By BETH TURNER
COME ON IN: Whether you own an AAA membership or not, AAA Travel and Insurance’s T’mia Kelly, Francell Samuels, Cindy Bailey, Claudia Fairless and Michelle Manios all welcome you to come through their doors for free help booking your next vacation. AAA Travel and Insurance is located in the Shops of Seville at 101st Street and Yale Avenue in south Tulsa.
BETH TURNER for GTR Newspapers
Travel might be best known for its roadside assistance offered through member services. However it doesn’t even take a membership to receive vacation assistance.
Even though his job is to promote Oklahoma, Danial Karnes has his own story of how his company is also his friend. “My wife and I took a trip to Disney when the airlines grounded all the MD80s. Luckily, I’d booked through Travel. I got an agent on it that took care of a hotel that night for us and booked us the next flight home. I didn’t have to do anything but wait on her call.” How much extra did this cost Karnes? “Nothing. This is a passion for our travel agents. You don’t pay a thing extra.”
A staple since the doors opened, Travel has been a convenient mainstay in the Shops of Seville at 101st and Yale. They are a full service division of Oklahoma. Full service means they are a one stop shop travel, insurance, memberships, including roadside services, trip routing, passport photos, theme park tickets, travel planning, maps, directions and much more.
invests in two types of travel experts including worldwide travel agents and auto travel counselors. “We call them counselors because a road trip is such a personal experience. They get to know you and get to know what you really want and what you really need.”
Oklahoma has been around as long as Oklahoma. First started as a non-profit organization, today Travel operates as not-for profit. “We do such a good job for people, we do make a profit these days,” says Karnes. “So, we pay taxes on that profit but then put it right back into the company so we can keep member rates low and continue lobbying for safer American roadways.” In fact, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin recently issued a proclamation declaring August as AAA’s “Schools’ Open, Drive Carefully” campaign. This reminds motorists to watch out for students returning to school this fall.
“We are also working on legislation to ban texting while driving,” says Karnes. Another road safety cause began in 1920 and is still going strong. It’s AAA’s Safety Patrol Program. More than 250 Oklahoma schools appoint deserving fifth grade students as extra eyes and ears before and after school.
These students watch out for the younger students on sidewalks, crosswalks and in general ensuring cars and kids don’t mix. This not only gives those fifth grade students pride in doing something worthwhile, it also save s lives.
Travel doesn’t just want to help make drivers safer, they want to ensure Oklahomans are protected against whatever happens. “Life, vehicle, home…we provide insurance for your lifestyle,” says Karnes. “Becoming a member is fee-based but it comes with incredible discount opportunities. And bundling your insurance with us brings you lower costs as well. We want to be there for you in your life during those times of trouble when your insurance is needed, and for those times of fun, when it’s time to book a vacation. We are in the business of helping people live better lives. It’s just what we do.”
Branch Manager Cindy Bailey of the Shops of Seville Travel, says there are numerous locations in the Tulsa area and is willing to help you locate a branch close to you. Bailey says give her a call at 918-296-9600 or just stop in, meet a travel agent and future friend, pick up a map for your next weekend getaway and tell them sent you.