[AAA Alaska and AKontheGO have established a partnership and this sponsored post reflects our endorsement of AAA products and services.]The American Automobile Association was created for people like me. Organized, detail-oriented, and perhaps even slightly obsessive about trip planning, packing, fact-finding, and “going.”
A trusted resource for nearly 100 years, AAA Alaska is located in Midtown Anchorage, at 3565 Arctic Boulevard (that’s near Jens’ Restaurant for those of you in the know), within easy reach of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the Seward Highway, and downtown. For visitors, the office represents a Lower-48 resource many of us grew up utilizing through our parents, and is a logical first stop for many first-time Alaska adventurers. For Alaskans, AAA is a connection to the rest of the world, providing reliable information and trip-planning assistance that goes far beyond the free maps most of us have stashed away in our glove boxes.
Family travel, no matter the distance or type, requires a certain level of organization no matter how it is approached. Even the most spontaneous of us have to make some sort of effort to plan, especially when leaving Alaska and traveling to new destinations (yay you!) with children in tow. Travel trends change, tours adapt, and our kids grow up and out of one interest or another, as parents gamely try to accommodate multiple activities in the span of one school break.
The AAA Alaska office, I’ve found, is an oasis of family travel sanity, a place through which a foundation for an upcoming trip can at least be built with less stress than I would have imagined. While the organization’s website is quite helpful, with downloadable maps, new apps, and online tour guide books, sometimes I just need a bit of personal (and personable) assistance to get the three of us on our way.
1. Visit the office in person. Not only are the staff extremely helpful, the office is a mini-world atlas, with rows and rows of maps and tour books and guides and all sorts of travel-related gear, from bags to luggage tags. Rarely do we depart any AAA office without an armload of directional guides and the famous TripTik planners, excited after a conversation with a true travel-themed company who gets our style of exploring.
2. Be clear about your desires. If organized tours are not for you, ask about “build your own” adventures with the help of a AAA professional. Whether it’s securing a zipline tour on Hawai’i’s Big Island or finding a rental car to fit a family of 10, they can do that, often with a healthy discount thrown in for members. Know your family, know your budget (and be clear about that, too), and have a rough estimate of dates, and let these folks work their magic mojo.
3. Utilize the resources. One of the best moves we ever made was upgrading our AAA Alaska membership from Basic to Plus, mostly for the 100 miles of FREE towing and roadside assistance that comes with it. Keeping in mind that AAA memberships follow the individual (and even your kids!), not the vehicle, this saved us on multiple occasions when our tire went low near Kona, and my car fell apart outside of Homer a few years back.
Resources also include the aforementioned maps, books, and brochures AAA Alaska staff keep updated and available. Our epic road trip around Hawai’i would not have been as enjoyable without the benefit of the excellent map and tour guides we brought along.
4. Stay current. Sign up for AAA’s eTraveler newsletter, with regular updates on discounts, opportunities, and those trusted AAA statistics.
Summer is on the way, and many AKontheGO readers are making plans for family vacations, here at home and out of state. Why not take a trusted friend along for the ride?