BIRMINGHAM, AL--(Marketwire - Mar 11, 2011) - Spring break begins for many Alabamans this weekend, and about the same percentage of local residents as last year -- 76 percent -- have tentative or definite plans for at least one March or April trip, according to a new poll from AAA Alabama.

The second annual AAA Alabama Spring Break Poll also revealed that almost half of those who definitely plan to travel in March and April -- 48 percent -- will take more two or more overnight leisure trips 50 miles or more away from home.

Sixty-two percent of surveyed Alabamans said they plan to take at least one spring break trip this year, while 14 percent tentatively have planned trips and 24 percent definitely will not travel. In 2010, 72 percent said they planned to travel in March or April, eight percent had tentative plans and 20 percent said they would not take a trip.

Fewer travelers are planning to fly to their destinations this year compared to last year -- 21 percent vs. 28 percent in 2010, according to the poll. Sixty-eight percent plan to drive either using their own car or a rental, compared to 64 percent in 2010.

"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 AAA Alabama spokesperson Clay Ingram. "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 Alabamans what gasoline price point would cause them to drastically reduce their driving. Twenty percent said $3 a gallon was the critical price point for them, while 26 percent said $3.50 and 24 percent said $4. Nine percent stated they didn't know what price would cause them to cut back severely on driving. The current average Alabama gas price is $3.43 a gallon for regular unleaded.

Sixty percent 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 (70 percent)
  • Spending less on eating out at restaurants (52 percent)
  • Spending less money on entertainment (40 percent)
  • Searching for discounts and specials on entertainment and travel (36 percent)
  • Putting less money into savings (34 percent)
  • Spending less money on upcoming spring vacation(s) (30 percent)
  • Not taking a spring vacation (28 percent)
  • Using a member discount program such as AAA (21 percent)

The most popular cited method for saving money on this year's spring break travel is taking a road trip instead of a train trip (35 percent of travelers), followed by using an affinity discount program such as AAA to get cheaper hotel rates (31 percent), taking a shorter trip (29 percent), staying with friends or family instead of in a hotel (27 percent), staying at a less expensive hotel (26 percent), choosing a trip destination closer to home (26 percent), reducing the shopping/souvenir budget (25 percent), traveling domestically instead of internationally (22 percent), reducing the vacation snack and meal budget (21 percent), redeeming points or frequent flier miles for a hotel stay (19 percent), and sharing vacation costs with family/friends (19 percent).

The AAA Alabama Spring Break Travel Poll was taken online from Feb. 14 to Feb. 22 by nearly 250 AAA Alabama members and differences between 2011 and 2010 data were tested at a 95 percent confidence level. AAA Alabama surveys its members each quarter on travel plans and related topics.

Contact Information:

Clay Ingram
(editors note: Clay is on spring break vacation and may only be available for phone interviews)