Home Travel agency Traveler confidence on the rebound; AAA provides its top three travel tips for 2022 | NC News

Traveler confidence on the rebound; AAA provides its top three travel tips for 2022 | NC News


CHARLOTTE – AAA reports travel bookings for 2022 are off to a much stronger start compared to the same time last year. A new quarterly AAA survey shows traveler confidence is up in the Carolinas. Sixty-three percent of respondents in North Carolina and sixty-two percent of respondents in South Carolina report feeling comfortable traveling now, a significant increase from 36% (NC) and 41% (SC ) in early 2021.

According to the survey, traveler confidence is determined by:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine
  • Belief that the risk of contracting the virus is the same wherever they go
  • People are better informed and less afraid of the virus
  • The implementation of reinforced security measures
  • Reports that COVID-19 cases and deaths are down

“Rebounding traveler confidence is translating into strong bookings at AAA travel agency,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Not only are we seeing more cruise and tour bookings than at the same time last year, members are spending more money on their travels. While part of that is the excitement of getting back to travel, there are those who have more money to spend after having traveled less in recent years.In addition, we are starting to see customers applying travel vouchers that they may have received after postponing a previous trip , due to the pandemic.

Popular Trends – Ongoing Concerns

Destinations and Cruises

Haas says the United States and Mexico were the most popular countries for travelers in 2021. This year, as restrictions ease and confidence grows, AAA Travel is seeing renewed enthusiasm for travel to the Caribbean and Europe. Additionally, as cruises return for a full season, AAA expects destinations like Alaska to regain popularity.

“This will be the first full year of cruising since the pandemic began,” Haas continued. “Last year cruising started to build in the summer with most ships at reduced capacity. This year we expect things to start to normalize with more itineraries and cabins available for river and ocean cruises.

Despite their enthusiasm, the AAA survey shows some lingering concerns related to COVID travel restrictions. Thirty-four percent of respondents in the Carolinas say it’s difficult to understand COVID-related requirements for international travel. Therefore, it affects their willingness or ability to plan a trip.

“There’s this segment of people who really want to go, but are hesitant because they’re unclear about COVID requirements or stressed about encountering issues while traveling,” Haas said. “For anyone with these concerns, we encourage you to speak to a travel expert. We’ve found that when travelers speak to AAA Travel Advisors, they feel more confident about their plans and prepared for their trip, so they can enjoy themselves. For travelers who prefer to do some of their own research, we’ve enhanced our website to allow users to check COVID travel requirements for travel around the world.

Travelers who visit AAA.com/travel-with-confidence can easily view travel requirements based on their vaccination status, destination and date of travel. AAA’s website and mobile app also provide a breakdown of requirements for different travel modes.

AAA’s Top Three Travel Tips

Plan every part of your trip

  • Know the destination’s COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines
  • Understand if these restrictions will limit certain amenities
  • Take photos of important documents such as passports and vaccination cards
  • Bring a COVID-19 test in case you get sick while traveling

Work with a travel consultant

  • Explore options and build itineraries that best suit your interests, time and budget
  • Provide the latest COVID-related restrictions or requirements by destination
  • Serve as the traveler’s advocate if you need to postpone or cancel plans
  • Help find alternative flights or accommodation in the event of a flight cancellation or weather-related disruption

Consider travel insurance

Although policies and coverage vary, travel insurance can reimburse:

  • Non-refundable payments if you have to cancel your trip due to illness (including COVID-19)
  • Medical emergencies or treatment (most US healthcare policies don’t cover you overseas)
  • Accommodation, transportation and food costs incurred due to flight cancellations
  • Flight delays of only three hours
  • Lost, delayed or damaged baggage

The AAA Travel Survey shows that 48% (NC) and 42% (SC) are more likely to purchase travel insurance than before the pandemic. However, only 26% (NC) and 33% (SC) feel very well informed about travel insurance. “Today more than ever, travel insurance offers highly relevant benefits before and during the trip. We also know that traveler satisfaction increases significantly when they have an in-depth conversation about travel insurance with AAA travel advisors,” said Haas.

AAA offers new emergency medical assistance plan for travelers

For travelers who want a safety net, but don’t need medical insurance or to insure the cost of their trip, Auto Club Group now offers its members a protection plan that provides evacuation services 24-hour emergency and medical support, in case they get sick (even with COVID-19) or injured while traveling the world. The new product called “Worldwide LifelineTM” is exclusively available on AAA.com at a discounted rate for members in the 14-state AAA club territory. Services are provided by Global Rescue, a leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services.

Worldwide LifelineTM is different from travel insurance

Travel insurance policies are typically purchased to cover a single trip and are priced to insure the cost of your trip, provide medical insurance coverage, and provide financial reimbursement in the event of trip cancellation or interruption.

Worldwide LifelineTM is an annual membership program, like AAA membership, designed to provide on-demand emergency relief, medical and travel assistance when and where you need it without having to file claims or report your trip in advance.