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EARLY YEARS: AAA recommends planning way ahead, as families embark on summer vacations

COVID restrictions are lifting, and that’s encouraging families to start booking longer trips this year
The Stavola family enjoyed their summer vacation in Yellowstone National Park
The Stavola family enjoyed their summer vacation in Yellowstone National Park(Dr. Tony Stavola)
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 6:02 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Amazing sights, like a line of buffalo strolling through Yellowstone Park, are among the best memories Dr. Tony Stavola and his family made on their dream vacation.

Earlier this month, they traveled from Roanoke to Salt Lake City, and then to Yellowstone in Montana.

“And I rented a big cabin for everybody about seven or eight miles from the park and spent several days in Yellowstone Park, and it was just a wonderful trip,” says Stavola.

Prior to this trip, Stavola says it had been five or six years since he’d been on a long vacation.

The pandemic, he says, helped him put some things into perspective..

“It did kind of make us realize you just can’t take for granted, you know, that you’re going to be able to do something in six months or a year or whatever, that you need to seize the opportunity when you can,” Stavola says.

Martha Meade with AAA Mid-Atlantic agrees. She says more people are booking trips with their “bubble groups,” which include family and close friends..

“We’re seeing not only for that great American road trip, people driving to see sites in America. National parks are extremely popular. Lots of sites that maybe people haven’t seen before.,” says Meade.

Here are some tips from AAA Mid-Atlantic and Martin Travel:

--As you’re heading out on that Great American adventure, Meade says it’s important for families to realize not every destination is open to full capacity.

--Make sure you plan ahead.

--She says a travel agent can help you navigate any changes due to lingering COVID restrictions.

--Also, she suggests renting a car away from the airport. You can save money and find more inventory.

Meade says, “There’s a very high demand, and there are some shortages in product and employees in some. So, you really need to plan ahead more than you ever have before.”

As for Stavola, he says the best memory of all from his trip came from something his grandson said to him.

“He came to me and he said, Poppy, I want to tell you that when I grow up and I get married and I have children, I’m going to bring them back to Yellowstone park, and I will tell them about you taking us, and your daddy taking you.”

Martin Travel is a subsidiary of AAA Mid-Atlantic. For more travel tips, click on this link.

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