From coast to coast, families are gearing up for another year of exciting travel adventures with their loved ones. According to a recent AAA Travel survey, nearly 100 million Americans – 4 in 10 U.S. adults – are planning to take a family vacation in 2019, which is slightly more than last year. Respondents to the survey say that spring and summer road trips will top many of their vacation plans.
“Relatively low gas prices and the strong economy are giving families the motivation they need to spend time together on a trip in the months ahead,” says Bevi Powell, senior vice president of AAA East Central. “This is already shaping up to be another busy year for travelers getting ready for road trips, cruises, and custom trips to exotic locales both national and worldwide.”
According to the AAA survey, two-thirds of family travelers will embark on a summer getaway, while just under half (45 percent) are making plans to travel as a family in the spring. Road trips remain a major draw for those planning a trip; about half of traveling families (53 percent) expect to pack up their cars to hit the road this year.
To help inspire travelers, AAA’s travel editors have curated more than 450 pre-planned road trips throughout the United States. The top five routes for summer travel according to AAA member road trip routing data are:
- Las Vegas to National Parks
- Northern California and Southern Oregon Coast
- Northern New England
- Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina
- Black Hills, South Dakota
For more destination recommendations, travel tips and expert advice from AAA inspectors and travel editors, visit AAA.com/TravelTips. AAA’s travel experts also offer these top tips for a perfect family road trip:
- Be prepared – For passengers, pack books, games, or music for the ride, and a pillow. Bring information on your destination to keep kids and other passengers entertained. Pack healthy snacks for kids, especially if you can’t stop for a full meal while traveling.
- Safety first – Drivers should plan frequent stops, about every 100 miles or two hours, to remain alert. Make sure everyone is restrained by seat belts or a child safety seat to prevent injury in case of a sudden stop, swerve or crash. AAA members who are renting a car through Hertz can request a complimentary infant car seat or toddler booster seat.
- Pack your patience – Be prepared for busy roads and long airport security lines throughout the summer. If hitting the road during a holiday weekend, consider leaving earlier or later than the typical holiday travel times to avoid heavy traffic. Same goes for air travel, and be sure to arrive at the airport at least two hours before scheduled take-off.
- Do your research – To make the most of your trip, map out your route in advance, using a tool like AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner. For extra guidance, seek the advice of a knowledgeable travel agent.
- Be road trip ready – Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. In case of an emergency, always carry a flashlight, extra batteries, warning devices such as flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit and extra water. To locate a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop in your area, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.
Passengers are one of the most precious cargo on a trip, be it 5 or 50 miles down the road. AAA recommends drivers keep their attention on the road by pre-programing GPS devices and adjusting seats and mirrors before driving. So a driver can remain focused safely on driving, enlist the help of passengers and don’t use handheld or hands-free cell phones while driving.
About the survey: AAA’s family travel research is the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,007 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted January 24-27, 2019. This study has an average statistical error of ±3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.