SOURCE: AAA New Mexico

AAA New Mexico

November 12, 2010 04:05 ET

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

ALBUQUERQUE, NM--(Marketwire - November 12, 2010) - Local residents plan to take more holiday trips and spend slightly 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 New Mexico.

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

Forty-eight percent of surveyed New Mexico residents said they plan to take at least one holiday trip this year, compared to 39 percent last year, while 41 percent will definitely not travel -- a five percent decline from last year's non-travelers in the survey. When they answered the survey last month, 11 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, 70 percent said they plan to spend at least $500 on the getaway, compared to 66 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 Ana Gonzalez, AAA New Mexico regional manager.

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

  • Driving rather than flying to their destinations (53 percent vs. 30 percent in 2009)
  • Traveling within the U.S. instead of internationally (49 percent vs. 13 percent in 2009)
  • Using an affinity discount program such as AAA to get cheaper hotel rates (44 percent vs. 25 percent in 2009)

During holiday shopping, 38 percent of surveyed New Mexicans said they plan to spend at least $500 on gifts, compared to 34 percent last year. They also plan to shop around more for gifts, with 74 percent planning to shop at discount stores compared to 67 percent last year, and 57 percent planning to shop at department stores compared to 49 percent in 2009. They still plan to keep on the lookout for bargains they can receive via affinity programs such as AAA discounts (18 percent vs. 19 percent in 2009).

"Fewer consumers are planning to save money on gift shopping by seeking out free online shipping or doing price comparison research," said Gonzalez. "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 books (63 percent vs. 54 percent) or flowers and cards (18 percent vs. 12 percent) as holiday gifts, but don't plan to change their shopping habits in other product categories

  • More shoppers say they are doing nothing differently to save money on holiday gifts (45 percent vs. 34 percent)

  • 19 percent of travelers plan to spend $1,500 or more on their holiday trip this year compared to 26 percent last year

  • More holiday trips will involve sightseeing (57 percent vs. 48 percent), shopping (23 percent vs. 14 percent) or pursuing a hobby or sport (29 percent vs. 10 percent)

  • More holiday trips will be outside New Mexico (86 percent vs. 68 percent)

The AAA New Mexico Winter Holiday Travel and Shopping Poll was taken online by more than 200 AAA New Mexico 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

    Dan Ronan
    (469) 221-8217