IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - November 12, 2010) - Texans plan to take more holiday trips in November and December and spend more on travel, but will tighten their holiday gift budgets compared to 2009, according to a new poll from AAA Texas.

The second annual AAA 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, are more likely to shop on their holiday trips, and are less likely to spend at least $500 on holiday gifts than they were in 2009.

Fifty-seven percent of surveyed Texans said they plan to take at least one holiday trip this year, compared to 49 percent last year, while 31 percent will definitely not travel -- a seven percent decline from last year's non-travelers in the survey. When they answered the survey last month, 14 percent were still undecided about taking a holiday getaway compared to 12 percent who were undecided last year.

Among those planning to take a trip, 72 percent said they plan to spend at least $500 on the getaway, compared to 59 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 much more willing this year to book formal vacations," said AAA Texas Vice President and Regional Manager Rhonda Wilson.

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

  • Driving rather than flying to their destinations (40 percent vs. 29 percent in 2009)
  • Using an affinity discount program such as AAA to get cheaper hotel rates (40 percent vs. 26 percent in 2009)
  • Staying with friends or family instead of in a hotel (33 percent vs. 35 percent in 2009)

During holiday shopping, 43 percent of surveyed Texans said they plan to spend at least $500 on gifts, compared to 56 percent last year. However, they are less likely to buy gifts at discount stores (69 percent vs. 77 percent in 2009). They still plan to keep on the lookout for bargains they can receive via affinity programs such as AAA discounts (19 percent vs. 23 percent in 2009).

"Fewer consumers are planning to save money on gift shopping by seeking out free online shipping or using coupons," said Wilson. "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 less likely to buy gift cards or gift certificates (58 percent vs. 68 percent), DVDs or videos (34 percent vs. 47 percent), toys (32 percent vs. 49 percent) or consumer electronics (27 percent vs. 37 percent) as holiday gifts

  • Shoppers are more likely to purchase books (59 percent vs. 50 percent) or flowers and cards (17 percent vs. 13 percent) as gifts

  • More shoppers say they are doing nothing differently to save money on holiday gifts (45 percent vs. 28 percent)

  • 39 percent of travelers plan to spend $1,500 or more on their holiday trip this year compared to 32 percent last year

  • Holiday travelers are more likely to visit a destination within Texas (46 percent vs. 40 percent)

  • More holiday trips will include shopping as a major activity (25 percent vs. 18 percent)

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