart Devices
To get up to the minute information on your travel itineraries, consider downloading travel apps pertaining to your trip. Many airline, cruise, and tour operators have apps you can use on vacation. Not only will these apps provide you information about your trip, you can also use them for in-flight entertainment and boarding passes, schedule dining options and activities on board your cruise, book additional excursions, and much more.
Have you downloaded the Free AAA Mobile App yet? With the AAA Mobile App, you’ll have all the most popular benefits of AAA Membership – right at your fingertips!
AAA Travel Store
Check out the AAA Travel Store where you can find personal protective essentials to keep you safe while traveling. AAA members save every day at the Travel Store, with special member-only prices on all products. Shop luggage and bags, clothing, packing accessories, and much more, all hand-selected by our team of travel experts.
Be Flexible, Patient, and Kind
Things are changing, what seems like, by the minute these days. As we continue to navigate these strange times, know that AAA will be by your side to help you along on your travel journeys. But when you are out and about, exploring the world, know that the travel industry is working hard to provide you the best possible vacation with limited staffing and many new protocols in place.
Should I Purchase Travel Insurance?
When planning any vacation, it’s a good idea to protect your trip. However, now more than ever, it is especially important to make sure that your vacation is protected, should the unexpected happen. If we’ve learned anything from 2020 & 2021, it’s to expect the unexpected. Travel Insurance can help you plan for unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, natural disasters, delayed or canceled flights, and so much more.
Your AAA Travel Agent can discuss the different Travel Insurance policies that we offer, and you can decide what level of protection is best for you and your travel companions. Why purchase travel insurance? Because sometimes…
- You have to cancel a trip last-minute.
Travel insurance can reimburse you for your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs — including vacation rentals, car rentals, hotels, and flights — if you have to cancel for a covered reason.
- Travel delays leave you stranded.
Travel insurance can reimburse you for eligible meals, accommodation, and transportation expenses during a covered delay.
- You get sick or hurt when you’re far from home.
Travel insurance can reimburse you for care following a covered medical emergency while traveling. Travel Insurance can even arrange and pay for a medical evacuation if needed.
- You need help in a hurry.
Whether you’re planning a week-long road trip or a weekend getaway, you never know what might happen. Travel insurance gives you access to our 24-Hour Assistance hotline for expert, personalized support in a crisis.
When You’re Ready, AAA Is Here to Help!
Ultimately, the decision to travel is a personal one that must be made by each individual and family. AAA Travel advisors are available to help members with the information they need to plan a trip, when they’re ready to do so.