Oregon AAA Gives Travel Tips for 2011; Travel Trends
(Portland, Oregon) – The Oregon office of the AAA said it believes the travel outlook for this year is strong, after a year of unsettling decreases during major holidays. (Above, Oregon's Yamhill Wine Country)
New and smokin’ destinations have emerged, although fees and expenses have also surfaced. While America is looking for bargains, its people may find them a little harder to dig up.
Doreen Loofburrow, Vice President of Travel Services for AAA Oregon/Idaho, has the top travel trends for 2011, and some practical tips for planning your vacations.
During the past two years, special pricing and travel offers have encouraged people to travel again. But prices began to inch up again in 2010. Airlines and hotels are predicting slightly higher pricing in 2011.
“There are still bargains to be had, but as the economy continues to improve, that get-away will likely cost you more,” said Loofburrow in a press release. “If you can book now, do it. You’ll still be able to find special add-ons at hotels and resorts, including third or fourth night free offers, and spa, golf or dining credits. Another value vacation option is to take a group tour. Many travelers are looking for exotic destinations at a lower price point, and a group tour may be the answer.”
Regarding flying versus driving on your vacation, Loofburrow said 2010 saw more airline fees popping up.
“If you fly, chances are you’ll pay a fee on almost everything: baggage, food, premium seats, premium boarding passes and more,” she said.
Those fees are likely to increase, she believes, and more will spring up. The rising cost of fuel will also cause airlines to not increase capacity, keeping planes full and leaving more frustrated travelers.
Driving vacations are still a popular choice for many Americans, as travel by car can often be more flexible and economical than flying. Popular driving destinations in 2011 will include the National Parks of the West, Southern California, Wine country in both Oregon and Northern California, the Oregon coast, and of course, the perennial family favorite, Disneyland.
However, gas prices will continue to rise and have already risen to 26-month highs, above $3 a gallon. Spring should see more of an increase as well.
This past year, there has been a new “Bucket List” trend - people looking for unique ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences. Some of these destinations include African Safaris, Egypt and Nile River cruises, Brazil, and even Dubai, which is already a popular destination for Europeans.
London is always a popular city for tourism - but the media frenzy that is sure to take place with the royal wedding this spring will propel London into the spotlight even more. Also in Europe, river cruising is expected to increase in popularity in 2011. River cruise ships are smaller than traditional ocean cruise ships and offer a more inclusive and intimate experience, with the ability to visit historic villages and cities.
Closer to home, Hawaii is better than ever. With additional flight options from Portland International Airport and incredible offers and add-ons from hotels and resorts, this popular destination is back at the top of the list.
When it comes to planning your travels, those on the move need to expect the unexpected, whether it’s additional security measures at airports or the increased costs to fill your gas tank. If you are flying, be sure to check the TSA website, the airport website and your airline site for any last minute changes before you leave home. If you are driving, check the weather forecast and visit ODOT TripCheck for up to the minute road information.
More travel gizmos and gadgets than ever before are now available. Many travelers appreciate the convenience of GPS devices to help get them to their destinations. But don’t leave your common sense at home. Carry a paper map as a back-up, and don’t blindly follow the directions on your GPS unit if it seems to direct you to a remote road.
A large variety of travel apps are now available for smartphones, including several offerings from AAA:
AAA TripTik Mobile iPhone app provides updated gas prices, maps and directions functionality, and information on AAA Approved hotels, restaurants and attractions.
With AAA Roadside iPhone app, AAA members requiring emergency road service can quickly send their location, vehicle description and specific breakdown details directly to AAA without placing a phone call.
The AAA Discounts iPhone app, which has been downloaded more than 900,000 times, uses GPS technology to identify a user’s location and displays nearby businesses that offer members AAA Show Your Card & Save® discounts. A version of the AAA Discounts app is also available for Android-platform smartphones.
AAA also offers online travel guides and the TripTik Travel Planner, available free to all travelers at AAA.com. And of course, members can always pick up paper versions of AAA’s TourBook guides and maps.
Many travelers are once again discovering how convenient it is to use a travel professional to plan trips. The internet has become so oversaturated with information that sorting through it all can become a full time job. In addition, some airlines no longer allow their tickets to be sold on certain travel websites. Professional travel planners can help you wade through all the information, and assist you in finding the best values. Plus they know about the destinations you’d like to visit. A professional travel agent can be your vacation advocate and can save you time and money by arranging all aspects of your trip. At the same time, for those travelers who want to book online, AAA has partnered with Travelocity to bring our members one of the most advanced online booking and information sources on the internet. That’s always important, because getting correct information and the most for your money are travel trends that are popular every year.
For more information go to www.AAA.com.