Pent-up demand boosts year-end travel – AAA advises on increasing travel safety | State News


A strong desire to travel among those who stayed at home last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the volume of vacation travel year-round and the year-end travel season does. no exception.

“If there’s one thing we’ve seen at AAA throughout the year, it’s pent-up travel demand. Whether people are hitting the road for a late visit with friends and family, or planning a bigger getaway, nothing puts them off, ”said Shawn Steward, spokesperson for AAA South Dakota.

The AAA does not expect concerns over the omicron variant to have a significant impact on year-end travel, given that the new travel restrictions imposed apply only to international travel – and not national leisure travel. AAA expects roads and airports to be extremely busy starting December 23e until New Years, as they have been on most holiday weekends since COVID-19 vaccines became widely available.

This week, AAA released its national holiday forecast for the year-end. The full press release is available here.
Despite the announcement of the new variant, the CDC has not changed its guidelines, saying it is safe for those who are fully vaccinated to travel and, as of today, the United States is not considering a warrant. vaccination requirements or new requirements for domestic travel.

Gas prices

Although the national gas price average ($ 3.31) has been trending down for almost a month now, dropping 10 cents in the past 30 days, prices are still above 1.00 $ more than a year ago.

The average price of gas in South Dakota on Dec. 15 was $ 3.22, down 7 cents from a month ago.

While prices at the pump this year have generally been the highest since 2014, AAA does not expect rising gasoline prices to affect year-end travel.

“Historically, higher gasoline prices have not deterred motorists who have made vacation travel plans,” Steward said of the AAA in South Dakota. “Instead, they are adjusting their budgets, spending less on accommodation, restaurant meals, or other expenses.”

Airline tickets, hotels, car rentals

According to the AAA leisure travel index:

  • During Christmas week, AAA 3-Diamond hotels will be 36% more expensive than last year, airfares will increase by 5% on average, and car rentals will increase by 20%. (from Monday December 21 to Friday December 24)
  • On New Years week, AAA 3-Diamond hotels will be 127% more expensive than last year, airfares are on average up 27%, and car rentals will be up 65%. (from Monday December 27 to Friday December 31)

Increased security protocols

In the wake of COVID-19, the travel and hospitality industry has tightened security protocols to help people feel comfortable. Hotels have improved their cleaning procedures and housekeeping standards to meet the expectations of today’s travelers. Each AAA Diamond designated property must pass an unannounced inspection which includes a physical examination for cleanliness and condition. Now, this review also includes a scientific measure to ensure that cleanliness levels meet travelers’ expectations. Look for the AAA “Inspected Clean” designation when booking your hotel.

AAA Travel offers 6 tips to increase safety and reduce stress:

  1. Work with a trusted travel advisor – Considering the potential for travel restrictions to change as a result of COVID-19, AAA strongly recommends working with a travel counselor who can help you resolve any issues that may arise and advise you on the best and best options. more secure. AAA Travel Consultants are available at all AAA outlets.
  2. Consider travel insurance – travel insurance is relatively inexpensive for the peace of mind it provides in return, but policies differ. AAA recommends insurance that allows travelers to “cancel for any reason.” A recent AAA survey found that about a third of all travelers are more likely to consider purchasing travel insurance specifically because of the pandemic.
  3. Book a vehicle check today – Whether you’re driving to your year-end destination or to the airport, basic vehicle maintenance reduces the risk of battery failure or failure. AAA will be busy providing roadside emergency service to hundreds of thousands of members who are forced to rethink their vacation plans due to an outage. It is an extremely busy time of year at AAA auto centers and AAA approved auto repair facilities as vehicle owners prepare their cars for winter. Make an appointment today for a bumper-to-bumper vehicle “check-up” which may not be available if you wait until the last minute.
  4. Expect delays and plan accordingly – whether you plan to drive or fly to your vacation destination, give yourself extra time. Drivers should travel off-peak if possible. Travelers must get to the airport at least two hours before their flight if traveling within the country, three hours if traveling abroad.
  5. Understand and adhere to CDC guidelines and local travel restrictions – the Omicron variant reminds us that we are always on the move and that we risk seeing changes imposed on where and how we can travel safely. Masking is still required at airports and most transit hubs. Knowing what to expect from travelers will save you time and reduce stress.
  6. Take extra precautions – drivers should make sure their AAA membership is up to date so that what could be a minor inconvenience does not turn into a major disruption to their vacation plans.

“Imagine waking up early to catch a flight and finding your car won’t start, or having a breakdown while traveling on a busy freeway with a car full of children,” Steward said of AAA in Dakota. from South. “Always travel with a fully charged cell phone and program the AAA call center number or download the AAA mobile app, so you know who to contact in case of a road emergency.”


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