In tough economic times people look for ways to get away from it all without straining the family budget.

In tough economic times people look for ways to get away from it all without straining the family budget.

Delaware County's newest AAA office offers a way to make that search easier.

Last month AAA moved its office from the Delaware Square shopping center on U.S. Route 23 to the new Glennwood Square Shopping Center at the intersection of U.S. Route 36 and state Route 521, east of Delaware.

While the square footage of the two sites is about the same, sales manager Alison Mausser said, the layout is more user-friendly and encourages browsing by members and other customers. Instead of a back room where employees would go to find maps and tour books, those items are now on shelves in front, grouped by area: Ohio, United States and international.

"We took the store and turned it over to the members," Mausser said. Customers who aren't AAA members can use the store's services but won't get the member discount available on travel packages or travel store items.

Members and other customers are greeted when they enter the store and offered a cup of coffee, Mausser said. At tables and chairs throughout the store, customers can open a map or compare brochures.

It's what's on the walls, however, that many see as the best travel planning tool at the AAA office.

On one wall is a large map of Ohio and on the other is one of the United States.

Each map shows major roads and interstates with colorful magnets depicting destination points, including state and national parks, and other areas of interest. The national map has circles surrounding central Ohio, each with a 500-mile radius. Brochures and folding maps are within easy reach of each wall map.

People can stand in front of a wall map and envision a trip before opening the first brochure, Mausser said. For someone who wants to take a road trip within 500 miles of home, the national map allows them to see how far they can drive in any direction and what is located there.

Those planning a cross country trip can figure out how many days it will take them and where they should stop at the end of each day, she said. They can then find tour books and maps to help them discuss a trip with a AAA travel agent

Beyond travel services and the travel store, the new AAA office has added a full-service insurance agency which offers home, auto and life insurance, as well as specialized services such as wedding insurance.

The Delaware AAA office is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.