AAA Alabama

November 12, 2010 04:05 ET

AAA Alabama Holiday Poll Shows More Spending on Travel, but Not on Gifts This Year

BIRMINGHAM, AL--(Marketwire - November 12, 2010) - Local residents plan to take more holiday trips and spend more on travel in November and December, but won't increase their holiday gift budgets compared to 2009, according to a new poll from AAA Alabama.

The second annual AAA Alabama Winter Holiday Shopping and Travel Poll revealed that local consumers intend to increase their budgets for at least one trip over the Thanksgiving-Christmas holidays, and are planning to spend slightly less on holiday gifts as they did in 2009.

Sixty-six percent of surveyed Alabama residents said they plan to take at least one holiday trip this year, compared to 52 percent last year, while 22 percent will definitely not travel -- an 11 percent decline from last year's non-travelers in the survey. When they answered the survey last month, 12 percent were still undecided about taking a holiday getaway compared to 15 percent who were undecided last year.

Among those planning to take a trip, 68 percent said they plan to spend at least $500 on the getaway, compared to 60 percent of travelers in 2009.

"While consumers are still feeling the effects of the recession in many areas of discretionary spending, members coming into our branches have been more willing this year to book formal vacations," said AAA Alabama spokesman Clay Ingram.

The top money-saving methods cited by surveyed Alabama travelers for their holiday trips were:

  • Driving rather than flying to their destinations (45 percent vs. 28 percent in 2009)
  • Using an affinity discount program such as AAA to get cheaper hotel rates (31 percent vs. 29 percent in 2009)
  • Staying with friends or family instead of in a hotel (30 percent vs. 27 percent in 2009)

During holiday shopping, 66 percent of surveyed Alabamans said they plan to spend at least $500 on gifts, compared to 65 percent last year. And while they are more likely to shop at a retail department store (72 percent vs. 66 percent in 2009) or at a luxury brand store (15 percent vs. 9 percent last year), they still plan to keep on the lookout for bargains they can receive via affinity programs such as AAA discounts (25 percent vs. 22 percent in 2009).

"Fewer consumers are planning to save money on gift shopping by seeking out free online shipping or using coupons," said Ingram. "However, they are still interested in saving money on both travel and shopping when discounts such as AAA are readily available."

Other changes in shopper and traveler habits compared to last year include:

  • Shoppers are more likely to buy apparel and accessories (73 percent vs. 68 percent), gift certificates (73 percent vs. 70 percent) or jewelry (40 percent vs. 27 percent) as holiday gifts

  • More shoppers say they are doing nothing differently to save money on holiday gifts (43 percent vs. 34 percent)

  • 27 percent of travelers plan to spend $1,500 or more on their holiday trip this year compared to 16 percent last year

  • Fewer holiday trips will involve visiting family (61 percent vs. 69 percent), but more travelers plan to visit friends (36 percent vs. 28 percent)

  • Like last year, 82 percent of holiday trips will be outside Alabama

The AAA Alabama Winter Holiday Travel and Shopping Poll was taken online by more than 200 AAA Alabama members between Oct. 4 and Oct. 19. Polled consumers were also surveyed about identity theft, and those results were released Nov. 4 at

Contact Information

    Clay Ingram
    (205) 978-7000 ext. 3223