Take the Trip of a Lifetime Now

Use these travel tips to create meaningful memories and deepen your connections with friends and family.

Family hiking around a pristine glacial lake in Banff National Park. Things to do in the National Parks of British Columbia. Hiking trails around Lake Louis iStock

For many Americans, the prospect of family travel or a romantic getaway has grown more precious than ever. Eager to engage with the world again after a long hiatus, AAA Members are ready to roam. 

Many have decided to make the most of each day by seeking out big, meaningful experiences in the realms of luxury travel and adventure travel. Whether that means observing bear cubs as they nibble on berries in Alaska’s Denali National Park or exploring the incredibly preserved ancient city of Pompeii in southern Italy, once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences have moved from the bucket list to the to-do list.

“During the pandemic, people focused mainly on domestic travel,” says Christopher Wommer, travel product manager for the Auto Club Group. “Now, international travel is quickly catching up.” 

Data from travel industry expert Skift revealed:

  • 43% of American travelers planned to spend more on overseas travel in 2022 than they did pre-pandemic.
  • 45% of Americans said they’d invest in a longer vacation.
  • 42% planned to fly farther afield.
  • 30% of respondents planned to end 2022 having visited at least one of their bucket list destinations.
RUSH HOUR . Mixed game quenching their thirst at a drying waterhole during a drought in Kruger National Park, South Africa Shutterstock/WOLF AVNI

Traveling to Africa: The Safari

African safaris have also jumped in popularity, Wommer explains. South Africa is one safari destination receiving tremendous interest from AAA Members looking for meaningful travel experiences. 

The addition of more nonstop flights from U.S. cities to Cape Town and Johannesburg makes visiting South Africa’s wildlife parks easier. Plus, the nation offers family-friendly vacation options for those eager to share wildlife experiences with children and grandchildren. This includes reinforcing the importance of giving back. 

Imagine the powerful experience of visiting Kruger National Park, photographing herds of grazing zebras and giraffes, and then, on the same trip, visiting an elephant sanctuary or volunteering in a local community. With opportunities like these, families can enhance their appreciation of a destination by helping out

Excellent wildlife encounters also exist closer to home, aboard humpback whale-watching cruises in Maui or along Alaska’s Inside Passage, for example. 

Scouting for polar bears or beluga whales in Churchill, Manitoba, and witnessing the once-a-year spectacle of fireflies flashing in sync in the Great Smoky Mountains rank as never-to-be-forgotten experiences that also foster a love for nature and for the world’s wild places.

A setup for a romantic dinner by the sea in Playa del Carmen in Mexico. iStock

Luxury travel: Birthdays and anniversaries at all-inclusive resorts 

One thing that people have taken away from the pandemic is a desire to celebrate life’s important moments with the people they love. Whether it be a college graduation, a 50th wedding anniversary or a milestone birthday, these occasions are seen by many as opportunities to take memorable trips.

All-inclusive resorts offer an exceptional setting in which to celebrate those big life events, and they provide great value for the cost. For example, resorts in Mexico rank as perennial favorites for Americans, according to Wommer. They allow a couple to relax and focus on celebrating a wedding anniversary, for example, while staff takes care of scheduling massages on a sugar-sand beach, reserving snorkeling gear, and arranging a champagne toast and a candlelit dinner of fresh-caught seafood. 

And a milestone birthday can be marked with a celebration at your private bungalow overlooking the turquoise waters of the Bahamas. 

Beyond the luxury of these all-inclusive resorts, travelers can enjoy the ease and convenience of paying a single price that covers their lodging, activities and meals.

Shot of an adorable little boy and girl having a fun day at the beach with their parents and grandparents

Gathering again: The family reunion

After time spent away from one another, many people are eager to rekindle relationships and create new memories. And that may mean gathering for a destination family reunion or a multigenerational trip. 

North America’s stunning national parks are some of the best places to travel for family reunions. Day hikes in Bryce Canyon, fishing trips along the Cape Cod National Seashore, and traveling by rail through Jasper and Banff national parks reveal some of the continent’s most spectacular landscapes. And these excursions appeal as much to school-age children as they do to their grandparents. 

Cruising is another ideal way to bring the whole family together. For example, you can experience the pristine shores of the Caribbean, the beauty of the Greek isles, or the Rhine and Danube rivers in Central Europe. No matter where your wanderlust directs you to go, shipboard vacations offer fun, simplicity and convenience for family travel. 

Individual excursions empower cruisers to pick and choose each day’s activities. Mealtime allows the family to share their experiences around the dinner table. And the logistical details of planning—and paying for—the trip’s meals and lodging are generally included for a simpler experience. 

River cruising has become particularly popular with families looking to experience other cultures on a deeper level,” says Wommer. “When you’re visiting these destinations in Europe, you’re getting right into the heart of the city.”

Icelandic Geyser Strokkur. Great tourist attraction on Golgen Circle Iceland.

Off the beaten path: Group travel to Iceland, South America and beyond 

Experiencing the iconic destination of Machu Picchu and walking through Iceland’s otherworldly volcanoes and geysers are made easier with guided tours. Guided vacations offer the assurance that all the details have been carefully planned and vetted. On select trips, AAA escorts accompany AAA Members, providing additional support.

“The pandemic caused people to realize they should go while they have the opportunity,” says Wommer. “AAA is ready to make your dreams come true.”

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