High School Students Can Earn Scholarships for Travel Careers, Geography Knowledge Through AAA Travel Challenge

(LOS ANGELES, Dec. 11, 2006) — High school students can register now to be eligible for more than $100,000 in scholarships from AAA designed to reward both geography knowledge and aptitude for travel careers. To sign up for the fifth annual AAA High School Travel Challenge, students can visit www.AAA.com/TravelChallenge.

“The AAA Travel High School Challenge is more than just a geography contest — it tests students’ travel literacy by focusing on travel and tourism destinations,” said Diana Meinhold, vice president of travel products and services for the Automobile Club of Southern California. “The Auto Club depends on travel-savvy employees to serve our members; the Travel Challenge encourages teens to study travel geography and to consider careers in travel and tourism.”

Two types of scholarships are available — unrestricted awards for any student with outstanding travel trivia and geography skills, and travel-specific scholarships for those interested in careers in the travel and tourism industry — and every student who enrolls can be eligible for both.

The national contest is open to all U.S. students in grades 9–12 (public, private or home schooled), with winners from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. traveling to Universal Orlando in May 2007 to compete for scholarships of more than $100,000.

Participating in the AAA Travel High School Challenge is easy and involves no lengthy applications, letters of recommendation or gathering of transcripts. It begins online with one-step enrollment at www.AAA.com/TravelChallenge before Jan. 8.

Students then take an online, 15-minute quiz between Jan. 8 and 16. The top quiz scorers in each state will take a proctored, written exam in early March to determine the state champion. Each state champion wins an expense-paid trip for two to compete for the top $20,000 prize and other scholarships in the national finals, which will be held May 19-22 at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.

In addition, the top five scorers in each state who express interest in travel-related careers will have an opportunity to submit an essay for both a state and national essay competition to win $56,000 in travel-specific scholarships that can be used toward a travel, tourism or hospitality certification or degree program. Students can enroll or learn more at www.AAA.com/TravelChallenge.

The AAA Travel High School Challenge was established in 2002 to help heighten travel knowledge and geographic literacy, while creating awareness of career opportunities in the $1.3 billion travel and tourism industry. Travel is one of the largest U.S. job sectors, with 7.3 million direct travel-related jobs.

Sponsors of the AAA Travel High School Challenge include Bank of America, Continental Airlines, Hard Rock Live, Marriott, Pleasant Holidays and Universal Orlando.

The AAA Travel High School Challenge is the official scholarship competition for AAA Travel, the largest full service leisure travel agency in North America. AAA Travel has more than 1,000 accredited travel agency locations generating more than $3.6 billion in revenues.

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs, has been providing service since 1900. Today, the Auto Club’s members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club’s Web site at www.AAA.com.