Editors: B-Roll of holiday travel and top 2023 destinations is available here for your use.
Travel providers are pivoting to provide more of what consumers demand in the new post-pandemic era, including small group tours, adventure-themed outdoor trips, and luxury “bucket list” vacations, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
Auto Club travel advisors are now busy booking holiday destinations such as the European Christmas markets, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and West Coast cruises.
“We are seeing strong interest in historically popular destinations for Thanksgiving and year-end holiday travel, but 2023 is showing a much wider diversity of vacation interests for our members,” said Heather Felix, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services.
The Galapagos Islands, Japan, Iceland and Egypt are among the emerging trending destinations for the next couple of years as bookings for luxury trips are increasing at Auto Club branches due to heightened interest in small group travel, Felix said. European destinations such as Italy and Ireland remain strong favorites, with United Airlines announcing it is expanding its European flights next year.
For those wanting off-the-beaten path vacations, Felix noted that vendors are offering adventure travel packages to explore Morocco, tour South Africa’s wineries and hike through some of the lesser-known American national parks.
Travelers seeking out the best value for the holidays and next year should check out some of the newer all-inclusive cruise price offerings, Felix said. The upfront all-inclusive prices offer a lower overall cost for specialty dining, drinks, WiFi and staff tips.
To assist travel planners, the Auto Club is hosting two travel shows later this month featuring dozens of the top domestic and international travel providers:
- Sunday, Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Auto Club’s historic Los Angeles building, 2601 S. Figueroa
- Sunday, Oct. 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Auto Club Administrative Offices in Costa Mesa, 3333 Fairview Road (enter off South Coast Drive)
Members and non-members can attend the show and book vacations or learn more about destinations of interest, and special member benefits and discounts will be available for those who book at the show.
To make a reservation to attend a travel show, call your local Auto Club branch.
For those planning holiday 2022 or 2023 vacations, the Auto Club has the following tips:
- When considering accommodations, look into booking a suite or villa rather than individual guest rooms, especially when traveling together as a family. It often can cost less while providing more spacious accommodations.
- Book Travel Protection Plans to ensure you’re covered for unexpected occurrences.
- Book activities or shore excursions early, since they are likely to sell out.
- When traveling internationally, passports must be valid for at least six months prior to your return. AAA Travel can help you rush your passport as well as take your photo.
- Always carry a change of clothes, your medications, your itinerary and any other must-have items in your carry-on luggage.
- Look into arriving a day earlier than the formal start of your tour or cruise and/or staying a day later by booking a hotel room so that you are not too rushed or tired to enjoy your vacation.
- Arrive at the airport early. Recommended time for domestic is 2+ hours and international is 3+ hours.
- Consult with your travel advisor for other vitally important information specific to your destination.