SOURCE: AAA Texas

AAA Texas

March 11, 2011 14:29 ET

AAA Texas Poll: Spring Travel Continues Comeback From 2009

Survey Also Reveals Concerns About Gas Prices

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - Mar 11, 2011) - Spring break begins for many Texans this weekend, and almost the same percentage of local residents as last year have indicated they will take at least one spring trip, according to a new poll from AAA Texas.

The second annual AAA Texas Spring Break Poll also revealed that almost half of those who definitely plan to travel in March and April -- 47 percent -- will take more two or more overnight leisure trips 50 miles or more away from home.

Sixty-two percent of surveyed Texans said they plan to take at least one spring break trip this year, while 11 percent have not yet decided whether they will travel and 27 percent will not take a spring trip. In 2010, 62 percent said they planned to travel in March or April, 14 percent were undecided and 21 percent said they would not take a trip.

This year's primary method of spring break travel is almost unchanged from last year, according to the poll. Fifty-six percent plan to drive either using their own car or a rental, compared to 58 percent in 2010, and 36 percent plan to fly -- identical to last year.

Forty-seven percent of Texans taking a spring trip are planning to travel to a destination within the state, compared to 48 percent last year.

"We saw a strong start to 2011 in terms of members booking more tours and cruises with us, which is a continuation of the trend we saw in 2010," said Rhonda Wilson, vice president and general manager of AAA Texas. "Fortunately, even with the boom in travel, there are still sales on tours available for spring and summer and of course additional savings for AAA members."

The survey also asked Texans what gasoline price point would cause them to drastically reduce their driving. Twenty-two percent said $3 a gallon was the critical price point for them, while 25 percent said $3.50 and 24 percent said $4. Eleven percent stated they didn't know what price would cause them to cut back severely on driving. The current average Texas gas price is $3.42 a gallon for regular unleaded.

About half of those surveyed indicated that gas prices have already affected their budgets. The top actions that those surveyed have already taken in response to higher gas prices are:

  • Cutting back on unnecessary driving (81 percent)
  • Spending less on eating out at restaurants (46 percent)
  • Searching for discounts and specials on entertainment and travel (40 percent)
  • Spending less money on entertainment (36 percent)
  • Putting less money into savings (33 percent)
  • Spending less money on upcoming spring vacation(s) (30 percent)
  • Using a member discount program such as AAA (29 percent)
  • Not taking a spring vacation (20 percent)

The most popular cited method for saving money on this year's spring break travel is using an affinity discount program such as AAA to get cheaper hotel rates (35 percent of travelers), followed by taking a road trip instead of a plane trip (33 percent), staying at a less expensive hotel (31 percent), taking a shorter trip (28 percent), staying with friends or family instead of in a hotel (28 percent), reducing the shopping/souvenir budget (26 percent), choosing a trip destination closer to home (25 percent), redeeming points or frequent flier miles for airline ticket(s) (22 percent), and traveling domestically instead of internationally (20 percent).

The AAA Texas Spring Break Travel Poll was taken online from Feb. 14 to Feb. 22 by nearly 300 AAA Texas members and differences between 2011 and 2010 data were tested at a 95 percent confidence level. AAA Texas surveys its members each quarter on travel plans and related topics.

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