SOURCE: AAA Northern New England

AAA Northern New England

November 12, 2009 15:25 ET

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

PORTLAND, ME--(Marketwire - November 12, 2009) - Despite continued economic challenges, 88 percent of Northern New England residents who plan to travel over the November and December holidays say they won't cut their travel budgets this year because of the economy, according to a new poll conducted by the AAA Market Research Department.

The online survey of AAA Northern New England members, which includes residents of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, also found that 47 percent of those planning trips say they'll spend less than $500 on holiday travel, while 68 percent plan to spend $1,000 or less.

More than half of those polled (56 percent) said they will definitely not take an overnight trip at least 50 miles from home this holiday season, and another 14 percent are still undecided about whether they will travel. Among those who say they definitely won't travel, 24 percent cited the economy as a major or sizeable influence on their decision, while 56 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 Northern New England spokesman Pat Moody. "For example, 21 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 (27 percent)
2)   Using an affinity program such as AAA discounts to save money on a
     hotel (21 percent)
3)   Reducing shopping/souvenir budget (20 percent)
4)   Traveling by car instead of by air (17 percent)
5)   Staying in a less expensive hotel (17 percent)
6)   Sharing costs with friends or family (17 percent)
7)   Taking a shorter vacation (13 percent)
8)   Redeeming loyalty points/miles for free/reduced cost plane fare
     (13 percent)
9)   Redeeming loyalty points/miles for free/reduced cost hotel stay
     (11 percent)
10)  Reducing budget for meals/snacks on the trip (10 percent)

The most popular activities during holiday trips, according to the poll, are visiting family (62 percent), celebrating the holiday (36 percent), visiting friends (28 percent), sightseeing (25 percent), shopping (21 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 (68 percent), traveling within their state (27 percent), going to a tropical destination (13 percent), traveling internationally (nine percent) and going to a gambling destination such as Atlantic City (four percent).

The travel poll was part of a survey that also asked Northern New England 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 Northern New England office.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Pat Moody
    (207) 780-6916