After a year of little to no travel, many AAA members have started planning for their next big adventure. Others are wondering if now is the right time to start planning for their next trip. Travel, now more than ever, is a personal choice. When you feel comfortable starting to plan that next great getaway, AAA will be here to help every step of the way.
Depending on the travel style you’re considering for you next getaway, you may be wondering what your experience may look like. Here is the most up-to-date information on what to expect on your next vacation.
It has been more than a year since COVID-19 put a halt to most cruises. Most large cruise ships are waiting for finalized clearance from the US Centers for Disease Control to resume sailing from United States ports. Some ocean cruises sailing from US Ports are set to resume as soon as July 2021. A few international cruise lines have already returned to service – river cruises and other smaller ocean ships – all with reduced occupancy and enhanced safety protocols.
Cruise lines that have not yet returned to service will continue finalizing all required COVID-19 protocols for guests and staff. Though protocols onboard each ship will vary slightly, here are some enhancements you may encounter on your next cruise vacation.
Before you Go
A majority of cruise lines will have you complete a health declaration before you travel. Additionally, almost all cruise lines will require a negative COVID-19 test prior to debarkation. Some will require all guests and staff to be fully vaccinated to sail.
Testing & Screening
For most cruise lines, you will need to complete a mandatory enhanced pre-embarkation health screening and questionnaire, including testing for COVID-19 prior to embarkation – some requiring proof of full vaccination. Cruise line employees may refer any passenger with signs and symptoms of COVID-19, or who are identified at-risk, for additional medical screening before they can board.
Touchless temperature checks will be taken throughout the duration of the cruise and secondary screenings and health checks will be implemented if necessary. Contact tracing is planned for many cruise lines.
Cleaning & Sanitization
Cruise lines are enhancing their already rigorous cleaning protocols and are developing sanitization measures in coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes sanitizing staterooms, public areas and frequently touched surfaces with disinfectants that kills novel coronaviruses. Cruise lines will encourage guests at venue entrances to use the hand-washing sinks and hand sanitizer dispensers.
Updated Ventilation Systems
Most of the cruise lines have updated their HVAC systems onboard to continuously supply and filter fresh air in all spaces – including your stateroom. You can breathe easy knowing these added layers of protection make the transmission of aerosol particles between spaces extremely low to virtually impossible.
Cruise lines will likely sail at lowered occupancy as they resume, which gives you more distance from others so you can focus on getting closer to those you care about. They’ve added friendly spacing reminders anywhere a little extra guidance may be needed.
Physical Distancing & Masks
Cruise lines are making it easier to practice physical distancing by managing the timing, size and flow of groups in onboard venues and for events and helping you make informed decisions about what to do on board. Entertainment programs and restaurants will be designed to enhance physical distancing. Physical distancing will be maintained throughout check-in and embarkation, and will be required in terminals, on board ships, on private islands, and during shore excursions.
As it is currently, per local authorities’ requirements, face masks will be worn onboard by crew members and guests to help keep everyone safer. Face masks are required in indoor and outdoor spaces, with some exceptions. In restaurants, cafes, bars or lounges, seated guests may eat and drink without masks. You do not need to wear a mask in your stateroom or on your balcony.
Almost every cruise line now offers an app that you can use onboard with your smart devices. In an effort to go touchless, cruise apps can help you navigate many aspects of your vacation. From checking in to making reservations for specialty dining, shore excursions, shows and more – these apps not only keep you safe on board but also can enhance your vacation experience.
Improved Shore Excursions
Cruise ships will follow the health protocols for every port they visit. For ocean cruises, guests may only be allowed off the ship if they have booked an excursion in that port. Most experiences will be outdoors, and guests will be encouraged to stay with their group. Buses will be at reduced capacity and will be sanitized frequently.
Please note, protocols will continue to be updated in accordance with guidance from public health authorities.
If you need some cruise inspiration for 2021 or 2022, check out these great sailing options!
- 2021 Mexico Ocean Cruise Departures
- 2021 Caribbean Ocean Cruise Departures
- 2022 Alaska Ocean Cruise Departures
- 2022 River Cruises
As regulations and requirements continue to change by state and by country, it is hard to say with certainty what guidelines or requirements local public health authorities will have in place in the destinations you wish you visit.
However, each member that travels with AAA deserves a memorable and fulfilling travel experience. Our preferred tour partners are dedicated to delivering on that promise. Your health, well-being, and enjoyment remains top focus. Though each tour experience will vary slightly by tour operator and destination, here is what you might expect on your next guided tour.
Pre-Tour Health Screenings
All travelers will likely need to complete a wellness declaration form before joining their tour. Additionally, many preferred tour partners are requiring either a verifiable negative test result for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure or an authentic COVID-19 vaccination certificate with final dose distributed at least two weeks prior to departure.
Tour Managers & Wellbeing Directors
AAA preferred tour partners have new and enhanced hygiene & physical distancing protocols for Tour Managers. They are local experts and are highly trained to handle a variety of unexpected situations — including illnesses and emergencies. They are also available 24/7 for guests throughout the tour should any situation arise.
A few tour partners have also added Wellbeing Directors to departures with 21 or more guests. They will support the Tour Manager and Driver Team by remaining up to date with the latest health authority and local government guidelines. They’ll work to ensure adherence to the wellbeing protocols and always be available to support and guide travelers.
Face Coverings, Social Distancing and Hygiene
Some tour partners will provide face coverings in your pre-tour documents and will require them to be worn throughout many experiences on tour including the motor coach and air travel. Bringing additional face coverings from home is strongly encouraged in case they become lost or damaged during your trip.
Our preferred tour partners work closely with local suppliers to ensure there is adequate physical distancing during meals, experiences, and sightseeing. Travelers may be rotated in smaller sub-groups when necessary.
Hand sanitizer is accessible and freely available.
All surfaces will be sanitized often, including regular cleaning of high-touch areas with disinfecting wipes. Hand sanitizer will be available at all times and drivers will wear protective gear when appropriate. Most trips will operate with several empty seats to allow for extra physical distancing. Additionally, air control on many motorcoaches have been updated to ensure air is completely filtered and changed on average, every 2 to 3 minutes.
The specific protocols for lodging will vary depending on the destination and the hotel. Overall, guest rooms and public spaces will be deep cleaned regularly, with rooms disinfected thoroughly between guests. High-traffic areas like lobbies and elevators will be cleaned often.
If you need some inspiration for your next guided tour, check out these great tour options!
No matter which of our preferred rail partners you wish to travel with, whether it be domestic or overseas, your health and safety remains top priority. As government guidelines and industry best practices evolve on the prevention of COVID-19 and other viruses and illnesses, AAA’s preferred rail partners are continuously updating procedures to keep you and your travel companions safe and well.
Depending on where your train journey takes you, safety enhancements my vary by train line and by destination. But here are a few new enhancements you may experience on board.
Some rail partners will be asking for your contact information prior to travel for contact tracing purposes. Additionally, rapid COVID-19 testing may be required at the starting point of your journey, the evening before your departure. Pre-travel screening or questionnaires may also be in place and temperatures may be taken when boarding the train. If you are exhibiting signs of COVID-19, you will not be able to board.
If you are arriving to the train by motorcoach, you will board the train directly from the coach to make the process as seamless as possible.
For your safety and the safety train employees, currently, our AAA preferred rail partners are now requiring all guests to wear a facial covering on board. Customer-facing employees are also required to wear facial coverings. You will be required to wear the face coverings while on your motorcoach transfers, walking to and from the train, while using shared spaces such as the washroom or outdoor viewing platform, and while seated – unless you are eating or drinking. If you are in a private room, you will not need to wear a face covering in your room.
Hygiene & Sanitation
Soap, fresh water and hand sanitizer will be readily available in your coach. Your train seat and tray table will be sanitized at the start of each day. All high-touch and common areas will be disinfected throughout the day. To ensure a safe personal space, all physical distancing guidelines will be enforced at time of travel. Some train lines are running at reduced occupancy.
Air Filtration Systems
Customers can travel with extra confidence knowing all trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchanges rate every 3 – 5 minutes.
Stops Along the Way
Our rail partners will ensure you receive the same high-level of service and commitment to safety throughout your journey as you do onboard the train. All hotels included in your rail package have implemented enhanced health and safety procedures in line with recommended best practices. This includes stringent cleaning procedures, plexiglass barriers, physical distancing signage, and hand sanitizer stations
If the rail partner offers an app that can be used on your smart devices, this is an additional way to make contact-free travel easy.
If you need inspiration for your next rail journey, check out these great train trips!
- Rockies to the Rail Rocks Discovery Self-Drive with Salt Lake City | October 29, 2021
- Glacier National Park Getaway – Roundtrip Portland, Oregon | 2021 & 2022 Departures
- Belmond Royal Scotsman Western Scenic Wonders | September 17, 2021
Most theme parks have welcomed guests back to their parks to safely enjoy thrills again. Theme parks have received guidance from public health authorities, government agents, and their own teams of health and safety experts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Guidance continues to evolve, and theme parks will adjust as needed to meet local requirements. When you’re ready to experience the fun once again, here is what theme parks are doing to keep you, your family, and travel companions safe.
In some parks, guests will be required to undergo temperature screenings with no-touch thermometers before entry to some locations. Guests with a temperature of 100.4F or higher will not be allowed entry.
Face coverings are required for all guests during their visit, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. However, these policies will likely change in the following months, depending on theme park location and local government’s recommendations.
Hygiene & Social Distancing
Cleaning procedures have been enhanced through all parks and hotel properties. Temporary adjustments have been made to promote social distancing. Please follow directions from theme park staff members and be patient as they work through new operational procedures.
Wash your hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer as it is available throughout the parks.
Reduced Contact & Park Apps
Many parks have moved to cashless transactions. Additionally, if the park offers an app on your smart device, download the app and sync your visit to get even more from your next visit. Through the apps you are able to schedule dining reservations, view restaurant menus, download park maps, check-in to hotels, and much more!
Need inspiration for your next Theme Park getaway? No problem!
Passenger numbers continue to rise, and airports have been working closely with public health partners to ensure their facilities are a safe and welcoming place for all. For all airport updates please visit TSA.gov. In addition, always check your airline’s website prior to your flight for possible changes in procedures.
When you’re ready to fly, the airport might look a little different than your last journey. Here is what you can expect on your next journey.
Face coverings are required in all airports currently, except for children under the age of 2 and people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering. Face coverings should cover your nose and mouth. A new CDC order requires masks at all U.S. airports and other forms of public transportation.
Airports have increased cleaning in high-touch areas – like escalators and moving walkway handrails, food court tables, and bathrooms.
Hand sanitizer stations are readily available throughout all airports. For your benefit, the TSA also is allowing one 12 ounce hand sanitizer container per passenger.
TSA launched the “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign, which details proactive and protective measures they have implemented at security checkpoints to make the screening process safer for passengers and employees by reducing the potential of exposure to the coronavirus. The campaign includes guidance and resources to help passengers prepare for the security screening process in the COVID environment.
All airlines require face coverings, including during your flight. Airlines have also increased cleaning between flights and have air filtration systems designed to keep you safe. A Harvard University study released in October found that ventilation systems on planes filter out 99% of airborne viruses. Harvard’s researchers also highlight masks as a critical part of keeping travelers healthy, along with enhanced cleaning and passengers’ self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms.
What You Can Do
Go touchless where you can: You can check into your flight online and download the boarding pass to your phone. And don’t forget your water bottle…you can refill it at any touchless refill stations located near most restrooms.
Wash your hands: Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to avoid getting sick.
Taking care takes time: That’s why we recommend you give yourself a little extra time the next time you’re flying out of any destination.
AAA’s preferred rental car partners are committed to going the extra mile for you today and always. When you’re ready to travel again or have other transportation needs, know that the focus remains on getting you where you need to go safely and confidently. Here is what Hertz has implemented to keep you and your travel companions safe when you’re ready to hit the road.
In addition to following social distancing best practices at all locations, Hertz is raising the bar on standards for safety and cleanliness. This year, Hertz introduced Hertz Gold Standard Clean, an enhanced vehicle disinfectant and sanitization process designed to give you total confidence when you rent a car.
Every vehicle will be sealed and certified ‘Hertz Gold Standard Clean’ after undergoing a 15-point cleaning and sanitization process that follows U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
AAA’s preferred hotel partners are excited to welcome AAA members back to their hotels while exceeding your health and well being expectations. When you are ready to travel again, our hotel partners know that you will have a heightened awareness of cleanliness when it comes to your choice of accommodations. Though many of AAA’s preferred hotel partners have adopted similar safety protocols, please note, there may be slight differences between hotel brands and geographical regions. Here is what Best Western® Hotels & Resorts are doing to keep you safe when you’re ready to travel again.
Front Desk and Lobby
- New protocols will minimize guest contact with personnel through a streamlined check-in and check-out process such as the use of Best Western’s Mobile Concierge platform.
- Social distancing measures will be implemented, wellness best practices signs will be prominently posted, and all lobby brochures, magazines and papers will be removed.
- Enhanced sanitization procedures will be in place at the front desk, in the lobby and across guest touch points throughout the hotel with disinfecting taking place regularly.
- Sanitizing stations or wipes will be available throughout hotels.
Guest Room and Housekeeping
- Enhanced and thorough cleaning protocols will be implemented in guest rooms. If possible, guest rooms will not be entered for 24 to 72 hours after check-out, at which time the room, linens and all touch points, for example, faucets, door handles, light switches, thermostats, clocks and hangers will be cleaned with chemicals aimed at killing COVID-19.
- Unnecessary items will be removed from guest rooms, such as decorative pillows, bed scarves, paper notepads and pens.
- For guest and employee safety and well-being, daily housekeeping service will be by request.
Temporary Breakfast Offerings
While recognizing the importance of a quality breakfast, offerings have been adapted to prioritize your health and safety, including:
- Breakfast offerings that comply with local regulations, with breakfast rooms closed where required to avoid unnecessary guest congregation.
- Enhanced ‘Grab & Go’ offerings will be implemented in most hotels providing guests with pre-packaged food and beverage options.
- Hotels may opt to provide a “served” or pre-plated breakfast to minimize guest
- When allowed to open, public amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools and meeting rooms will be cleaned on closely monitored schedules with disinfecting chemicals. Each evening, these areas may also be sanitized with the use of electrostatic fogging, ozone generators or ultraviolet devices.
- Hand sanitizer or wipes will be provided for guests and employees in all public areas. contact with food, beverages and surfaces, and cross contamination.
Hotel Employees and Staff Requirements
- Hotel employees will follow strict guidelines, including utilizing Personal Protective Equipment, frequent and stringent hand-washing protocols, and housekeepers/laundry staff will wear both gloves and a mask.
- Employee workstations will be cleaned and disinfected after every shift.
- Employees will be empowered to stay home if unwell, communicate their potential exposure to COVID-19 with management, and will be fully educated on how to maintain a safe and clean home.
A year ago, the travel industry toppled into utter chaos. Travelers felt confused, scared and anxious. While many travelers spent hours on the phone, postponing trips, rebooking and canceling – AAA Members were contacted directly by their trusted AAA Travel Agents who were quick to sort out all the details. From rebooking vacations to requesting refunds, our AAA Travel Agents saved members time, money and frustration.
In this time of uncertainty, wouldn’t it be nice to have an expert in your corner? Our AAA Travel Agents are working had to stay up-to-date on the latest health and safety restrictions, and when you’re ready to start planning your next vacation, AAA will be there to support you both before and during your trip. That means, if plans change unexpectedly, you’ve got a teammate working alongside you, making sure you’re safe and sound.
Even during normal times, a AAA Travel Agent provides value by helping members cut through the clutter – to plan a vacation that fits your needs and budget. Why spend hours scouring the internet, reading questionable reviews and looking for deals – when studies have shown working with a AAA Travel Agent saves travelers over three hours of time spent planning per trip. Not only that, AAA has exclusive pricing and special access to deals that you can’t find online. Amenities such as upgrades for a hotel room, a free spa visit, breakfast included or any number of amenities that may be passed down to you, at no extra cost.
Even if you can’t travel right now, you’ll have plenty of resources at your fingertips to ensure a smooth experience when you’re ready to go. AAA Discounts can save you money at home as well as at your destination.
When you’re ready, we’re ready
When you’re ready to start planning for that next vacation, AAA Travel Agents are available and will be with you every step of the way to help make the most of your next getaway.