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In a sea of “bests,” our goal is for AAA Insights to help you cut through the
clutter to find what’s best for your life. Sure, we share best practices—
like packing expert Anne McAlpin’s tips for the best way to pack a carryon
bag (page 28) or the best ways to set financial goals (page 4). But we
also help you by providing actionable intel so you can make the best
decisions, like comparing TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and CLEAR
(page 17); showing you some of the best travel headphones (page 20)
and sharing some of our favorite new airport amenities (page 18).

Discover the best professional documents and content resources in AnyFlip Document Base.
Published by benyoung, 2019-07-09 09:51:59

AAA Insights - July/August 2019

In a sea of “bests,” our goal is for AAA Insights to help you cut through the
clutter to find what’s best for your life. Sure, we share best practices—
like packing expert Anne McAlpin’s tips for the best way to pack a carryon
bag (page 28) or the best ways to set financial goals (page 4). But we
also help you by providing actionable intel so you can make the best
decisions, like comparing TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and CLEAR
(page 17); showing you some of the best travel headphones (page 20)
and sharing some of our favorite new airport amenities (page 18).


The Motor City’s Culinary
Scene Finds Its Roots


The best cities for an Tips from a pro on Inspiring dinners
extended layover how to pack for 21 days delivered to your door

1 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019 in just a carry-on

Enjoy this summer with more savings
and less waiting.

AAA members save up to 20%, plus up to $25 off the base rate, on weekly
and weekend rentals.* Include your Club Discount Code CDP# 212 and
PC# 205169 in your reservation.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® members skip the counter.

Click: I Call: 1-800-654-3080 I Visit: Your local AAA branch

We’re here to get you there.

*The up to 20% off discount will vary depending on location, date, length of rental, car class and other factors. Up to $15 savings on a weekend rental
base rate or up to $25 savings on a weekly rental base rate. Discount applies to pay later base rate. Taxes and fees excluded. Promotion Code 205169
and AAA CDP# 212 must be provided at time of reservation for full-offer discounts. One (1) day minimum for weekend rentals and five (5) day minimum for
weekly rentals. This offer is available at participating Hertz locations in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Age, driver, credit and qualifying rate restrictions
for the renting location apply. Advance reservation required. Offer not valid and rate change or additional fees may apply in the event of reservation
modification, early/late vehicle return or if not returning vehicle to renting location. Valid on all car classes except Hertz Dream Cars®. Offer has no cash
value and may not be used with other discounts, promotions or special rates. Offer valid for vehicle pick-up through 09/30/19. Subject to availability,
blackout periods and additional restrictions. At the time of rental, present your AAA membership card or Hertz/AAA discount card for identification.
© 2019 Hertz System, Inc. All rights reserved. CS 419018

Contents 7 26


Packing expert Anne McAlpin shares the do’s
and don’ts of carry-on packing.


Tips to create some direction in your financial life

Easy ways you can start infusing your savings
with cash

We put Blue Apron, Sun Basket and Plated to the test.

Three ways to combat long airport security lines

Terminals across the country are making your
downtime less stressful and more enjoyable.

How to find comfortable headphones with a
powerful sound for your travels

What data is being collected, and what’s done with it

Old oil change habits are changing due to new
synthetic oils.


New and innovative restaurants make a visit
to “the D” a must.

Schedule some extra time on your next layover
to enjoy these cities.

Photo provided by the Apparatus Room in Detroit, Michigan


We place a lot of emphasis on the word “best” these days. The best new Publisher
car, the best way to get a stain off the couch, the best way to make Scott Lugar
my dog stop barking…you get the idea. We’re searching for the “best” Editorial Directors
things, from big to small. In fact, the number of online searches with Ben Young
the word “best” in them has increased by 80 percent in the last two Nicole Allen Bumbaugh
years, according to Google. Editors
John C. Moyer
As a society, we’ve changed the way we look for information. But in an Theresa G. Medoff
era of online searches leading us to the next best thing (see what I did Brock Johnson
there?), we sometimes forget that finding “the best” isn’t necessarily Creative Director
about finding the best thing that exists, it’s about finding the best Susan Kilcoyne
thing to fit our needs. Senior Graphic Designer
Paul Stevens
In a sea of “bests,” I hope that AAA Insights will help you cut through the Contributing Graphic
clutter to find what’s best for your life. Sure, we share best practices— Designer
like packing expert Anne McAlpin’s tips for the best way to pack a carry- Suzanne Duffy
on bag (page 28) or the best ways to set financial goals (page 4). But we Production Specialist
also help you by providing actionable intel so you can make the best Kimberly Jones
decisions, like comparing TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and CLEAR Business Operations
(page 17); showing you some of the best travel headphones (page 20) Manager
and sharing some of our favorite new airport amenities (page 18). Stephen McDonald
Digital Advertising
So while the term “best” seems straightforward, just remember— Coordinator
sometimes looking for “the best” is really just searching for the Colin Anderson
confidence to make a decision you won’t regret later.
Nicole Allen Bumbaugh
Editorial Director The Motor City’s Culinary
AAA Insights Scene Finds Its Roots


The best cities for an Tips from a pro on Inspiring dinners
extended layover how to pack for 21 days delivered to your door

1 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019 in just a carry-on


Go to
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How to Set Financial Goals

That Make An


By Ashley Chorpenning

It’s no secret that Americans struggle to save enough money to reach
their financial goals. Close to one-third of American households have
less than $1,000 saved. If you find that you have no direction when it
comes to saving money, it’s time to start setting and achieving your
own financial goals. Here’s the best way to begin.

Can you imagine hopping in your car with no destination in mind? If
you don’t establish a clear goal, you could end up driving in circles. The
same concept is true for your financial goals.

To define your objectives clearly, try creating SMART goals. SMART is
an acronym that means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant
and Time-related. Here’s how to apply this concept to your own
financial goals.

Specific: Vague goals can be challenging to stick to and difficult
to monitor, essentially setting you up for failure. The more specific
your goals are, the easier they are to track and adjust. For example,
instead of saying you would like to save more, say you would like to
contribute 5 percent of your income to your 401(k).

Measurable: To track your headway, your goals need to be
measurable. For example, if you set the goal of paying off your $1,000 credit card balance, you will
know you’ve achieved it when you have a zero balance.

Achievable: The easiest way to ensure success is to set goals you can achieve. For example, if you make $60,000
a year but want to pay off your mortgage of $100,000, this goal may be unrealistic. Review your income and
determine what’s truly realistic.

Relevant: When defining your goals, make sure they are pertinent to your current financial situation. It may not
make sense to save for a down payment on a home when you don’t plan to move for another ten years. You may
want to consider paying off high-interest debt or contributing to an emergency savings fund first.

Time-related: Last, determine a time frame for achieving your goals. If you establish a start and completion date,
it will help you accomplish your goals.

4 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019

Not only should you set goals for the future, but you should set goals for the here and now. Establishing short-
term goals can boost your motivation for completing your long-term goals. Your goals should complement
one another in such a way that once you achieve one, it aids you in the completion of the next.

For example, a short-term goal would be to pay off your $1,000 credit card bill within the next two months. A
long-term goal might be to begin saving for a down payment on a home within the next three months. These
goals complement each other because by paying off your credit card you’re freeing up extra cash to save for
your down payment.

Just because you’ve defined your goals doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make adjustments and reassess your
financial situation. Life is ever-changing, which may require you to adapt your goals along the way. Take the
time to review your goals and progress regularly and determine if they’re still your top priorities. If not, it’s okay
to adjust and establish a new direction.

Setting financial goals doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a little preparation and proper planning, you
can bring your goals to fruition.

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 5

Do You Have
the Five
Habits of
a Money

By Ashley Chorpenning

If you struggle to save, you’re not alone. In fact, close to 40 percent of Americans save less
than 5 percent of their annual salary each year. If you want to boost your savings, changing
your financial habits is one of the best ways to become a real money saver.

CREATE A BUDGET: To improve your financial health, it’s important to review the money you have coming
in and going out. A budget helps you monitor your spending habits and tells you where your money should
go. A good rule of thumb is to use the 50/30/20 rule by spending 50 percent of your income on necessities, 30
percent on luxuries, and saving 20 percent, according to Elizabeth Warren’s book All Your Worth: The Ultimate
Lifetime Money Plan.

1SET SAVINGS GOALS: Goals give you direction and keep you disciplined. Establishing savings goals can help
you stay motivated and consistent when contributing to your savings account. Writing down your goals is the
first step to creating a financial plan.
2AUTOMATE YOUR SAVINGS: Eliminate the temptation to skip a contribution or use your savings for other
purposes by automating your savings. Visit your bank or financial institution to set up a regular automatic
bank transfer from your checking to your savings account.

3REVIEW AND ADJUST YOUR BUDGET: Reviewing your budget will help you ensure you’re on course to
achieve your savings goals. Plan to review your budget regularly, say, every six months.

FIND DEALS AND DISCOUNTS: A true money saver does not want to part with his or her money. Always

4look for deals and discounts, which will help you keep more money in your wallet. When making big or small
5purchases, compare prices, and don’t be afraid to negotiate.

6 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019


Easy and Fun


Delivery Services

By Lauren Townsend

With busy lifestyles and the monotony of nightly dinner-making, meal kit
delivery services in the United States have grown to more than a $3 billion
industry, according to Supermarket News. With dozens of players to choose
from, how do you decide which are worth trying?

We put three meal kit services to the test to find out which contenders were the best. Just
like many families with unique needs, our two-person test team is time-crunched and has
dietary restrictions, with gluten and fish allergies.
We researched meal companies online and narrowed down the options to put Blue Apron,
Plated and Sun Basket to the test. The orders were placed for two meals per week for two
people, and a week later, we started cooking.
It can be a dizzying research process. Each company promises gourmet meals, fresh
ingredients and the ability to customize meal options. They all portion your food perfectly,
leave you feeling full and provide creative recipes with step-by-step instructions. Each meal
is packaged with ingredients for delivery to ensure everything stays cool throughout the
day and attempts to provide ‘environmentally friendly’ packaging. All have a simple sign-up
and meal selection process, and they allow you to skip weeks or cancel if it’s not right for you.
While the options were similar overall, we put them to the test and found the differences.

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 7

Weekly, 2–3 meals per week, Paleo-Inspired Meatballs with Pan
choose the day of delivery Con Tomate and Saffron Mayo
(Wednesday – Saturday) RECIPE LAYOUT
SERVINGS Simple recipe card with large
2 or 4 servings images, sequential steps, easy
MENU OPTIONS to follow; indicates time to
Recipes felt limited with prepare and caloric intake while
only 8 offered per week also including a wine pairing
MENU THEMES recommendation.
Offers wine program VERDICT
Promotes an 8-Week Test While the meal tasted good, the
Kitchen, exploring the combination was unusual. Also
country’s culinary wonders, had to substitute ingredients to
such as Nashville BBQ be gluten-free.

Weekly, 2–3 meals per week, Pork Chops with Apple
select top three delivery day Chutney and Root Vegetable
choices (Sunday – Saturday) Rumbledethumps
2 or 4 servings Recipe booklet with all
MENU OPTIONS available recipes for the week;
18 weekly recipes indicates time to prepare,
Offers dip selections caloric intake and dietary
for additional cost restrictions; also includes
MENU THEMES chef’s tips, wine pairing
Themed recipes each week such recommendation and kid-
as 'Bring the Sunshine Inside' friendly steps.
and‘Flavors of the Yucatan’

Weekly, 2–7 meals per week,
choose the day of delivery
(Wednesday – Saturday)
2, 3 or 4 servings
20 weekly recipes
Additional cost for desserts
No themed packages
Steak Frites with Creamy Shallot
Sauce and Sautéed Spinach

Is a meal kit right for you? If your evening schedule changes frequently, you may find
it hard to prepare the meal before it spoils—typically two to five days. If you enjoy
leftovers, don’t expect them, unless you order extra servings. Additionally, you must
invest the time weekly to make your meal selections or pause delivery.

8 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019

Small selection of meals, While many elements are Test Kitchen
few appeared gluten-free. recyclable, included a lot of
CONSIDERATIONS plastic with each ingredient. exploring the
Not ideal for anyone with Cold pack dispensed down country’s culinary
dietary restrictions. the drain versus in the trash. wonders, such as
25 – 35 minutes; Others provided garlic ready
Took 40 minutes to cut. Blue Apron provided
PRICE PER PERSON the full garlic to peel and cut,
$9.99 per serving which took longer.
+ $7.99 shipping

Tasty, healthy and filling; 35 – 50 minutes; FRIENDLINESS
would recommend a little Took 50 minutes Most environmentally weekly
more sauce if prepared again. PRICE PER PERSON conscious option. Includes recipes
OTHER RECIPES $12.99 per serving paper bags for packaging
AVAILABLE + $6.99 shipping (versus plastic) where
Variety of creative meals Additional for organic meat possible. Cold pack was easy
including fish, meat, soups, to dispense in the trash, most
veggies, etc.—12 out of 18 items otherwise recyclable.
were gluten-free. UNIQUE OBSERVATIONS
CONSIDERATIONS Meals are healthy and creative,
Organic ingredients and clearly and introduced us to dishes
marked recipes for gluten-free, we wouldn’t otherwise try—
vegetarian, vegan, paleo, etc. i.e., rumbledethump.

Simple recipe card with large Variety of cuisine types, FRIENDLINESS cuisine types,
images, sequential steps, easy to including 6 gluten-free While many elements including
follow; indicates time to prepare CONSIDERATIONS are recyclable, included
and caloric intake. Meals are categorized as a lot of plastic with each 6
VERDICT low carb, spicy, quick cook, ingredient. Cold pack was
Full of flavor—even the spinach— popular, stove-top only, under messy to dispense in trash. GLUTEN
would absolutely make again. 600 calories and no-gluten UNIQUE FREE
ingredients. OBSERVATIONS
PREP TIME Provided everything, even
35 – 45 minutes; Took 50 ½ cup of wine for recipe.
minutes (for crispier frites) Spinach came in a long-
PRICE PER PERSON lasting breathable bag.
$11.95 per serving Loved the ability to add
+ $7.95 shipping extra serving for leftovers.

Ready to try one? From our experience, each provider delivered on what they promised, and the recipes were a fun
deviation from standard nightly meals. Pick the service based on what’s important to you. Is price what matters? Try
Blue Apron. Do you have a dietary restriction? Both Sun Basket and Plated are great options. Concerned about the
environmental impact? Try Sun Basket. Now, it’s up to you to decide what’s important to you, and give it a try.

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 9

Delightful LADY OF
Dining in THE HOUSE

By Ben Young

I've been rooting for
Detroit for years now, and
I’m not talking about the
Tigers. Known to many
as being economically
depressed and rocked
by the Great Recession,
the Motor City has
experienced a renaissance
over the past few years,
with plenty of revitalized
neighborhoods and
start-up businesses
taking root. While the
automotive industry is still
the backbone of the local
economy, the city is on a
significant upswing. And,
with new businesses and
people flooding the area,
a vast selection of new
and innovative restaurants
make Detroit's culinary
scene more than worth
the visit. Check out some
of our favorite dining
destinations to include in
your next visit to 'the D.'

10 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019






Located on the second floor of AT REPUBLIC TAVERN About 15 minutes north of
the historic Wright-Kay building downtown Detroit, the town of
in downtown Detroit, Wright & COURTESY OF REPUBLIC TAVERN Ferndale has become a hub of
Company delights diners with independent restaurants and
its pressed tin ceilings, stunning REPUBLIC TAVERN shops. One of the founding
decor and large picture windows Diners at Republic Tavern, found restaurants of Ferndale’s rebirth
overlooking a bustling Woodward in the historic G.A.R. building was Assaggi Bistro, which opened
Avenue. The restaurant offers downtown, will revel in dishes in May 2000. The storefront
diners two options: snacks (smaller made from the freshest ingredients restaurant, complete with a
starters that can be seasonal) or from local farmers while soaking perfectly tended garden and
plates (perfect for sharing). The up a modern take on an old- seasonal patio, features an
fresh potato chips, complete with world tavern experience. The innovative menu that mixes and
white cheddar, bacon, scallions menu changes frequently, but matches such Mediterranean
and tomato relish, and the expect homemade charcuterie styles as French, Spanish, Greek
pork belly sliders served with a and cheeses, breads and a variety and Lebanese. Be sure to start with
delectable tomato jam, arugula of rotating small plates. While the grilled eggplant, dusted in
and sriracha aioli on a toasted the chef’s tasting menu is an roasted red peppers, goat cheese,
brioche bun are starters worth incredible culinary journey at $50 mozzarella, pesto and topped with
ordering. Popular sharable plates per person, some popular plates a balsamic reduction. The flatbread
include tuna tartare, served with include smoked pheasant pot pie pizzas feature a perfect crust,
spicy mayo, wontons, sweet with cranberry jam; crispy celery whether you go with the traditional
soy and pickled pear; Parisian root with smoked tomato sauce Margherita, the Bianca (caramelized
gnocchi with prosciutto, arugula and gruyere; and braised venison onions, ricotta, fontina and
and parmesan cheese; and beef agnolotti with white root cream, parmesan) or the Pear (caramelized
tenderloin complete with onion braised rapini, fried Brussels onion, cambozola pears and
soubise, cremini mushrooms, sprouts and pine nuts. The menu arugula). Locals suggest trying the
asparagus and red wine reduction. also boasts an excellent selection rigatoni Bolognese or housemade
of vegetarian dishes. gnocchi with wild mushrooms,
In addition to an extensive wine truffle oil and cream sauce. Another
list, Wright & Company offers menu highlight is the twice-cooked
some clever cocktails, including Moroccan duck legs served with
the Unknown Artist (dark rum, couscous, pistachios and dried
lime, maple, spiced cashew, palm fruits drizzled with pomegranate
sugar and cocoa powder), the barbeque sauce.
Small Riot (Tullamore D.E.W.,
apple brandy, honey, angostura
and Honey Nut Cheerios) and the
Sin Eater (rye whiskey, rhubarb
amaro, cinnamon, lavender and

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 11





COMPARI’S ON THE PARK artichoke, pine nuts, diced tomato Exceptional staff will help guide you
and basil) and the pasta compari through the impressive menu. Start
Half an hour west of Detroit in (penne pasta tossed with Italian with the thickly sliced housemade
the quaint but bustling town of sausage, peppers, sweet onion, bread served with apple butter or
Plymouth, you’ll find Compari’s on and meat sauce) are some of their the rotating charcuterie. With plates
the Park—a locally owned Italian favorites. They’ll probably tell you large enough to be shared, you
restaurant with a streetside patio to add baked cheese to any pasta can try several, including prime rib
overlooking the town square. The you try, too. (served with cauliflower, horseradish,
menu focuses on well-prepared pea shoots and au jus); carrot steak
Italian specialties, such as lasagna, LADY OF THE HOUSE with hollandaise and pistachio; and
risotto and pizza, but there are Located in the Corktown carrot tartare with challah, apple and
plenty of options worth trying. neighborhood of Detroit, this mustard. The menu changes due
Start with the fagioli Calabrese, a restaurant is an Instagrammer’s to available ingredients, but past
spicy dish of butter beans sautéed paradise. The rustic stone fireplace dishes like the corn dog rillettes and
with tubetti pasta, spinach, fennel, and bright white woodwork lamb steak continue to demonstrate
Italian sausage, banana peppers, make the dining room feel like the restaurant's innovative menu.
roasted red peppers, olive oil and a traditional European pub. The Be sure to close out your meal with
garlic. Locals are quick to tell you use of ingredients from local white potato donuts, complete
the lobster-and-cheese-stuffed urban farms and chef-owner Kate with chamomile, dried yogurt
ravioli (served in a blush sauce), Williams’ whole-animal utilization and sugared thyme—you won’t
the campelli amore (angel hair techniques make dining here more be disappointed.
pasta tossed in garlic, olive oil, than memorable.






12 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019

THE APPARATUS ROOM are the buckwheat gemeli (confit THE SEASONAL MENU AT
Located on the first floor of a turkey, sweet potatoes, kale and THE APPARATUS ROOM
historic building that once served hazelnut). Enjoy a top-notch NEVER DISAPPOINTS
as the Detroit Fire Fighters' beverage menu, along with some
Headquarters (now the Detroit irresistible dessert options. COURTESY OF APPARATUS ROOM
Foundation Hotel), this stunning
eatery blends classic and modern SISTER PIE HOMEMADE PIES
décor with beautifully presented Those looking for traditional AT SISTER PIE
dishes, resulting in a mesmerizing pies like apple or cherry may be
culinary journey. Breakfast and disappointed by this spot, but COURTESY OF SISTER PIE
lunch are more casual, but dinner those with a sweet tooth will find
is a first-class experience. sweet treats with unique flavor including buckwheat chocolate
combinations that explain why this chip cookies and a variety of
The menu changes seasonally, West Village bakery is so popular. shortbreads and scones. Be sure
but diners can always expect The signature pie is salted maple, to arrive early—this place is
fresh seafood and locally sourced served in a rustic, handmade pie packed most of the time. In case
poultry and beef. Adventurous crust filled with Grade B maple you can’t get in, owner and chef
diners may opt to try Chef Thomas syrup and flaky Maldon sea salt. Lisa Ludwinski shares many of her
Lent’s “Chef’s Choice”—an option While other pies on the menu unique pie recipes in her book
that combines menu ingredients change monthly, there are plenty Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories
into a unique multi-course meal. of other desserts to pick from, of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit
Try the crispy fried cauliflower so you can make them at home.
with Korean hot sauce, lime
cream and grape. The Maine
scallops, complete with parsnip,
pomegranate and saffron
vermouth cream, are a delight, as

GOOD CAKES Lemon Velvet Cake Add dry ingredients in 4 divisions and cheese in chunks. Beat until smooth
AND BAKES liquid ingredients in 3 divisions. It is and fluffy, adding only enough milk
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour very important to begin and end the to bring the frosting to a creamy,
With a passion for providing 3 cups sifted cake flour additions with the dry ingredients. spreadable consistency. Fill and frost
baked goods that are whole- 1 tsp baking soda Do not overmix the batter. As soon as the cake. Garnish with candied lemon
some and organic in nature, 1 tbsp baking powder there are no lumps in the batter, divide zest if desired.
lifelong baker April Anderson 2 tsp salt the batter evenly among the three
knows a thing or two about 3 cups sugar prepared 10-inch cake pans. LEMON VELVET CAKE
making great cakes. From 1 1/3 cup canola oil
butter cakes to pound cakes, 2/3 cup butter at room temperature Put the cake pans on a tray before COURTESY OF
and cheesecakes to cup- 1 tsp good butter vanilla extract placing in oven. Bake at 325 degrees GOOD CAKES AND BAKES
cakes and other pastries and 4 tsp pure lemon extract for 35-40 minutes (20 minutes and
sweet treats, Good Cakes 6 large eggs turn tray) or until a wooden toothpick
and Bakes has been cooking 3 cups buttermilk inserted in the center comes out clean.
up decadent treats since
2013. Try making Good Spray three 10-inch round cake pans. Frosting
Cakes and Bakes' Lemon Sift together both flours, baking soda,
Velvet Cake—a refreshing baking powder and salt, and set aside. 8 cups sifted powdered sugar
dessert perfect for the hot
summer months. With an electric mixer, beat together 1 cup unsalted butter
the sugar, canola oil, butter, vanilla
and lemon extract. Beat well at high 2 packages cream cheese
speed with whisk attachment until
light and fluffy (6-8 minutes, put 1 tsp pure lemon extract
timer on). Beat the eggs in one at a zest of two small or one large lemon
time. Slowly add in the dry ingredients grated and finely chopped
alternately with the buttermilk.
1/4 cup milk (approximately)

Mix together the powdered sugar,
lemon zest and butter until it becomes
sort of crumbly. Add the lemon extract
and a little of the milk. Add the cream

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 13

I WANT TO GO TO THERE into a Day Trip

for Converting a Layover



By Benjamin Szweda BOS BOSTON, MA
Logan International Airport
Stopovers are a well-known part of international travel made even provides visitors with free
more popular with budget airlines like Icelandair dropping passengers train transportation from the airport
in Reykjavik en route to Europe. Because of airline ticketing rules, the to Boston’s South Station, but if
practice is less widespread domestically, but it is still possible. Whether you want to start your sightseeing
you choose a long connection or purposely book a multi-city itinerary, early, use the water taxi. First-timers
several airport and city pairs make convenient options for your layover- will also enjoy Old Town Trolley’s
turned-day-trip. hop-on-hop-off tour. The narration
is excellent, and it serves as a fine
14 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019 mode of transport. Catch the trolley
at South Station and ride west
into Back Bay or north to the USS
Constitution Museum and Bunker Hill
Monument, the northernmost point
on the Freedom Trail. Even though
the charming streets of Boston twist
and turn, it's difficult to get lost
as a real red brick road called The
Freedom Trail leads the way to many
of the must-see attractions.

CLE CLEVELAND, OH THE WORLD'S LARGEST drive you between 25 different
Taking a direct train OUTDOOR CHANDELIER, stops with narration the entire way.
link can quickly get you from LOCATED NEAR PLAYHOUSE
Cleveland Hopkins International SQUARE IN CLEVELAND If you’ve been to D.C. before, you
Airport to Tower City at the heart might instead head south from the
of downtown and only steps away CLEVELAND'S HISTORIC airport to visit Old Town Alexandria,
from Public Square, the city’s WEST SIDE MARKET Virginia, just two stops from the
newly renovated 6.5-acre urban airport. Next to the train station is
oasis. Buy a transit day pass for COURTESY OF the George Washington Masonic
$5.50 and use the train service IGOR OLIYARNIK National Memorial. In the other
to visit the restored 1912 West direction is King Street, where a
Side Market and expanding Ohio THE NATIONAL MALL free trolley will take you past local
City neighborhood. You’ll have IS HIGHLY ACCESSIBLE restaurants, galleries, boutiques
your choice of delectable dining FROM D.C.'S METRO and gift shops selling unique local
options, including Southern, TRAIN SYSTEM wares. Your reward at the end of the
vegan, Mexican and more in street is the seaport with restaurant
Ohio City. Visit local boutiques, DCA ARLINGTON,VA patios, boat cruises and other water
breweries and coffee shops, or (WASHINGTON, D.C.) activities, depending on the season.
explore Cleveland’s famous art There is also the Torpedo Factory
museum’s west-side outpost. If If the weather is nice, Art Center, where you can meet
you have more time, rent a bike your tour of D.C. begins more than 80 working artists in
and ride to the shores of Lake Erie as you fly over the monuments their studios.
and Edgewater Beach, or return surrounding Reagan National
downtown, where a free trolley Airport. Reagan is served by two
service will take you to the Rock Metro rail lines that can get you
& Roll Hall of Fame. Located next quickly to attractions in northern
door is a restored bulk freighter Virginia or D.C. If you’re a first-time
that both kids and adults love to visitor to D.C., you might take the
tour. You can also use your transit blue line north to the Smithsonian
day pass to take a direct bus line stop in the heart of the National
to the front door of the Cleveland Mall. From there you can walk to
Museum of Art, botanical the excellent free guided tours of
gardens, and other art and history the Lincoln Memorial, Library of
museums around the city. Congress, U.S. Capitol and Supreme
Court. If the weather is lousy, duck
into one of the countless free
museums or take Old Town Trolley’s
hop-on-hop-off city tour that will

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 15

Denver is perfectly suited IS A PERFECT PLACE TO Whether flying
for stopovers. Just take a ride on SPEND AN AFTERNOON into Chicago via O’Hare International
the airport’s A-Line train and in (ORD) in the northwest or Midway
40 minutes you’ll reach the city's CHICAGO'S International (MDW) in the
beautifully restored 19th-century NAVY PIER southwest, you can quickly get to
Union Station. When exiting the city center via train. The orange
Union Station, stow your luggage COURTESY OF line from Midway and the blue line
with LUGDEN, a van parked GRACE HO from O’Hare both run through The
across the street from the station. Loop at the heart of the city. From
Without your bags, you can walk, DENVER AND here, your options are endless. You
scooter or take a free bus down THE FOOTHILLS might walk to the newly developed
the length of 16th Street, which OF THE ROCKY Chicago Riverwalk—descend
is free of vehicle traffic. Take your MOUNTAINS to river level and rent a boat or
time, stopping at independent ARE PERFECT kayak or have a riverside meal. If
booksellers, restaurants and TO EXPLORE you head north of the river, you
boutiques, or just relax in the ON A DAY TRIP can walk to Navy Pier and catch a
median parks. If you make it all sightseeing or dinner cruise. South
the way to North Broadway where to the State Capitol for a free tour. of the river you can explore The Art
the pedestrian zone ends, head The history lesson is interesting, Institute of Chicago or rent a bike
and access to the exterior of the and enjoy the miles of bike trails
Capitol’s dome is an exciting end along Lake Michigan's coast. Bike
to the tour. There is no shortage out to the peninsula where the
of food or brewery tours in Shedd Aquarium is located for a
Denver, but for something unique, refreshing view of the city. Chicago
visit the U.S. Mint and see how is unique because of its diverse
the nation’s coins are produced. neighborhoods, so if you’ve already
If you’ve been to the city before explored downtown, head north. The
or have more time on your hands, red line can take you to explore the
consider taking a half- or full-day streets of Andersonville, known for
trip to the mountains. With four its high concentration of local shops
hours to spare, you can explore and restaurants. Or tour the tree-lined
Red Rock Canyon and catch a streets of Lincoln Park, just steps from
view of the Rocky Mountain the city’s free zoo. If you’d rather sit
foothills on a tour. With a full day down and let the scenery pass you
at your disposal, you can see big by, check out the Riverwalk onboard
horn sheep and elk up close as Chicago’s First Lady cruises for a river
you drive above 11,000 feet into architecture tour.
the Rockies.

16 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019



By Benjamin Szweda

As lines grow longer at airports across the country, passengers are looking for ways
to shorten their pre-flight experience. A crowded field of programs offering ease and
expediency through the airport has appeared, promising to get you to the gate with as little
hassle as possible. Here is our comparison to help you determine the best option for you.

PreCheck offers departing passengers flying a select 56 airlines expedited passage through the physical
screening process at more than 200 U.S. airports. Enrolled passengers use special screening lanes and can
leave their shoes, belts and light jackets on while passing through a metal detector with their laptops and
liquids still in their carry-on. Enrollment is $85 for five years.

This U.S. Customs and Border Patrol program offers all the benefits of PreCheck, plus expedited passage
through U.S. Customs when arriving stateside. Enrolled passengers use a kiosk to scan their passport and
fingerprints and complete a digital landing card. Passengers then collect their luggage and exit unless they
have made declarations. Membership is $100 for five years.
The enrollment processes for both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry begin online and conclude with an
in-person appointment and background check. Both programs have citizenship requirements and certain
criminal convictions can be disqualifying. For more information or to use an interactive tool to determine
which of these two travel programs is best for you, visit Note that some
credit cards will refund the fee a cardholder pays for PreCheck and Global Entry.

Unlike the government-sponsored programs, CLEAR, a product of a biometric screening technology company,
saves time during the document checking process for departing U.S. flights. This is the step before the x-ray
machines where a TSA agent checks your boarding pass and ID. Instead of this process, CLEAR offers kiosks where
enrolled passengers have their fingerprints and irises scanned before moving onto the physical screening.
A U.S. ID is required to enroll in CLEAR. The service is only available at select airports in 15 states. The annual
enrollment fee is $179, but discounts are available for Delta Diamond Medallion Members (free), Silver through
Platinum members ($109) and all Delta SkyMiles Members ($119). Since CLEAR only expedites the document
check process, many CLEAR members also hold TSA PreCheck or Global Entry memberships.

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 17

AIRPORTBest New As air traffic continues to
increase, airports, airlines and
AMENITIES terminal vendors are unleashing
fresh new amenities to make
passenger downtime less
stressful and more enjoyable.
Check out some of the latest
airport amenities at select
terminals near you.

Therapy animals to help anxious
travelers have become all the rage
at airports across the country over
the past couple of years, with
many airports offering therapy
dogs and even therapy cats.
Two airports have taken this to
a new level. The Louis Armstrong
New Orleans International Airport
has added weekly visits with baby
alligators, while passengers at
the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky
International Airport may see
miniature therapy horses around
the terminal.
We’ve all been in a busy airport Travel can create stress, and one of the best ways to conquer stress is to
bathroom and unable to figure work out. Baltimore–Washington International Airport recently added ROAM
out which stalls are occupied or Fitness—a post-security gym with cardio and strength-training equipment.
vacant. Atlanta's Hartsfield–Jackson The facility even features private shower rooms and complimentary clothing
International Airport is is using and shoe rentals. Single day, three-day, five-day and annual passes are
Tooshlights’ smart latches on stall available to airport guests with valid boarding passes.
doors to make finding an open
stall a bit easier. When the latch is
open, a light over the stall is green,
and when the latch is closed, the
light turns red. The latches also
track usage to optimize restroom
cleaning schedules.

18 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019


Who couldn’t go for a quick Business travelers will marvel at two of the latest concepts that
recharge during a long layover? provide them top-notch amenities so they can keep working while
Minute Suites is rapidly they’re on the go. Varidesk just launched a co-working space at the
expanding its presence across Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport complete with a conference
the country, with locations in table and 24 powered standing workstations. At the Cincinnati/
Dallas, Philadelphia, Charlotte Northern Kentucky International Airport and La Guardia Airport in
and Atlanta, and more on the New York, travelers can take advantage of Jabbrbox—small private
way. Guests can grab a nap, watch workspaces that offer Wi-Fi, USB charging and audio speakers for
television or catch up on work by those without lounge access. Rooms (reminiscent of an oversized
reserving private space. Joining phone booth) are available in 15-minute increments, perfect for a
Minute Suites in the airport rest- quick conference call without any background noise.
and-relaxation space is Sleepbox,
a micro-hotel experience at Those who want some play time at the airport should check out the
Washington Dulles International Gameway video game entertainment lounges that opened last year
Airport. The Sleepbox Nap Lounge, at Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport in Concourses B and E.
located in Concourse A, gives guests Lounges are equipped with a leather chair, an Xbox One loaded
the ability to sleep on a memory with 19 games, a large flat screen TV, noise-canceling headphones
foam bed in a soundproof pod with and charging and storage areas.
full access to power outlets and
entertainment options. In Terminal 1 at the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport,
travelers can play dozens of the world’s top courses on golf
simulators while they wait for their flight. There’s also a virtual
driving range and putting green.

Following Pittsburgh International Airport’s
successful launch of the “myPITpass” program, the
Seattle–Tacoma airport just completed a pilot of a
similar concept that allows the non-airline-ticket-
holding public to pass through the TSA security
checkpoint, granting gate-side airport access
not seen in years. In what many hope is a trend,
the programs allow non-flyers to access airport
shopping and dining while seeing their loved
ones off to the gate.

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 19

Our Favorite


Whether you want to binge-watch your new favorite television series, listen to an
album or podcast, or nap without having to hear those around you, comfortable
headphones with powerful sound are a must. Between getting the right fit and the
right features, finding the best pair for you can take a lot of time and research. To
help make the process a little easier, we’re sharing some of our favorite picks for
travel headphones.

Bose Quiet Comfort 35

Probably the most comfortable headphones we’ve tested, this model features
a decent wireless range and a 20-hour battery life that can be aided by power-
saving features. These headphones are lightweight, easy-to-use and deliver
a powerful sound with a lot of bass. Like most wireless headphones, consider
using them wired if you’re watching tv or a movie to avoid any latency.

20 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019

Apple AirPods

Tiny and tangle-free, AirPods provide a rich, high-quality sound.
Features like auto connect and battery status work with Apple devices,
but sound quality still delivers with Android devices (without as many
bells and whistles). AirPods provide five hours of listening time or two
hours of talk time on a single charge, but the charging case holds up to
24 hours’ worth of extra power. Like most in-ear models, AirPods won’t
block out all external sound, but their design manages to stifle most
conversation and the roar of a jet engine.

Beats Solo3

With up to 40 hours of sound on one charge, Beats Solo3 also
feature simple-to-use, multi-function on-ear controls. Available
in a variety of colors, the ear cushions are soft enough for
moderate lengths of time.

Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones WH-1000XM3

This Sony model is perfect if you want more control over the sound and noise
cancellation than is available with the Bose Quiet Comfort model. With up to 30
hours of battery life and a quick charge feature, this model also has a companion
app that can customize your sound profile. For a cheaper model, try the Sony
WH-700N at $198.

Jabra Elite Active 65T

If you’re looking for travel headphones you can
stow in your pocket that deliver above-average
sound, these are worth checking out. They have a
decent 5-hour battery life and the charging case
can provide you with a total of 15 hours of sound.


With a simple, compact and portable design and an 8-hour battery life, these
headphones are one of the best values out there. They feature a decent sound
with deep bass, and their in-ear fit blocks a fair amount of noise.

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 21


Ensuring Summer Safety Do You Have the Right
Auto Coverage?
Summer is a great time to enjoy friends, family, food and
the outdoors—and an important time to keep safety top To help protect you and your assets,
of mind. it’s important to understand how much
and which types of auto insurance
Grill Safety coverage you would need to recover
More than 5,700 grill fires happen every year, causing an financially from a vehicular accident.
average of $37 million in damage and thousands of visits to The following are five components of
emergency rooms, according to the Insurance Information auto insurance coverage that every
Institute. When grilling, follow these safety guidelines. driver needs to know:

• Keep your grill at least 10 feet from your home and deck. • Liability coverage—covers the other
• Never leave a grill unattended. party if you’re responsible for the
• Keep your grill clean from grease and fat build-up. crash
• Store propane tanks outside and away from your home.
• C omprehensive coverage—provides
Pool Safety reimbursement for damage caused by
Nearly 10 people a day, including 2 children aged 14 or something other than a collision, such
younger, die from unintentional drowning, according to as hail, a fallen tree or vandalism
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drowning
ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional • Collision coverage—covers physical
injury death in the U.S. Take these precautions to increase damage to your insured vehicle
your pool safety. caused by a collision, regardless
of fault
• Use a safety cover for the pool when it is not in use.
• Uninsured and underinsured
• Surround the pool with a fence or barrier, no less than motorist coverage—reimburses
four feet high, per the U.S. Consumer Product Safety the policyholder, or a covered family
Commission. member, if he or she is the victim
of a hit-and-run incident or an
• Keep lifesaving equipment such as life rings, floats or accident caused by an uninsured or
a reaching pole nearby. underinsured driver

• Supervise children at all times, even when they are not • Medical payments—pays for the
in the pool. Drowning can happen quickly and silently, treatment of injuries to the driver and
so it’s important to both listen and watch. passengers of the policyholder’s car.

Also ensure you have the right homeowner’s insurance in You also may want to consider buying
the event of an accident or loss. Review and update your a personal umbrella policy that adds
coverage at least once a year and also whenever you make protection by paying when your
changes that could affect your insurance—for example, if underlying coverages are exhausted.
you install a new pool, construct updates or additions to
your home, or move. Visit or your Once you have the coverages you
local AAA Store to learn more. need, choose a deductible, which is
the amount of money you pay on a
22 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019 claim before the insurance company
reimburses you. Typically, deductibles
are $500 or $1,000; the higher your
deductible, the lower your premium.

Finally, review your auto insurance
whenever something changes in your
life that might affect your coverage,
such as buying a new or used vehicle
or adding a new driver to your

To learn more about protecting
yourself with the right auto insurance,
visit, or a local
AAA Store.


Don’t Be Put on ‘the Spot’ Know Your Roadside Benefits

Auto dealers use a term they don’t want Recently, a member told us he’d locked his keys inside his car
you to know about: spotting. Spotting twice in one year—before remembering AAA provides vehicle
is getting a customer on the showroom lock-out service. Do you know all the roadside-assistance
floor to buy a car that day. It’s every benefits your AAA membership delivers? Here’s a quick list
salesperson’s goal. Salespeople know of how we can help you on the road:
that if you go home without sealing
the deal on your vehicle purchase, you Towing Service—tow your vehicle up to 5 miles, 100 miles
might change your mind about buying or even 200 miles depending on your membership plan
the vehicle. Perhaps, for example, you
will realize that there’s a better deal Tire Changes—replace your flat with your spare
elsewhere or that you’re not getting
exactly what you want. Battery Service—test and jump-start your battery, or install
a new battery for free depending on your plan*
To avoid the pressures of spotting,
take the following precautions. Out-of-Fuel Service—bring enough gas to reach the nearest
service station
• D o your homework. Know your
budget and your needs. Consider Stuck Vehicle Service—pull your vehicle from a ditch or mud**
getting approved for a loan before
you shop to ensure you are getting Lock-Out Service—get you back into your car
the best possible rate. Check with your
local banks/credit unions and with Bicycle Coverage—pick you up if you are stuck on the road
AAA so that you know you are getting with a disabled bicycle.
a competitive interest rate and term as
well as a payment that fits your budget. Members also get discounts at AAA-owned Car Care Centers
and more. Go to to review the benefits
• Sleep on it. Never buy or lease a car for your plan.
on the first day. Go home to think it
over. Not only will waiting help ensure *L imitations apply to the Premier Battery Replacement Benefit. Visit
that you make the right decision, but for details.
it often leads to the dealership making
you a better offer to lure you back in. **Limitations apply. See the Member Benefits Guide for details.

Looking for a new or used vehicle? Visit or call 833/345-
5626; in Connecticut, call 800/332-5626.

AAA is not a lender and does not underwrite loan requests.
Interest rates are contingent on model year, down payment
and credit score. AAA may be compensated for the referral
of auto loan customers.


Traveling Abroad? Pack the Proper Currency

Travel season is here. As you make plans to travel abroad, be sure to pack the right mix and amounts of currency.
For pricey goods and services, consider carrying the AAA Member Rewards Visa credit card, featuring no annual
fee and no foreign transaction fees. Since many foreign merchants prefer cash over plastic—especially for
smaller-ticket purchases such as taxi rides, snacks and, of course, tips—consider also taking local currency on
your travels abroad.

You can purchase more than 80 currencies from your local AAA Store. When you order today, your currency will
be delivered to your AAA Store within 48 hours. There is no need to wait at home for delivery to sign for the
package. You simply return to your AAA Store at your convenience, pick up your currency and are ready to go.

For more information, visit your local AAA Store or

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 23


Will Travel
Get a Free AAA Classic Membership
Renewal With Sprint At AAA, we love the
romance and freedom of
What’s worse than your car breaking down in the middle the open road. We’ve been a
of nowhere? Having no cell service in an emergency. But part of America’s road trips
thanks to Sprint and AAA, you won’t have to worry about since before the first miles of
getting stranded. interstate were paved, and
we’ve seen the AAA emblem
When you join Sprint now, you’ll receive network reliability on family cars from the ’55
within 1 percent of other wireless carriers and free AAA Chevy to Mom’s minivan.
Classic membership renewals for you and your family.* Over the years, most road
trips have started at AAA
If you’re aged 55 or older, you can get two lines of Unlimited with a TripTik routing to
data/talk/text for only $35 per month, per line.**Visit Sprint. guide the way to vacation
com/AAA55. destinations throughout
the country.
Not yet 55 or need more than two lines? You can still get the
best price for Unlimited when you switch to Sprint and gain Today, a new generation of
access to a range of benefits, including exclusive member- the TripTik Travel Planner is
only pricing, a 25 percent discount on eligible accessories, available in the palm of your
and the Safe & Found app for free. hand on the AAA Mobile
app. It allows you to get
Don’t get stuck on the side of the road without reliable point-to-point directions,
roadside assistance or strong wireless coverage. Join AAA complete with current
and Sprint to experience the best in safety and convenience. detour and construction
For more information, visit information, and it shows
you the best hotels,
*AAA Renewal Offer: Limited-time offer. Available for active AAA members. One free/ restaurants, attractions and
paid Classic/Basic renewal fee per year, per eligible line on Sprint account. Classic/Basic gas prices along the way.
renewal fee may be applied to Plus or Premier membership fee. Fees paid by Sprint are
nonrefundable and nontransferable. Sprint Account must remain active and in good Download the free AAA
standing to receive offers. Excludes CL, MBB devices, tablets and Sprint Phone Connect. Mobile app today to try the
Requires eBill and new account activation. Sprint and logo are trademarks of Sprint. TripTik Travel Planner. Text
APP212 to 87255* or visit
**Sprint Unlimited 55+ Plan: $50 per month for line 1, $20 per month for line 2; requires to
new lines of service with AutoPay. MHS at 3G speeds. Video streams up to 480p, music download and register the
streams up to 500kbps, gaming streams up to 2 Mbps. Data deprioritization during AAA Mobile app.
congestion. Other monthly charges apply. Account holder must be aged 55 or older.
Two-line maximum. Includes unlimited domestic calling, texting and data with 3G Mobile *Message and data rates may apply. Reply
Hotspot VPN and P2P data. Discounted phones subject to additional $25 per month, per HELP for help. Reply STOP to opt out.
line. Third-party content/downloads are additional charge. Plan not available for tablets/
MBB devices. Select international services are included; see

24 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019

What Does Your Car Know About You?


By Ben Young

Despite the rise of car-sharing and public transportation, driving a car is still the norm in America.
Most Americans spend an average of 294 hours behind the wheel each year, according to a recent
AAA American Driving Survey report. With all that time you’re spending in the driver’s seat, your
vehicle knows more about you than ever, collecting data about the roads you take, the way you
drive and even the music you listen to.

WHAT YOUR CAR KNOWS development so that manufacturers better understand how
Most drivers aren’t aware of the volume of information people and vehicles react to various driving conditions.
collected by sensors, cameras and onboard computers.
While the exact information gathered varies by year, Many automakers are getting your vehicle’s information
make and model, many cars collect information about from a wireless connection. A 2018 investigation by
your driving habits (including acceleration, braking and Consumer Reports found that 32 out of 44 brands have
steering), road conditions, driver alerts and notifications, some type of wireless data connection that can transmit
locations and personal preferences (including commonly information directly to automobile manufacturers without
driven routes, destinations and even the radio station that the owner knowing how that data is being used.
you listen to).
On top of data our vehicles automatically collect about When it comes to the data collected by sensors and
us, most drivers willingly enter information into their cameras in your vehicle, the laws are a little murky.
car just by syncing their smartphone to their vehicle for According to KXAS, the NBC affiliate in Dallas, Texas, a
convenience. This action often transmits contact lists, call 2015 federal law says crash data belongs to the vehicle’s
logs, text messages, addresses, emails and more to the owner, not the automobile manufacturer, but crash data
vehicle’s onboard computer to create a more connected is just a tiny fraction of the data being collected. Various
driving experience, but this information can be stored lobbying groups, including AAA, are advocating that
until the user removes it. vehicle data be defined as the property of the car’s owner.

WHAT VEHICLES DO WITH DATA There are, however, aspects of vehicle data collection
So why is your vehicle collecting data? For automakers, that you can control. If you sync your smartphone to
the road to revenue is paved with useful data, and mining your vehicle, consider restricting how much personal
your vehicle’s data creates an opportunity for them information you voluntarily transmit to the car’s onboard
to develop innovative technology while also driving computer. In addition, if you sell your vehicle, be sure
revenue by creating new vehicle features based on driver to consult your owner’s manual to determine how to
data. Currently, much of the data being collected from delete your personal information from the car’s onboard
our vehicles is used to support self-driving vehicle computer. If you can’t locate your owner’s manual, visit
your car manufacturer’s website for a digital copy.

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 25


By Matt Hill

How often should I change my car’s oil? Is the 3,000-mile threshold as set in stone as the
6-month interval dentists recommend for having your teeth cleaned, or is it more flexible?
As it turns out, this typically recommended oil change time frame may be overly cautious.
Director of AAA Car Care Troy Cox says most vehicles now receive a full or semi-synthetic
oil change, causing the intervals for an oil change to decrease drastically. “It’s a consumer
benefit,” says Cox. “Vehicles require less down time for oil changes. What was once 3,000
miles is now more of a 5,000 to 7,500-mile standard.”

Regular oil changes keep your car’s engine well lubricated, and while oil does break down over time, in
most circumstances an oil change will last considerably longer than 3,000 miles. The advice to change your
vehicle’s oil every 3,000 miles dates back several decades, prior to the development of synthetic oil, and it is
particularly championed by quick lube chains. Unfortunately, relying on this guidance results in unnecessary
oil changes, which can negatively impact both your finances and the environment. How often you change
your oil should depend on both the type of oil your vehicle requires and the type of driving you do.

Synthetic oils were developed as an alternative to conventional motor oil. Although the technology had
been used to lubricate jet engines for many years, synthetic oil wasn’t widely available commercially for
automobiles until the mid-1990s. Synthetics and semi-synthetics are a more highly refined version than the
conventional alternative and may boost performance while providing a cleaner overall experience for your
engine. Synthetic oil also comes with the added benefit of extending the need for oil changes to nearly
10,000 miles. The drawback to synthetic oil is the higher price tag, but the added cost may be recouped by
the reduced cost associated with less-frequent oil changes.

Another factor in determining oil-change frequency is your driving patterns. Drivers who regularly drive
short distances or are often in stop-and-go traffic should change their oil more frequently because short trips
and low RPMs don’t heat the oil as much, and therefore reduce its overall distribution through your engine’s
components. Most people are surprised to find that this type of driving can qualify as “severe” driving
conditions, even though sitting in traffic can feel like the exact opposite. Many modern cars are equipped
with monitoring that takes driving patterns into account. For example, the Buick Encore manual states that
the car's oil change light is based on a calculation that includes not only mileage, but also engine revolutions
and engine temperature.

Your vehicle type also plays a role in how frequently oil changes are required. The manual for my 2015 Hyundai
Santa Fe cites a 7,500-mile regular maintenance schedule for oil changes. Newer vehicles may require less frequent

26 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019

changes, while older engines may require an oil change more often. It’s also important to note that if you lease a
vehicle, you need to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule to comply with the terms of the lease.

My general approach for determining when to change my car’s oil is to consider my vehicle manufacturer’s
recommendations, check my maintenance records and determine how long it’s been since my last oil change,
and adjust to account for unusual driving patterns or the use of synthetic oils. This method will most likely
extend your range between oil changes to far beyond the 3,000-mile mark of years gone by. Not only will you
be doing your wallet a favor, but you’ll be doing your part to reduce the impact of unwarranted oil changes on
our environment. According to the EPA, the waste oil from just one vehicle has the potential to contaminate
one million gallons of fresh water. Note that oil waste should always be recycled or disposed of properly.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. AAA does not guarantee any particular outcome.

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 27


Anne McAlpin is the author of PACKING TIPS FOR THE
Pack It Up: The Essential Guide CARRY-ON TRAVELER
to Smart Travel, available at or By Anne McAlpin

28 AAA INSIGHTS July/August 2019 It’s all about packing light these days, so on my 21-day
trip around the world, I challenged myself to travel with
just a carry-on. I’m happy to report that I did it, thanks in
part to using a new lightweight, carry-on bag and a lot of
pre-planning that helped lighten my load.

I traveled with a 21" four-wheeled carry-on and a personal bag
(generally defined as a large purse, backpack or tote that fits under
the seat in front of you). I packed my handbag inside my personal
bag, which gave me extra room but only counted as one bag. One of
my flights had a carry-on bag weight restriction of only 18 pounds,
so the investment I made in a new lightweight bag paid for itself
because I didn’t have to pay checked bag fees.

Here are some of my favorite carry-on tips that will make for easier
packing and travel.


• C heck your airline’s carry-on Start with a checklist and use these Try these tips for packing it all up.
size and weight restrictions in tips to take less.
advance. For most domestic • S pace is limited in a carry-on bag,
airlines, the maximum dimensions • Pack for a week and do laundry. so organization is key.
for a carry-on bag are 22" x 14" x Travel with clothes that are easy
9" including handles and wheels. to wash out in the sink and can • P ack your heaviest items (like
International airlines may require drip dry overnight. shoes) near the wheels. This helps
even smaller bags. distribute the weight and makes
• Plan your travel wardrobe around your bag easier to handle.
• Some airlines charge a fee for a two basic colors, so the same
carry-on bag, depending on the shoes and accessories can be • P lace personal items like
type of fare you purchase. worn with everything. underwear inside plastic bags. If
security needs to check your bag,
• Liquids Rule: You are allowed • Take a maximum of three pairs of you’ll both be happier.
to bring one quart-sized, clear shoes: wear one, pack two (also
plastic bag of liquids through toss in flip-flops; they don’t take • To roll or fold? Roll knit items like
the security checkpoint. These are up much room). t-shirts, shorts and sundresses;
limited to travel-sized containers fold anything cotton. Use plastic
that are 3.4 ounces or less per item. • M y clothing ratio is 3:1. I pack dry cleaner bags between cotton
three tops for every bottom. Nine layers to help minimize wrinkles.
Tip: The secret to packing liquids tops and three bottoms works for
so they won’t leak is filling plastic almost every trip. • Organize your bag with packing
bottles only ¾ of the way full, cubes. Use a variety of cubes in
squeezing out the air & and then • Layer your clothes for warmth different colors and sizes to make
screwing on the lid tightly. instead of packing bulky coats packing and unpacking a breeze.
and sweaters.
• Always keep medications and • If you are taking bulky items like
valuables in your personal bag in • P ack multipurpose items to save sweaters or puffy jackets, either
case your carry-on bag has to be space: A large cotton scarf can wear them on the plane or pack
checked at the last minute. be used as a swimsuit cover-up them inside compression bags.
or to cover bare shoulders when These reusable bags save up to 30
• P ut ID tags on all your bags, entering places of worship. A percent more space in your bag
and include your mobile phone microfiber travel towel works and are great for packing dirty
number and email address. great as a quick-drying beach laundry (they seal in odor).
towel or as a blanket on the plane.
• D ownsize your electronics. Fewer • Perhaps the best tip for taking the
electronics means fewer adapters stress out of carry-on travel? Take
and plugs. a packable duffel bag (especially
if you like to shop). Keep it packed
and use it on the way home to
transport souvenirs, laundry and
other odds and ends.


TSA Luggage Lock: It’s always a good idea to travel with a luggage lock, especially if you have to
check your bag. I like a lock-and-cable combo, which allows you to secure your bag to another bag
(or an object) in case you need to store it somewhere.

Worldwide Four-Port USB Charger: Some older hotels only have one outlet, and with this charger,
you can charge up to four devices simultaneously.

Security Wallet: If traveling internationally, be sure to use a security wallet to keep your passport,
credit cards and important documents hidden and not easily accessible.

AAA INSIGHTS • July/August 2019 29

AAA Insights AAA INSIGHTS 866.222.1357 PRSRT STD
1 River Place AAA.COM/INSIGHTS U.S. Postage
Wilmington, DE 19801
AAA Mid-Atlantic

AAA Member:

Here’s How to Make Money

Open an Online Savings Account today from Discover. As a AAA
member, you’ll earn a rate that is .05% higher than our national rate.

ONLINE SAVINGS ACCOUNT AAA “Preferred Member” rates
Interest compounded daily for maximum earnings
MEMBER” FDIC insurance up to the maximum allowed by law
As a AAA “Preferred Member”, you’ll earn more with an OSA from Discover:
As of 5/15/19
Call 1.800.347.7056 | Use invitation code: MAGAOSA

1Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Applies to personal accounts only. Advertised Online Savings Account APY is accurate as of
5/15/19 and subject to change daily without notice. APY may change before or after the account is opened. Fees could reduce
earnings on the account. There is no minimum deposit required to open the account.

© 2019 Discover Bank, Member FDIC

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Marlborough Prospectus 2019