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Jul/Aug 2012 Issue

AAA names top summer travel sites

Large numbers of vacationers are still traveling despite rising fuel costs, according to a recent AAA Travel agent survey and sales data. Here are AAA’s top five summer vacation destinations in three categories.

AAA’s top summer land vacations are:

  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Rome, Italy
  • London, England
  • Anaheim, Calif.

Leading the way in popularity for summer travel are vacations to the Orlando area, consistently holding its spot as the top destination year after year.

AAA’s top summer cruise vacations are:

  • Caribbean
  • Alaska
  • Bahamas
  • Europe
  • Bermuda

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) forecasts that more than 17 million vacationers will cruise the world’s waterways in 2012, 1 million more than last year. AAA Travel sales data shows significant increases in cruise bookings for the summer family vacation season and throughout 2012 and into 2013.

AAA’s top summer exotic vacations are:

  • China
  • Peru
  • The Galapagos
  • The Amazon
  • India

Many seasoned vacation loyalists have been choosing AAA Vacations®–a collection of customized cruise and land vacation packages designed exclusively for AAA members–to fulfill their exotic travel desires. AAA Vacations include unique experiences, like a visit to an off-the-beaten-path section of the Great Wall of China.

Last year, several airlines made cost-saving adjustments by reducing seating capacity. Following those capacity reductions and this year’s rising fuel costs, some travel suppliers, including tour companies and cruise lines, have begun offering price incentives to attract travelers. Savvy summer vacationers have been taking advantage of those incentives, especially for international travel. Vacationers can visit the nearest AAA Travel office or for more vacation ideas.

Last-minute deals can boost your travel plans

Many household budgets in the last 18 months have been squeezed like a lemon as people continue to struggle under this challenging economy. Money for life’s extras, like vacations, is in shorter supply for many families. But there is a way to find juicy deals that will allow a getaway without the “Oh my gosh!” price tag.

Welcome to the world of last-minute travel deals.

Interest in discounted travel continues to be strong.

“Generally, we’re seeing two trends from our travel clients,” said Susan Wells, vice president of AAA Travel. “We have a segment that has planned a big trip for a special event and is ready to splurge, and we have clients who are looking for the most economical fares and hotel deals.”

There are dozens of online sites devoted to last-minute travelers, but watching airfares fluctuate can cause motion sickness. Wells recommends using a trusted travel guide to help you maneuver through the jungle of discounts. She offered these tips:

• Work with your AAA Travel professional and tell him or her your budget. Be flexible about the time you can travel; did you know the cheapest day to fly domestically is Wednesday? And be ready to move quickly to purchase when a deal is located for you because it could be gone in 24 hours.

“Travel counselors at AAA continuously monitor pricing changes,” Wells said.

• At, check out the Latest News and Specials section at the top righthand corner of the page.

• Be patient, but don’t wait until the last minute or you’ll pay top dollar. For air travel, 14 days prior to departure is usually the window for greatest economy. Cruises work farther out–60 to 90 days–which is the industry’s standard for canceling without a penalty. Those cruise cabins will be discounted once released.

Pali lookout

The Pali Lookout lends extraordinary views of Oahu, one of AAA’s five top land vacations. HTA/Chuck Painter photo

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