Jim Rink (313) 336-1513
According to a recent survey of AAA travel agents, Chicago, Ill. is the number one vacation spot in the Midwest. The survey of 572 agents, conducted earlier this year, asked them to rate popular destinations based on their professional opinion. Following Chicago, in order of preference:
2. Mackinac Island, Mich.
3. Branson, Miss.
4. Black Hills, S.D.
5. Wisconsin Dells, Wisc.
6. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
7. Traverse City, Mich.
8. St. Louis, Mo.
9. Kansas City, Mo.
10. Indianapolis, Ind. “Chicago is a vibrant city with unexcelled shopping, an exciting nightlife and world-famous attractions such as the Magnificent Mile, Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, the Field Museum and Sears Tower,” said Claire Lockley, vice president of Travel for The Auto Club Group (ACG). “It’s easy to see why AAA travel agents chose the Windy City as the top vacation spot in the Midwest.”
In addition to top vacation spots, AAA travel agents also selected their picks for “top family drive vacations.”
In 2007, these destinations include, in rank order:
- Grand Canyon
- Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg
- Black Hills
- Southern California
- The Great Southwest (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico)
- New England
- Northern California
Families will not see any relief in their wallets this year with average combined lodging and restaurant costs up 3.7 percent over last year, according to AAA’s Annual Vacation Costs survey.
AAA’s survey shows that a family of two adults and two children can expect to pay an average $269 per day for food and lodging. Lodging rates will average $152 a night, up nearly 7.9 percent from last year. Meals will cost $118, down 1.3 percent from 2006.
Travelers looking for bargains can head to: North Dakota, with an average daily cost of $187; Nebraska, $199; Iowa, $201; Kansas, $201; and South Dakota, $204.
AAA travel agents offer the following tips for those planning a driving vacation this summer:
- Carry your AAA membership card with you
- Prepare for the trip with a good map or AAA TripTik®
- Perform routine maintenance on your vehicle before leaving
- Allow enough time and plan for delays and unplanned stops
- Pack your cell phone charger
- Have activities planned for kids
- Pack snacks and beverages in a cooler in the car
- Pack a travel alarm, ziplock bags, first aid kit, fire extinguisher and leave a key with a trusted neighbor instead of hiding a key outside.
- Turn off all water in your house prior to departure
- Unplug all electrical appliances, including heating and cooling units.