November 12, 2009 15:25 ET

AAA Texas Holiday Travel Poll Shows Economy's Effect on Texans' Trip Plans, Budgets

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - November 12, 2009) - Despite continuing economic challenges, 64 percent of Texas 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 Texas Market Research Department.

The online survey of more than 500 Texans, which included both AAA members and non-members, also found that 42 percent of those planning trips say they'll spend less than $500 on holiday travel, while 70 percent plan to spend $1,000 or less.

More than half (58 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 14 percent are still undecided about whether they will travel. Among those who say they definitely won't travel, 36 percent cited the economy as a major or sizeable influence on their decision, while 34 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 Texas Corporate Communications Manager Dan Ronan. "For example, 29 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)   Traveling by car instead of by air (35 percent)
2)   Staying with friends/family instead of a hotel (33 percent)
3)   Reducing shopping/souvenir budget (26 percent)
4)   Staying in a less expensive hotel (23 percent)
5)   Reducing budget for meals/snacks on the trip (23 percent)
6)   Taking a trip closer to home (21 percent)
7)   Sharing costs with friends or family (21 percent)
8)   Redeeming loyalty points/miles for free/reduced cost hotel stay
     (15 percent)
9)   Cutting the vacation entertainment budget (12 percent)
10)  Traveling within the U.S. instead of to another country (12 percent)

The most popular activities during holiday trips, according to the poll, are visiting family (63 percent), celebrating the holiday (47 percent), visiting friends (47 percent), sightseeing (26 percent), shopping (18 percent), and maintaining a family tradition of traveling during the holidays (15 percent).

Of the Texans planning to take at least one holiday trip the rest of this year, the most popular destinations included traveling out of state (49 percent), traveling within Texas (44 percent), going to a gambling destination such as Las Vegas (18 percent), traveling internationally (five percent), going to an amusement park (four percent) and going to a tropical destination (four percent).

The travel poll was part of a survey that also asked Texas 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 or at any AAA Texas 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