If you want to save yourself the trip you can use a remote lab like Adorama. You upload your files and they ship you your prints. Easy!
I saw their new "Adorama Pix" tab on their website and tried them out of curiosity.
Adorama prints digital files on real Kodak dark-processed light-sensitive photo paper. I'm specific because some people also consider inkjet and dye-sub paper as photo paper. I don't, but hey, we all have our preferences.
It's easy to order prints from Adorama. I went here, signed in (they already recognized me from my hardware orders) and uploaded my shots.
In less than a week my two different orders showed up. The 5 x 7s were shipped in a study cardboard sleeve. The 12 x 18" prints were impressively packed inside a flat corrugated cardboard box. Inside that sturdy box the prints were shrink wrapped to another flat piece of corrugated cardboard. The prints were facing the cardboard, and a soft sheet of inert foam protected the glossy surface from the cardboard. Wow! I don't pack my shots that well myself.
An advantage of Adorama over most other online labs is that you just as easily can choose CORRECTIONS. Now real people, not algorithms, will look at your shots and make basic corrections to color or exposure. I've always hated automated corrections. Having real people look at the shots is much better. This human correction is unique with Adorama as far as I know, although I'm sure there are others. I've never seen a "corrections" check box on other sites.
There are tons of online labs. All the others I've tried I've taken advantage of their "10 prints free" offers and had the orders sent directly to my friends, so I haven't seen their results. I'm sure they're all quite good today.
Free Backup and Archive
An unexpected extra with Adorama, compared to my local Costco, is that Adorama archives my files. Adorama offers short term archiving, and up to 3 GB of eternal storage, free.
I love this, since when people see my prints I know that it will be trivial to order more from the archive stored at Adorama, even if my house burns down or if I'm on a dial-up connection in Bangladesh.
I'm paranoid about data backup, and this is one more place to store my valuable image files. You never can have your images backed up too often or in too many places. I worry more about losing them than I worry about anyone else copying them.
Different brands of paper give different looks. There is no best, it's what's best for you and what you're shooting.
I prefer Fuji for wild colors. Adorama uses Kodak paper, better for softer colors and people. Of course just as many people would argue the other way. The Kodak paper feels thicker than Fuji, although I haven't put my micrometer to it as I did for the wide angle lens box test.
Use whichever lab uses the paper you want for each job.