IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - Nov 8, 2011) - High gas prices are a concern, but local consumers say they will spend the same on holiday trips this season and are about as likely as they were last year to take at least one overnight trip for the holidays in November and December, according to the AAA Texas Third Annual Winter Holiday Travel Poll.
Fifty-six percent of polled local residents said they plan on one or more holiday trips, compared to 57 percent last year, while 34 percent definitely won't take a trip (31 percent last year) and 10 percent are undecided (12 percent in 2010).
The 34 percent not taking a holiday trip cited several reasons, including:
- Too many other expenses (42 percent)
- High gas prices (36 percent)
- Rising prices for travel (31 percent)
- Rising household expenses for items other than gas (28 percent)
Of those who will be traveling in November and December, 62 percent plan to spend $1,000 or less on their getaways, compared to 61 percent last year who said they would spend under $1,000.
Fifty-one percent of surveyed holiday travelers will take one trip in November or December, 35 percent will take two, and 14 percent will take three or more. Last year, 49 percent said they would take one trip, 36 percent were taking two, and 16 percent were taking three or more.
The most popular holiday trip activities stayed about the same as last year -- visiting family (62 percent) and celebrating the holiday (41 percent).
"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 AAA Texas spokesperson Sarah Schimmer. "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, 54 percent will take at least one trip within Texas, while 14 percent plan to visit California, 11 percent will visit Florida, and 11 percent will visit Louisiana.
AAA Texas 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 GasBuddy.com or 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. Visit http://mpgforspeed.com to use a cost calculator showing how much fuel costs you at various highway speeds.
The AAA Texas 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 347 AAA Texas 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.