SOURCE: AAA Missouri

AAA Missouri

November 12, 2009 15:25 ET

AAA Missouri Holiday Travel Poll Shows Economy's Effect on Residents' Trip Plans, Budgets

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - November 12, 2009) - Despite continuing economic challenges, 88 percent of local residents who plan to travel over the November and December holidays say they will spend the same amount or more on their upcoming holiday getaways, according to a new poll conducted by the AAA Missouri Market Research Department.

The online survey of AAA Missouri members, who include residents of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, also found that 43 percent of those planning trips say they'll spend less than $500 on holiday travel, while 62 percent plan to spend $1,000 or less.

Nearly half of those polled (46 percent) said they will definitely not take an overnight trip at least 50 miles from home this holiday season, and another 12 percent are still undecided about whether they will travel. Among those who say they definitely won't travel, 27 percent cited the economy as a major or sizeable influence on their decision, while 50 percent said it had little to no influence on deciding not to travel.

"We will find out in the next few weeks whether to expect an increase or decrease in Thanksgiving and December holiday travel compared to last year's holidays, but we do see many local travelers seeking ways to save money and taking advantage of travel bargains created by the economic downturn to get even more for their money," said Mike Right, AAA Missouri vice president for public affairs. "For example, 25 percent of our members in this poll said they plan to use an affinity program such as AAA Discounts to get reduced hotel rates."

Popular ways that holiday travelers in the poll said they planned to save money on their upcoming trips included:

1)   Staying with friends/family instead of a hotel (40 percent)
2)   Traveling by car instead of by air (29 percent)
3)   Using an affinity program like AAA Discounts to reduce hotel rates
     (25 percent)
4)   Reducing budget for meals/snacks on the trip (19 percent)
5)   Reducing shopping/souvenir budget (19 percent)
6)   Taking a shorter vacation (14 percent)
7)   Cutting the vacation entertainment budget (13 percent)
8)   Sharing costs with friends or family (12 percent)
9)   Redeeming loyalty points/miles for free/reduced cost hotel stay
     (11 percent)
10)  Taking a trip closer to home (10 percent)
11)  Staying in a less expensive hotel (10 percent)

The most popular activities during holiday trips, according to the poll, are visiting family (77 percent), celebrating the holidays (46 percent), shopping (33 percent), visiting friends (29 percent), sightseeing (28 percent), and maintaining a family tradition of traveling during the holidays (14 percent).

Of the local residents planning to take at least one holiday trip the rest of this year, the most popular destinations included traveling out of state (76 percent), traveling within their home state (28 percent), going to an amusement park (seven percent), going to a tropical destination (four percent), and traveling internationally (four percent).

The travel poll was part of a survey that also asked local consumers about their overall holiday shopping plans. The shopping portion of the poll revealed that most consumers don't plan to cut back on the number of people on their holiday gift lists, but a majority of them do plan to cut their holiday shopping budgets this year.

More information about AAA discounts on lodgings, restaurants, other travel services and everyday needs is available at or at any AAA office.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Mike Right
    (314) 523-7350 ext. 6300