Whether you’re planning a weekend road trip or a week in Europe, AAA Travel can help. On Wednesday, NBC Connecticut Responds and AAA Travel teamed up for a phone bank to answer viewers’ travel questions and the experts provided free advice on a range of topics.
“We really can customize any type of vacation package, from travel to Alaska to an African safari. We can do cruises, tours, escorted tours, airline tickets, maps, tour books, TripTiks,” AAA Travel spokesperson Suzanne Aresco said.
She added that AAA Travel advisors can offer a lot of knowledge that can’t be found on the internet.
Aresco said advisors are often asked about booking airline seats and how to print boarding passes for the return trip. She recommends downloading the airline’s mobile app so you can get the boarding pass sent right to your phone, eliminating the need to print it.
One viewer asked about vacation destinations that will accommodate visitors with dietary restrictions or food allergies.
Aresco said Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are food allergy-friendly. She said there are also several cruise lines and all-inclusive resorts that will be able to take care of such needs. If you are using a travel advisor to help plan your trip, let them know to tell the destination in advance so there are no problems when you arrive.
The AAA Travel experts also took several calls regarding TSA Precheck and Global Entry. Both programs offer expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers.
TSA Precheck costs $85 and is good for five years. You can apply online and schedule an appointment at an enrollment center. That appointment consists of a 10-minute interview and fingerprinting. Precheck passengers do not have to remove shoes, light jackets, belts, liquids or laptops while going through airport security.
Global Entry is a similar program offered to passengers returning to the U.S. from international destinations. The cost is $100.
If you have a question for one of the AAA Travel Advisors, call (800)-842-4320. AAA offers the following tips for working with an advisor:
- Plan ahead
- Ask about deals/values
- Communicate priorities (ex: ease of travel, relaxation, culture, family-friendly)
- Communicate limitations (ex: seniors, children, medical issues)
- Share best/worst travel experiences
- Discuss trip insurance
While the travel advisors were taking your calls, a member of AAA’s Roadside Assistance team joined us in the NBC Connecticut parking lot with some tips for your next road trip.
Before you hit the road, Tino Velasquez said you should check under the hood. First, check the coolant level.
“It’s very easy for your car to overheat on a 90-, 95-degree day. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road,” he said.
Also make sure the battery connections are clean and tight and check the tire pressure. AAA members can also have roadside assistance come out and check the vehicle.
Velasquez adds not to forget the spare tire. If you are renting a vehicle, make sure to ask whether there’s a spare in the trunk. According to AAA, 36 percent of model year 2015 vehicles were sold without a spare tire.
And finally, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car. It should include a flashlight, a cell phone charger, warning devices to give you more visibility, a blanket which can be draped over the windshield to block the sun, bottles of water and small snacks.