SOURCE: AAA New Mexico

AAA New Mexico

November 08, 2011 13:58 ET

AAA New Mexico Holiday Travel Poll: Less Spending, but Half Will Take at Least One Trip

ALBUQUERQUE, NM--(Marketwire - Nov 8, 2011) - Local consumers will be spending slightly less on their holiday trips this season, but are more likely than they were last year to take at least one overnight trip for the holidays in November and December, according to AAA New Mexico's Third Annual Winter Holiday Travel Poll.

Fifty-one percent of polled local residents said they plan on one or more holiday trips, compared to 48 percent last year, while 37 percent definitely won't take a trip (41 percent last year) and 12 percent are undecided (11 percent in 2010).

The 37 percent not taking a holiday trip cited several reasons, including:

  • High gas prices (40 percent)
  • Too many other expenses (39 percent)
  • Rising household expenses for items other than gas (31 percent)
  • Rising prices for travel (27 percent)

Of those who will be traveling in November and December, 58 percent plan to spend $1,000 or less on their getaways, compared to 56 percent last year who said they would spend under $1,000.

Forty-four percent of surveyed holiday travelers will take one trip in November or December, 45 percent will take two, and 11 percent will take three or more. Last year, 46 percent said they would take one trip, 41 percent were taking two, and 13 percent were taking three or more.

Many more New Mexico residents plan to visit family over this holiday season compared to last year (74 percent compared to 57 percent in 2010), while fewer local travelers will be sightseeing (34 percent vs. 67 percent last year), pursuing a hobby or sport (15 percent vs. 29 percent in 2010), or going to a spa or just relaxing (12 percent vs. 22 percent in 2010).

"We are seeing some price sensitivity on the part of travelers because of the economy and high gas prices, but we also see that travel is viewed as a high priority and people will continue to fit trips into their budgets however they can," said Ana Gonzalez, AAA New Mexico regional manager. "Fortunately, travel providers are recognizing this also and are offering many family budget-friendly deals and significant discounts for early bookings."

Of those polled who indicated they would travel this holiday season, 43 percent will take at least one trip within New Mexico, while 27 percent plan to visit Arizona, 26 percent will visit California, 21 percent will visit Colorado and 16 percent will visit Texas.

AAA New Mexico offers the following tips for saving on holiday travel:

  • If you fly to your destination, consider mailing holiday gifts ahead of time to avoid high baggage fees. Also, wrapped gifts can cause problems with the TSA screening process, so if you do bring gifts on the plane, wrap them at your destination.

  • The last-minute holiday deal is back for many travel providers because of lower demand due to the economy. To take advantage, do some online research or let a travel agent do it for you. Travel agents don't charge for their services, so you'll get the same price on the deal and also save time.

  • For long-distance road trips, plan your stops for gasoline with a tool like the AAA TripTik app for smartphones, which lists gas prices at stations all along your travel route. Price differences can be as much as 50 cents a gallon because gas stations near airports and key freeway locations may charge much higher prices, so it's worth it to shop around first.

  • Avoid speeding. It's tempting to drive 75 miles an hour or more on an open highway, but doing that on a long-distance road trip could cost you $20 to $30 more per day in wasted fuel.

AAA New Mexico's Holiday Travel Poll was conducted online by the AAA Marketing Research Department along with the Holiday Shopping Poll, which was released last week. The poll surveyed 314 AAA New Mexico members between Oct. 4 and Oct. 20. It has a margin of error of +/-5 percent and the differences between 2011 and 2010 results were tested for statistical significance at a 95 percent confidence level.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Sarah Schimmer
    (713)284-6552