AAA Fall Travel Destinations, Deals, and Insurance

Even though many still have summer vacations to take over Labor Day weekend, AAA travel agents say now is a good time to start planning fall trips so you get the best deals and availability.

Doug Shupe from the Auto Club of Southern California visited the studio to talk about the best places to travel for autumn.

Grand Canyon Railway:

Take an unforgettable ride on one of the restored rail cars and hear folklore and tales from the crew. Grand Canyon Railway departs each day from the historic Williams Depot, located at the south end of the rail line in Williams, Arizona. Williams is easily accessible from Southern California from Interstate Highway 40 (7.5 hour drive from San Diego).

In the fall you can ride the Pumpkin Patch Train and pick out a pumpkin at a secret pumpkin patch that is only accessible by train. This adventure has a fall festival-like atmosphere. Kid and their parents are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes. There are arts & crafts, family phot opportunities, haunted train cars and a hay bale maze. These trains depart during select date in October.

Nestled in the 6,000-ft Laguna mountains, about 40 miles northeast of San Diego, is the former gold-mining town of Julian, California. You can tour the defunct mine’s tunnels, ride through town in a horse-drawn buggy and shop for antiques in old-time buildings that now house stores. Be sure to try the locally made apple pie if you have the chance. Although the pies are available year-round, the best time to visit is late August-October for fresh harvests from the area’s orchards or to pick your own apples and pears.

San Simeon:
Few places in the U.S. are as extravagant as the Hearst Castle, which publisher William Randolph Hearst built in 1919 in the hills above San Simeon, California. It is roughly the halfway point between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Outfitted with imported treasures from around the world (ancient Greek vases, Italian tapestries, Oriental carpets), the palatial mansion and grounds are symbols for ostentation. Run by California State Parks, there are four separate tours, each focusing on a different part of the grounds. If you’re in the area on Friday and Saturday nights in September through December you can see the castle on an evening tour.

Ashville’s location along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail means the views of fall foliage can’t be beat. Visit between October and early November to see the most vibrant colors on the surrounding mountains. And you can’t miss sampling the town’s exquisite culinary offerings: Asheville has emerged as a top U.S. foodie destination. There are also great microbreweries and nearby zip lining trails and hiking adventures.

The leaves and temps aren’t the only things falling this time of year: Vancouver’s hotel rates also take a dive in autumn. In September and October, locals flock to various events like the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Halloween Parade & Expo. When you’re not getting your dose of culture, stroll through Stanley Park to spot the changing leaves.

As international travel grows more popular, a majority of international travelers (88 percent), say trip cancellation protection is the most valuable benefit of travel insurance. We encourage people to consider the relatively small upfront cost of travel insurance which can pay back dividends in the event of sudden and unforeseen circumstances before or during a vacation. Life is unpredictable and sometimes trips need to be cancelled.

How can travel insurance protect someone?
• Replace items if luggage is lost/delayed
• Medical expenses while traveling and emergency evacuation back to US
• If flight is delayed or cancelled, reimbursement for rebooking fees, meals and accommodations
• Recoup travel costs when funds are tight or job loss

Because policies and coverage options vary, travelers should consult with a knowledgeable travel agent to explore all travel insurance options and read policies closely.
So once you’ve planned your fall trips and protected your trip investment, what are some other things you should consider when traveling?

We need to remember to also protect our identity when traveling. Thieves can steal account numbers and other personal data and then set up credit cards in another person’s name.
Auto Club members get free ID Theft Protection, so be sure to enroll in it
• Enroll in ID Theft Protection
• Stop mail at home
• Protect passports, credit cards and driver licenses
• Put passwords on electronics
• Be wary on public wifi
• Be prepared to erase electronic devices remotely

Categories: Good Morning San Diego