Once U.S. government authorities determine that air travel is safe and airports are reopened, the AAA-Chicago Motor Club suggest travelers contact their travel agent or airline to confirm travel arrangements.
It's important for travelers to understand that airports will be crowded and under a heightened state of security," said Mark Bruno, spokesman for AAA-CMC. AAA-CMC suggest travelers consider the following guidelines:
- Understand that access to secure areas of the airport will be restricted to ticketed passengers and electronic ticket holders only. Electronic ticket holders should carry a receipt or evidence of their ticket.
- "Airports across the nation have placed a prohibition of knives, regardless of size, in any secure areas of the airport, and that some airlines may restrict a passenger's ability to carry any luggage on the plane at all," said Bruno. "In this case, travelers should contact their travel agent or airline for information regarding carry-on policies."
- Passengers should contact the airline or their travel agent immediately to confirm their flight or to rebook a flight. Travelers are urged to do this by phone since ticket counters at the airport will most likely have long lines.
- Arrive at the airport two hours ahead of time for a domestic flight, and at least three hours ahead of time for an international flight.
- Be prepared for more rigorous security checks than in the past. Expect more frequent hand inspection of carry-on luggage and body searches through security terminals.
- Be sure to carry two forms of identification at all times, in addition to passports for international flights.
- Do not leave luggage unattended or carry anything on board an airplane for someone you do not know.
- Be aware of the elimination of curbside check-in or check-ins at hotels and other off- airport sites.
According to AAA-CMC, the club is committed to providing whatever assistance its traveling members and customers require, ensuring a safe trip. In these difficult and disturbing times, experience affirms that these steps will help to reduce hassles and increase the likelihood of a worry-free trip.
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Despite high gas prices motorists will still be hitting the road for summer trips according to the AAA-Chicago Motor Club. A predicted 230 million Americans plan to travel during the summer season, up less than 1% over last summer. This has encouraged consumers to become more sensitive to economic fluctuations and rising gas prices with some modifying their summer vacation plans.
According to recent study by the Travel Industry Association of America, nearly 80% of past-year travelers plan on taking at least one trip this summer. Twenty percent of travelers plan to travel more this summer while 47% plan to travel the same amount as they did last summer.
AAA-Chicago Motor Club predicts that most summer trips will be by auto, truck or RV at 75% while 22% will be by airplane and 2% by bus or other form of transportation.
Simple preparations for those vacations could mean the difference between cruising along the highway, or sitting next to it.
"A good vacation plan can save motorists money," says AAA-CMC spokesperson Mark Bruno. "Good planning can start by following a few helpful tips that will help travelers cut down on gas prices and help save a little more money for the rest of the vacation."
- Plan routes that will help you maintain constant speeds and allow you to bypass congested areas. Avoid two lane roads with a lot of stops.
- Start your trips early while traffic is light. Plan meal and rest stops to coincide with periods of heavy congestion.
- Because things can go wrong no matter how well you prepare, it is always good to keep an emergency kit in your car that includes jumper cables, basic hand tools, flares or reflective warning triangles, a first aid kit, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and a cellular phone if possible.
- Don't overload your vehicle with luggage. Determine your car's carrying capacity, usually listed in pounds on a sticker attached to the driver's side door.
- Try and avoid placing luggage on top of your vehicle. Luggage placed outside the vehicle creates wind resistance, which results in poor gas mileage.
In addition to proper trip planning, AAA- Chicago Motor Club also recommends that travelers' have their vehicles inspected before hitting the road. Several items like fluid levels, coolant, windshield washer fluid, and tire pressure can be inspected on your own, but a technician will take the time to check your brakes, suspension, and undercarriage. Taking care of these "car care incidentals" will ensure your vehicle bums fuel efficiently.
Many of these tips not only will keep you off the side of the road; they'll save you money at the pumps.
"A car that is properly tuned and not overloaded with luggage is likely to get better gas mileage," added Bruno, "So not only will you get to your destination on time, you might find a little more money in your pocket when you get there."
According to the motor club, travelers "I need to budget 5% more for vacations this year - the highest one-year increase in three years.
A vacation survey recently showed that a family of two adults and two children expect to pay an average $223 per day for food and lodging. Lodging rates will average $113 per night, up $S from last year. Meals will cost $110, also up $S. In the last ten years, the average cost of meals and lodging has increased by 24%. "We recommend that vacationers traveling by car budget an extra $14.lS for gasoline every 100 miles," says Norma Cooper, spokesperson for AAA-Chicago Motor Club. "'Mat's based on an average price of $1.71 per gallon and a vehicle traveling 23 miles per gallon. It is also important for families to budget money for entertainment, souvenirs, and unexpected expenses.
AAA-CMC provides automotive, travel, insurance, and financial services to more than 800,000 members in Illinois and Northern Indiana.
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