HONOLULU, HI--(Marketwire - March 14, 2011) - Spring break begins today for many Hawaii residents, and most will likely continue their travel plans despite the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, according to AAA Hawaii. A new AAA Hawaii poll shows that seven percent of travelers have plans to go to Asia* over spring break, and that most travelers are planning relatively expensive spring break trips that they will be less likely to cancel.

The second annual AAA Hawaii Spring Break Poll revealed that 68 percent of spring break travelers plan to spend at least $1,500 on their trips, compared to 60 percent of travelers last year. Seventy-eight percent of travelers plan to take just one "big ticket" trip instead of two or more smaller overnight trips 50 miles or more away from home in March and April.

Forty-six percent of surveyed Hawaii residents said they plan to take at least one spring break trip this year, while seven percent tentatively have planned trips and 47 percent definitely will not travel. In 2010, 57 percent said they planned to travel in March or April, 13 percent had tentative plans and 30 percent said they would not take a trip.

Fewer travelers are planning to fly to their destinations this year compared to last year -- 84 percent vs. 93 percent in 2010, according to the poll. Another 13 percent of travelers plan to use a rental vehicle as their primary transportation this spring break.

 "Travelers may experience some disruption as a result of tsunami-related airline delays in Hawaii and Japan," said AAA Hawaii general manager Diane Peterson. "It's always a good idea to call ahead to make sure flights are not cancelled or delayed, and it could be particularly important this week."

Seven percent of travelers plan a spring trip to an Asian country*, while 63 percent will take a spring trip to another U.S. state and 32 percent plan a trip within Hawaii.**

The AAA Hawaii Spring Poll also asked Hawaii residents what gasoline price point would cause them to drastically reduce their driving. Thirteen percent said $3.50 a gallon was the critical price point for them, while 34 percent said $4, 11 percent said $4.50 and 18 percent said $5. Nine percent stated they didn't know what price would cause them to cut back severely on driving. The current average Hawaii gas price is $3.97 a gallon for regular unleaded.

Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed indicated that high 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 (83 percent)
  • Spending less on eating out at restaurants (49 percent)
  • Putting less money into savings (43 percent)
  • Spending less money on entertainment (38 percent)
  • Searching for discounts and specials on entertainment and travel (37 percent)
  • Using a member discount program such as AAA (34 percent)

The most popular cited method for saving money on this year's spring break travel is redeeming points or frequent flier miles for a free or discounted plane ticket (38 percent), followed by using an affinity discount program such as AAA to get cheaper hotel rates (34 percent), reducing the shopping/souvenir budget (30 percent), staying with friends or family instead of in a hotel (29 percent), reducing the vacation snack and meal budget (29 percent), staying at a less expensive hotel (29 percent), flying coach instead of business or first class (26 percent), redeeming points or frequent flier miles for a hotel stay (24 percent), traveling domestically instead of internationally (23 percent), taking a shorter trip (20 percent), reducing the entertainment budget for the trip (20 percent) and sharing vacation costs with family/friends (20 percent).

The AAA Hawaii Spring Break Travel Poll was taken online from Feb. 14 to Feb. 22 by nearly 275 AAA Hawaii members and differences between 2011 and 2010 data were tested at a 95 percent confidence level. AAA Hawaii surveys its members each quarter on travel plans and related topics.

*The percent of residents who specified Japan as a destination was statistically insignificant so it was not broken out in the poll.

**The destinations add up to more than 100 percent because respondents were asked to pick more than one destination if they plan more than one spring trip.

Contact Information:

Marie Montgomery
(714) 885-2333

Diane Peterson
(808) 529-5000