SOURCE: AAA New Mexico

AAA New Mexico

November 12, 2009 15:25 ET

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

ALBUQUERQUE, NM--(Marketwire - November 12, 2009) - Despite continuing economic challenges, 85 percent of New Mexico 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 Market Research Department.

The online survey of AAA New Mexico members also found that 34 percent of those planning trips say they'll spend less than $500 on holiday travel, while 60 percent plan to spend $1,000 or less.

Nearly half (46 percent) of all those polled said they will definitely not take an overnight trip at least 50 miles from home this holiday season, and another 15 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 45 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 AAA New Mexico Corporate Communications Manager Dan Ronan. "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."

Other 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 (33 percent)
2)   Traveling by car instead of by air (30 percent)
3)   Cutting the vacation entertainment budget (25 percent)
4)   Reducing shopping/souvenir budget (22 percent)
5)   Taking a shorter vacation (22 percent)
6)   Reducing budget for meals/snacks on the trip (21 percent)
7)   Redeeming loyalty points/miles for free/reduced cost hotel stay
     (18 percent)
8)   Taking a trip closer to home (17 percent)
9)   Staying in a less expensive hotel (16 percent)
10)  Sharing costs with friends or family (16 percent)

The most popular activities during holiday trips, according to the poll, are visiting family (55 percent), sightseeing (48 percent), celebrating the holiday (39 percent), visiting friends (34 percent), spa/relaxation (19 percent), maintaining a family tradition of traveling during the holidays (18 percent) and shopping (14 percent).

Of the New Mexicans planning to take at least one holiday trip the rest of this year, the most popular destinations included traveling out of state (68 percent), traveling within New Mexico (27 percent), traveling internationally (11 percent), going to a gambling destination such as Las Vegas (seven percent), going to a tropical destination (seven percent) and going to an amusement park (six percent).

The travel poll was part of a survey that also asked New Mexico 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 and other travel is available at AAA.com/save or at any AAA New Mexico branch office, where members can get the new Member Saver booklet outlining discounts and special offers for members.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Dan Ronan
    (469) 221-8217
    Sarah Schimmer
    (713) 284-6552