(LOS ANGELES – March 16, 2011) – Spring break begins for many Southern Californians in the coming weeks, and more than half of those responding to a new Automobile Club of Southern California poll say they will take at least one spring break trip this year.
The second annual Auto Club Spring Break Poll also revealed that nearly 40 percent of those who plan to travel in March and April will take two or more spring overnight leisure trips 50 miles or more away from home.
Fifty-five percent of surveyed Southland residents said they plan to take at least one spring break trip this year, while 13 percent have not yet decided whether they will travel and 32 percent will not take a spring trip. In 2010, 64 percent said they planned to travel in March or April, 12 percent were undecided and 24 percent said they would not take a trip.
Fifty-seven percent of surveyed Southern Californians taking a spring trip are planning to travel to a destination within the state, compared to 52 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 Filomena Andre, vice president for travel. “Fortunately, there are still sales on tours available for spring and summer and of course additional savings for AAA members.”
The survey also asked local residents what gasoline price point would cause them to drastically reduce their driving. Nineteen percent said $3.50 a gallon was the critical price point for them, while 33 percent said $4, nine percent said $4.50 and 11 percent said $5. Nine percent stated they didn’t know what price would cause them to cut back severely on driving. The current average California gas price is $3.96 a gallon for regular unleaded.
Sixty-four percent of those surveyed indicated that gas prices have already affected their overall household 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 (50 percent)
- Spending less money on entertainment (43 percent)
- Putting less money into savings (38 percent)
- Searching for discounts and specials on entertainment and travel (37 percent)
- Spending less money on upcoming spring vacation(s) (34 percent)
- Not taking a spring vacation (28 percent)
- Using a member discount program such as AAA (22 percent)
The most popular cited method for saving money on this year’s spring break travel is taking a road trip instead of a plane trip (35 percent), followed by using an affinity discount program such as AAA to get cheaper hotel rates (34 percent of travelers), choosing a trip destination closer to home (32 percent), staying with friends or family instead of in a hotel (31 percent), taking a shorter trip (30 percent), staying at a less expensive hotel (29 percent), reducing the shopping/souvenir budget (28 percent), traveling domestically instead of internationally (25 percent), reducing the trip budget for meals and snacks (23 percent), sharing trip costs with family/friends (22 percent) and reducing the entertainment budget for the trip (20 percent).
The Auto Club Spring Break Travel Poll was taken online from Feb. 14 to Feb. 22 by nearly 600 Auto Club members and differences between 2011 and 2010 data were tested at a 95 percent confidence level. The Auto Club surveys its members each quarter on travel plans and related topics.