The Best Way to Travel

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The Best Way to Travel

What is the Best Way to Travel

Some people attribute almost a mystical value to the exercise of traveling from one place to another. Many of the world’s great ideas were born after a journey. Some modern companies have gone so far as to point out that a “destination” is not as important as the journey itself. For whatever reason, we at L&L Magazine realize that travel, looking beyond the current horizon, the desire to experience new cultures, customs and locations, seems to be a core human trait. So, we asked experts in the travel industry to answer this question in their own way, “What is the BEST way to travel?”. In typical L&L fashion, we begin the process of featuring responses to this question.

We welcome your comments on our Facebook Page, but here now, and in the coming months, we’ll be featuring these industry responses from those who feel that flying, or cruising, or train travel, or automobile, a combination of all, or other specific modes of transportation related services offer “The Best” in a travel experience..

Our first problem was, “Where do we begin?” Naturally, in the U.S. the number one form of transportation is the automobile, so we went to the experts and got a response from Marie Montgomery, a spokesperson for AAA. A transcription of the recorded interview is featured below…

Our sponsored cable tv show, BIFOCALS is also below. In the video you will hear Ms. Montgomery’s comments:

Marie Montgomery: The Best Way to Travel(Marie Montgomery): I’m Marie Montgomery. I’m a spokesperson for AAA of Southern California.

(L&L): We are doing an article called, The Best Way to Travel, and we’d like to get AAA’s take on how your company might contribute to a reader, or client’s ability to enhance their travel experience. Why is having AAA the Best Way to Travel?

(Marie Montgomery): There are all kinds of services that AAA offers in regard to travel. Our most famous service would be our maps. Now that many people have smart phones, some might not see the value of the paper maps. But, when you are planning a trip, it’s really kind of fun to have a map, spread it out on the kitchen table and have everybody use it as a trip-planning tool, as to where you want to go and what you want to see.  That’s a very basic member benefit that we offer, all types of maps of every section of the country and internationally. We also have something called a tour book, which is a geographically specific guide to any given area in the U.S. So, it’s going to list all the hotels, all the attractions you might want to see. It’s going to give you diamond ratings on those hotels, so you can know what you might want to book. That’s always a great resource for a road trip, and I’ll always try to grab one when I’m going on a road trip. Another thing that we’re very famous for is our Trip-Tiks. These are strip-maps that were invented way back in the early twentieth century for our members. They came into the office and they wanted to go someplace and they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss anything along their way. We are still producing these Trip-Tiks today. Trip-Tiks are a customized map for your route. You can also get this online with your AAA app on your phone—which is free—or you can go on your computer and print your own Trip-Tik at our website, AAA.com…that’s www.AAA.com/triptik. So those are three very basic ways we help travellers on road trips. Of course, if you want to come into the offices anytime, and book travel we have a full-service travel agency, at our seventy-plus branches throughout Southern California. That’s an easy way to get somebody else to take all the headaches out of planning for you. Or, a plane trip we can take care of it, and any kind of tours. Because we’re such a large organization at AAA we’ve been able to negotiate some really good deals, with some of the top travel providers in the world.

(L&L): Very, very knowledgeable answer!

(Marie Montgomery): And, our website, or app have full booking availability flight, hotel, car, cruise, whatever you want. You can get this information online, or call us, and of course you can come into the office.

(L&L): Are these services only available to members?

(Marie Montgomery): Some of the tools, non-members can use. The AAA.com app does have a Trip Tik aspect to it, routing, turn-by turn-directions, which is available to members and non-members. However, if you need emergency road service, obviously, or if you want to come in and get a map, if you want a tour book or a Trip Tik those are member benefits.

(L&L): How does Westways fit into your operation?

(Marie Montgomery): Westways has been the magazine of AAA Southern California for over a hundred years, and it is really a great resource. Our members look to it every month to see what sort of trips we highlight. We cover travel extensively. It’s really interesting when our magazine hits the newsstand, or [arrives in] our members homes. What happens is that lots of people come into the office to book the trip that was featured in that issue. They notice it in the office immediately, “Oh, they [Westways] must have done a feature on such-and-such because that destination was just featured in the magazine. It really does have some great trips listed every month, travel trends, tips on how to pack your luggage, tips on how to get the best deal, and it really is a great member resource. [Westways] does come to members-only homes [periodically].

(L&L): What about other services that you only offer to paying members or Premier members?

(Marie Montgomery): There is a Plus and a Premier membership. Plus offers a 100 mile tow, while a tow on a classic membership is limited to 7 miles. Then you have to pay beyond that. The Premier membership, I believe, offers maybe a 300 mile tow (once a year), so that’s a great benefit if you’re on a road trip and you need to get the car towed home that is really helpful. There are some restrictions on who can get those memberships, but they have a number of additional benefits such as notary services, lock-out services, and other added benefits including waving of some fees that might otherwise apply to your travel because you are a Plus or Premier member. And, that’s not to mention discounts. One really popular service that we’ve added in the office recently, not necessarily if you are going far, but if you’re So. Cal local is discount tickets for everything from movies to theme parks. We have discounts to just about every theme park in Southern California. For instance, we offer a minor discount to Disneyland, which is only offered through AAA. It’s not a huge discount, but it’s definitely a member benefit. We also have travel discounts for attractions, for hotels, for restaurants etc. You should go to AAA.com/discounts and get that information before you go on a trip so that you make sure you take full advantage. Movie tickets are up to 40% off, I think.

(L&L Magazine): You’re a representative for AAA of Southern California, but AAA benefits can be used around the world, can’t they?

(Marie Montgomery): AAA is nationwide and we have affiliate clubs around the world as well. And, if you are doing foreign travel, another service that we do offer for members and for non-members, is an International Driving Permit. If you are traveling in a foreign country that does NOT have English as the primary language, you may want to get one of these because it is a translation of your driver’s license. It can help smooth the way if you are stopped by authorities. You can only get this benefit at AAA and one other place. It requires a couple of passport photos, which we can take in the office, or you can bring them, and you must have a valid U.S. driver’s license. It is definitely a help if you are traveling to a foreign country.

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Gordon Richiusa is an Italian American who has been a martial artist for some 50 years. He teaches the Five Bird System. Gordon earned a Master of Arts degree in English and has written numerous articles, stories, books and scripts under his own name and his pen-name, Gordon Rich. He has been a teacher of English Composition, Film as Literature, Creative Writing, and Scriptwriting and He holds two teaching credentials.

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