SmartDepart is the best way for AAA Northeast members to stay up to date on changing safety protocols and the latest travel information. Hear direct from industry leaders as they join us in live discussions, participate in interviews, and contribute to our insiders’ articles.

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A personal travel bubble is a small group of travelers who have committed to adventuring together. As a pod, this team will perform the required safety measures together, be it pre-departure health screenings, shared accommodations, or post-trip quarantines. This session is a deep dive into small group tours, and how your “travel bubble” can tour together.

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AAA Travel Agents participate in an advanced training, focusing on understanding travel safety and communicating requirements and recommendations to AAA members. Regulations, requirements and safety measures are an integral part of the travel planning process. Your SmartDepart Certified, trusted travel agent will help you navigate through the multitude of changing resources, allowing you to travel with confidence.

SmartDepart Certified AAA Travel Agents know the current impacts facing lodging, ground transportation, airlines, cruise lines, and dining establishments.

SmartDepart Resource Center

Home to insider information, our SmartDepart Newsroom dives deep into the short and long-term changes impacting travel. Our articles are written in collaboration with industry leaders, both in private and public sectors, allowing AAA members access to the information they need to know while planning their next great vacation.

Before You Go: TSA Updated Security Procedures

In response to COVID-19, the Transportation Security Administration is rolling out nationwide screening updates to take effect by mid-Jun. TSA has implemented changes to the security screening process that reduce the potential for…

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AAA Launches Real-Time COVID-19 Restriction Map

As all 50 states are in some way or another dipping their toes into reopening their economies, AAA Travel wants to help you navigate this new world of self-quarantines, restrictions and permissions. With help from our friends at Esri, we…

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Hotels Adapting Cleaning Processes in Response to Corona Virus

Hotels and resorts throughout the world are rethinking and adjusting their cleaning processes and procedures in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. One hotelier, Best Western, has shared their updated protocol with AAA Travel. The…

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Cruise Lines Respond to Global Crisis

The ripples of COVID-19 sent tidal waves across the travel industry. While no destination or establishment has been left unaffected, the cruise industry has been notably impacted. Cruise lines have had to adjust to global impacts before…

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Rocky Mountaineer Suspends Departures

Given the growing impact of the pandemic and global travel restrictions, Rocky Mountaineer has announced a delay in the start of its 2020 travel season and suspended departures until and including August 30. AAA Members who are booked on a…

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AAA launches SMARTDEPART to keep members informed

AAA Travel understands the demand for accurate and timely information. As a trusted source of safety for millions of members, we have built our foundation on being there for people when they need help. In the spirit or our roots, we have…

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Iceland to Reopen. What you need to know.

Travel restrictions in Iceland are beginning to ease. In fact, as of June 15, 2020, Iceland began to welcome passport-holders from the Schengen area and UK. However, AAA Travel wants our members to know that North American passport-holders…

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TOURCARE Guidelines set for Tour Operators

The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) recently collaborated with the Canadian Association of Tour Operators and the European Tourism Association to develop a set of health and sanitation guidelines designed specifically for…

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Airline Re-booking Policies and Advisories

Not every re-booking policy is the same. Airlines are treating postponing, rescheduling, and canceling flights differently. AAA Travel has gathered multiple airline policies in one convenient place, but please remember that you are not…

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Passport Questions? Find the Answer.

With COVID-19 impacting our economy and government processes, passport agencies are feeling the impact of reduced staff and limited office locations. AAA members may be wondering where their renewed passport is, or why they have yet to…

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family road trip

New England Road Trip: Restriction Spotlight

AAA Travel's quick guide to New England travel restrictions is designed to offer a glance into the regulations and rules that may impact your summer travel plans. While parts of the United States continue to see coronavirus numbers rise,…

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EU Restricts USA Travelers

The European Union started accepting non-essential travelers this week, but one nation not on their list of approvals is the United States. This is a temporary situation, but it has left many travelers wondering what it means for their…

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Global Entry Enrollment Reopens

Great news for the West Coast, but Northeast residents will need to be patient. As a sign that Americans and our infrastructure are looking to return to travel, the Los Angeles International Airport Global Entry enrollment center is set to…

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Healthy Sail Panel Created to Tackle COVID-19 at Sea

Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings together launched the "Healthy Sail Panel," a task force charged with uncovering solutions to the cruise industry's approach to keeping ship passengers and crew safe from the…

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Disney Announces Commitment to Health & Safety Measures

On Saturday, the phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort will begin. Here is what park visitors need to know, and what they can expect, as they return to the park. 1.  Health & Wellness Limited and carefully managed attendance:…

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Disney Updates Face Mask Policy

In order to offset the rising COVID cases and address a park loophole in safety procedures, Walt Disney World is no longer allowing theme park visitors to eat and drink while walking. Park officials felt the need to address this directly,…

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American Hotel & Lodging Association: Masks on!

While the COVID-19 Pandemic is far from over, some states are in better positions than others. As economies look for ways to come back to life, American's are looking for ways to step out of their home. In response, the American Hotel and…

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Bahamas Postpone Welcoming Americans

The Bahamas will continue their ban on American travelers amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the United States. The Caribbean nation started opening up to tourism be welcoming yachts and private planes on June 15, followed by commercial…

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Puerto Rico Slows Reopening

While Puerto Rico officially began welcoming back tourists on July 15, rising cases of coronavirus in the mainland U.S. has caused the island to postpone some of the reopenings efforts. Puerto Rico has now issued a statement in support of…

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AAA’s Paula Twidale Talks Road Trips with Kelly and Ryan Paula Twidale of AAA Travel recently spoke with Kelly and Ryan, sharing her tips and tricks for a successful and safe summer road trip. Paula shares must-haves to include packing, such as hand…

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travel confidently

#TravelConfidently: Your Guide to Safe Travels

Across the globe, travel businesses are committed to doing their part to provide a safe travel experience. Together, the industry has established #TravelConfidently, a social hashtag used to highlight how travelers and businesses can…

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british airways lounge

British Airlines Offers a Look at COVID Driven Changes

British Airlines has produced two videos to show travelers what they can now expect in their Comfort and Calm Lounge Experience. The videos highlight the sanitation procedures, socially distant service, touchless menus, and more. In…

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AAA Northeast to Host Town Hall on Rhode Island Summer Vacationing

With restrictions, regulations, and requirements abound, Rhode Islanders may be left feeling the summer season is lost. AAA has gathered local industry experts to help members navigate their options for safe and fun summer getaways. On…

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Royal Caribbean Group Reinvents Muster Drill

For many cruise lovers, their least favorite part of a vacation (though possibly the most important) is attending the mandatory muster drill. In addition, while we all try to avoid gathering together in limited spaces, it seems a solution…

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Alaska Updates COVID Testing Requirements

Alaska has been one state that seems to have COVID contained, in comparison to more densely populated regions of the United States. In fact, the state holds some of the lowest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country. Even though Alaska is…

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Cruise Lines Update Ventilation Systems

Cruise lines are examining harder-to-see improvements, thinking beyond their mandatory face masks and limited sailing capacity. The spotlight has turned to upgrading ships, with the focus on ventilation systems. Cruise Critic was one of…

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces more territories to New York travel advisory list.

Earlier this week, New York governor held a coronavirus conference call where it was announced Illinois, Kentucky, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Minnesota are now on the state’s mandatory quarantine list. With the addition of these…

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Massachusetts must follow new travel orders

AAA Travel has been made aware that Massachusetts has updated their travel orders. Effective August 1, 2020, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts must adhere to these new travel orders. All visitors entering…

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#VegasSmart – How the Strip is responding to COVID-19

Las Vegas, like nearly every major city in the world, has had to respond to COVID-19 and the impact on the local economy and tourism.  Newly released information from Vist Las Vegas highlights the cities initiatives to offset the impact of…

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SmartDepart Agent Certifications – The next level in safe travel planning

Safety and advocacy have always been pillars of the AAA brand, but now with heightened sensitivity and constant changes in the travel and tourism industry, travelers need a simple and central resource to keep them informed. AAA Travel…

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Are robotic bartenders just the beginning?

When cruise lines released robotic bartenders into the mainstream, they were treated with mixed reviews. How would a patron's teasing smile and gentle wink score the stronger pour? There was chat of the initiative being a money play, a way…

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State Department Lifts Blanketed Warning on Foreign Travel

During the first full week of August, the Trump administration lifted its blanket warning against international travel in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The administration is now providing country-specific recommendations. The State…

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Booking a Personal Travel Bubble

We've heard the term "travel bubble" in a multitude of contexts over the past 5 months. Originally, the term was used to describe agreements between neighboring countries or zones when it came to quarantine regulations. But as laws and…

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Rediscovering our own backyard: How to travel safe in ‘The Ocean State’ 

On August 4, AAA hosted a virtual town hall with regional travel experts in discussion of safe, local tourism. Communities alike have been aching to explore while remaining cautious of procedures in place across towns and their businesses.…

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AAA Joins Delta for a Tour of Logan Airport

To fully understand what our members can expect as they return to travel, AAA Travel's Director of Air Operations, Ray Hourani joined Delta Airline's Charles Schewe on a behind the scenes tour of Boston's Logan airport. Because of AAA…

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Pre-Travel COVID Testing Becoming a Requirement

As popular locations open their doors to tourism and visitations, there is a trend forming across the world: A negative COVID-19 test result. Here in New England, we've seen state to state requirements that require border-hopping travelers…

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5 Ways Amtrak is Delivering a ‘New Standard of Travel’

As you prepare for your next trip, Amtrak wants you to know they have continued to enhance safety and cleaning measures with a 'New Standard of Travel'. From beginning to end, you’ll experience a safe, convenient and contactless ride every…

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CDC Removes Mandatory 14-Day Post-Travel Quarantine

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has changed its recommendations for quarantine. While the CDC previously recommended travelers quarantine for 14 days after visiting overseas destinations or arriving in areas with…

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JFK and LGA to COVID test arrivals

New York has announced upcoming changes impacting passengers arriving at both LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International. Travelers landing in these airports will be tested for the COVID-19 virus. The Port Authority of New York…

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Travel in the Time of COVID-19

Our own AAA employee, Aleshi Bray, shared her story with us on traveling to Jamaica with family in a world restricted by COVID-19. From the airport protocols to the check-in process, and everything in between, read on for what to expect…

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How airline seating may change

One of the most common questions AAA Travel advisors field is “How are airlines handling the COVID pandemic?” AAA Travel recently hosted a SmartDepart Broadcast on the subject, which included representatives from the industry…

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“Travel Bubbles” and single-location tours for families

As AAA Travel mentioned in an earlier article, the rise of the "Travel Bubble" is here. Tour companies, families, and traveling friends are working together to design and embark on small group tours, with the possibility for a family or…

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Celebrity Cruise: Healthy Return To Sailing

Earlier this week, the Healthy Sail Panel's expert recommendations for revolutionizing health and safety in cruising were submitted to the CDC. The panel presented 74 recommendations across five core focus areas, a result of a months-long…

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Trick or treat? CDC’s No Sail Order on cruising possibly set to end on Halloween

Halloween is a spooky holiday filled with candy, costumes and scares, filled with goblins and ghosts living and dead. However, in true 2020 style, the holiday acts as a "dead" line for the cruise industry. According to Axios, CDC director…

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New hotel “perks” during COVID era

Once upon a time, hotels wooed guests with luxurious offerings, such as free hot breakfasts and resort wifi. But now, various chains and boutique hotels are offering add-ons and incentives in response to COVID-19. Some hotels are going as…

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6 Questions to ask yourself when considering travel insurance

Not all travel insurance is created equal. Like all insurance, there are levels of protection. It is common to find an array of price points and you may feel overwhelmed as you examine the coverage levels on a line by line basis. AAA is…

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Getting Out There: Stepping into the Delta CareStandard

Guest written by Ray Hourani, Director, Travel Air Operations at AAA Travel Northeast. Airlines have made major adjustments to their safety and sanitation protocols in response to COVID-19. Middle seats have been left empty on many…

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Walt Disney World During COVID

Guest Written by Felicia Troy, AAA Travel Advisor in Massachusetts. Walt Disney World is known as the happiest place on Earth. Having been to the park several times I must agree. There is something genuine about. It’s a place where…

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Flying safer than grocery shopping? Harvard says YES.

Is it safe to fly? There is an inherent risk by participating in any activity during the current pandemic. yet according to an analysis by Harvard University's Aviation Public Health Initiative, the risk of Covid-19 transmission on…

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CDC says “SAIL”, yet some lines suspend through end of year

The CDC  has replaced the no cruising order with a series of requirements that cruise lines must undertake in order to certify that they can prevent the spread of Covid-19 on their ships. This framework includes a requirement that ships…

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Vaccine Boost? Predicting 2021 travel trends

Written by Chuck Nardozza, Managing Director of Travel Sales at AAA Travel Northeast There is a desire to travel laying dormant just below the surface of this pandemic. People continue to search for vacations through AAA Travel, with…

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Covid-19 update: Negative test required for inbound travel to the United States

On January 12, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced all arrivals into the United States will need to show proof of a recent, negative COVID-19 test before boarding.   This order will go into effect starting on January 26, 2021 in…

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COVID-19 testing now available at resorts in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands

Several resorts in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean islands have stepped forward to announce they will now offer on-site testing to provide convenience and support safe travel that is aligned with the Center for Disease Control (CDC)…

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