ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - November 12, 2010) - Local residents plan to take more trips and spend more on their travel, but will hold the line on their gift shopping budgets during the November and December holidays compared to 2009, according to a new poll from AAA Missouri.

The second annual AAA Missouri 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 visit tourism destinations, and plan to spend about the same on holiday gifts as in 2009.

Forty-eight percent of surveyed local residents said they plan to take at least one holiday trip this year, compared to 42 percent last year, while 42 percent will definitely not travel -- a four percent decline from last year's non-travelers in the survey. When they answered the survey last month, 12 percent were still undecided about taking a holiday getaway compared to 10 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 57 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 Missouri Vice President Mike Right.

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

  • Staying with friends or family instead of in a hotel (40 percent, the same as in 2009)
  • Driving rather than flying to their destinations (32 percent vs. 29 percent in 2009)
  • Using an affinity discount program such as AAA to get cheaper hotel rates (31 percent vs. 25 percent in 2009)

During holiday shopping, 56 percent of surveyed Missouri consumers said they plan to spend at least $500 on gifts -- almost the same as last year's 55 percent. Local consumers also don't plan to change much about the types of gifts they purchase or where they purchase them. And they are slightly more likely to be on the lookout for bargains they can receive via affinity programs such as AAA discounts (20 percent vs. 17 percent in 2009).

Other poll data includes:

  • Shoppers' top holiday gift items are gift cards/gift certificates (68 percent), apparel and accessories (65 percent), books (53 percent) and toys (48 percent) -- identical to last year's top gift categories. 

  • 38 percent of consumers plan to spend between $100 and $500 on holiday gifts, and another 38 percent will spend between $500 and $1,000

  • More holiday trips will involve sightseeing (34 percent vs. 28 percent)

  • 61 percent of travelers will use their own vehicle on their longest November/December holiday trip, while 28 percent plan to fly and 5 percent plan to take a cruise.

The AAA Missouri Winter Holiday Travel and Shopping Poll was taken online by more than 300 AAA 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:

Mike Right
(314) 523-7350 ext. 6300