Travelers who planned to visit national parks and monuments this month are now looking at changing their plans in the wake of the federal government shutdown. Automobile Club of Southern California travel experts can help take the sting out of vacation plan changes.
While agreements were reached Friday to reopen several major national landmarks such as the Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain National Park and several Utah national parks, other locations operated by the National Park Service remained closed.
Experienced AAA travel agents are adept at changing plans to create a vacation alternative that meets or exceeds travelers’ expectations.
“When any event forces a change of travel plans, AAA travel agents can assist with viable alternatives that still fall within travelers’ budgets,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president of travel products and services.
Some alternative vacation recommendations from AAA travel agents include:
- Battleship Missouri Memorial instead of USS Arizona Memorial. Visitors can still view part of the Pearl Harbor historical experience at the privately funded Battleship Missouri Memorial. The private memorial is now offering free interpretive tours on its pier overlooking the USS Arizona.
- State parks instead of national parks. Most major national parks are located adjacent or close to state parks with similar terrain and hiking opportunities. The Woodall’s/AAA campground guides, available at branches, are a good resource for alternative parks and camp sites.
- A cruise instead of a land tour. While some domestic cruises have stops at national parks and monuments that are now being rerouted to alternate destinations, international cruises are mainly unaffected (You can still get a passport application or renewal processed during the shutdown, according to the US State Department.)
Other resources at local Auto Club branches that are helpful to travelers in devising vacation plans include:
- AAA TripTiks – these are custom strip maps created for your vacation at your local branch, or you can create and print your own at AAA.com/TripTik. They include information about attractions and AAA-rated lodgings and restaurants along or near your route.
- AAA TourBooks – these regional books give you great ideas to plan your itinerary and include extensive information about popular areas to visit, attractions and events. They also include complete listings of AAA-rated lodgings and restaurants with a price guide to help you budget.
- AAA Maps – Paper maps are handy for road trips and a fun tool for family vacation planning.
- International Driver Permits – In many non-English-speaking countries, an IDP is recommended for tourists who plan to drive because it provides a translation of your valid driver’s license for local authorities.
- Mexico Auto Insurance – Also available online, Mexico insurance is required for all cars driving into Mexico.
For more information about vacation planning, visit AAA.com or your local Auto Club branch.