So far, 2020 has been an unusual year when it comes to planning a vacation. But we know that AAA Members love to travel, and when the conditions are right, we hope you’ll be excited to start exploring the country—and even the world—again. And, as always, AAA will be there with resources to help you do just that.

It’s never too soon to start dreaming and planning. We’ve got vacation inspiration for organizing everything from a last-minute drive trip to a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. You’ll find advice on what type of trip to plan when, how to leverage your member benefits and save money, and even ideas for where to go. Dive in and put an unforgettable getaway on your to-do list.

Travel checklist

The more your AAA Travel Advisor knows about your travel preferences, the better equipped they’ll be to help plan the trip you’ve always dreamed of. This printable checklist will help you anticipate some of the questions your advisor might ask, so you can be ready with the answers. Get your checklist now.

Let’s go … soon!

Hoping to travel later this summer? Road trips are perfectly suited for last-minute travelers—whether you drive your car or fly and then rent a car. AAA can help with travel guides and hotel booking, either online or through the AAA Mobile app, as well as route planning and discounts on Hertz rental cars. Depending on conditions, AAA travel partners may also offer last-minute deals on escorted trips and cruises departing in the next month or two. You could save more than $1,000, but you may need to be flexible on your destination and departure date.

Vacation inspiration

Change your altitude in Denver. The Mile-High City beckons with pursuits both rugged and sophisticated. Opera, ballet, symphony and theater await at the Denver Performing Arts Complex (the country’s second-largest), and the Denver Botanic Gardens boast 24 acres of flora. For hikers and bicyclists, Rocky Mountain National Park is about an hour and a half away.

Embrace Maine life. This New England state is packed with rugged coastlines, mountain vistas and plenty of wildlife. Whale watching cruises provide close-up views of humpbacks and other species. When on land, be on the lookout for moose (only Alaska has more!). Maine’s 60-plus lighthouses make for a scenic shoreline drive, and its beach towns serve up nostalgic seaside fun.

Let’s go … later in the year!

Take a deep dive into destinations like Africa, Alaska and more with the Well-Traveled with AAA podcasts and webcasts.

Start Exploring

Now is a great time to plan ahead for a fall, winter or spring getaway. In June and July, many of AAA’s travel partners usually begin offering discounts on guided and all-inclusive vacations for later in the year. (Your AAA Travel Advisor will be up to date on what’s available.) Plus, fall, winter and spring are considered the off-season for many destinations—such as Europe—which means you’ll enjoy added value, including lower airfares and smaller crowds, than in peak season. You might even find shopping discounts; some European destinations offer big sales in January.

Vacation inspiration

Enjoy Canada’s fall color. Autumn is a beautiful time of year to explore Canada’s eastern coastline—by land or by sea. A cruise will take you to the charming Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (be sure to try the mussels, a local specialty here), while both land tours and cruises explore Quebec City and Montreal along the St. Lawrence River.

Take a December vacation. It’s the most magical time of the year—especially when you spend it exploring Europe’s renowned Christmas markets. A river cruise along the Rhine or Danube is one of the best ways to see them. Among the highlights: warming up with a steaming mug of gluhwein in Cologne, Germany, and wandering France’s oldest Christmas Market in Strasbourg.

Let’s go … next year!

Planning at least a year in advance is the best way to ensure you get the trip you’ve always dreamed of. Booking early ups your chances of snagging that in-demand hotel or the coveted cruise ship suite with a private balcony. Plus, you can often take advantage of early-bird bonuses that include extra savings or valuable benefits like room upgrades. Types of trips that typically need long-range planning include trips to destinations with short seasons (like Alaska), luxury and expedition cruises, treks to exotic or far-away places like Antarctica or Africa, and custom itineraries, which usually take longer to craft.

Vacation inspiration

Take a grand voyage. If you’ve got the time (100+ days!), an around-the-world cruise can show you some of Earth’s most fascinating places, from the Buddhist temples of Thailand to the futuristic skyscrapers of Dubai. Or, you could circumnavigate an entire continent: Imagine spending 70-plus days exploring South America or a month getting to know Australia.

Journey to Antarctica. Beyond the southern tip of South America lies a vast, icy wonderland that few people get to see. A small-ship cruise can take you through the South Shetland Islands—filled with penguins and seals—and to the Antarctic Peninsula, where frigid waters are home to orca and humpback whales.

Go on safari. The chance to glimpse the majestic creatures that call Africa home is what draws most visitors to this vast continent. Game drives with expert guides could reveal lions sunning themselves in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, elephants gathering at a watering hole in Botswana or throngs of wildebeests crossing the Mara River on their great migration.

This story was featured in the
May/June 2020 issue of AAALiving Magazine

When It’s Time to Plan Your Next Getaway

Your AAA Travel Advisor is always up to date on the latest travel developments and, along with AAA’s trusted tour partners, can help you plan a trip with member-exclusive savings and benefits.