Auto Club Survey: Despite Record Gas Prices, Summer Vacations Aren't On The Chopping Block

Travel

(LOS ANGELES, June 24, 2008)Despite record gas prices and concerns about the economy, a majority of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s members are planning to take at least the same amount of vacation trips this summer compared to last year, and 90 percent will make at least one out-of-town getaway, according to a new survey by the Auto Club.

The survey showed that 41 percent of Auto Club members plan to travel about the same amount this summer as last year, while 26 percent plan to take more trips than last year and 33 percent expect to take fewer trips.

“Record gas prices are definitely having an impact on our members, but summer vacations are still very important to them,” said Bob Kane, the Auto Club’s vice president for district office operations. “People are finding ways to continue traveling.”

Three-quarters of surveyed members stated that they expected to spend about the same amount or more on travel compared to last summer, while 25 percent said they expected to spend less. When asked why they expected to spend less, 85 percent of the latter group cited high gas prices as their primary reason.

Nearly ninety percent of Auto Club members surveyed said they plan to take at least one leisure trip this summer, while 11 percent are not planning any trips.

When asked where they will be taking their next summer trip, other California cities were the most popular destinations, followed by Las Vegas, Florida and the East Coast.

Auto Club members stated that the destination was the most important factor in planning their next trip, followed by cost, the available entertainment/recreation activities, the ease of reaching the destination and the recommendation of a friend or relative.

More than half of summer travelers said they planned to spend more than $1,000 on their next summer trip, while 31 percent expected to spend between $500 and $1,000, and 14 percent expected to spend less than $500.

Regarding the length of the trip, forty-two percent of surveyed members said their next trip will last between four and seven days, while 23 percent said the next trip will last three days or less, 22 percent said it would last between one and two weeks, and 12 percent planned a trip of more than two weeks.

Nearly one-fourth of travelers planned to go with a large group of friends or family (four or more) on their next journey, while 28 percent planned to travel with one other person, and 21 percent said they would travel with two other people.

Southern California survey results were taken from a survey of more than 1,200 AAA members in Southern California, Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii that was conducted between May 13 and June 2. On the survey, a “trip” was defined as one with a distance at least 50 miles away from home and involving an overnight stay.

More information about summer travel deals – and free maps and TourBook information for Auto Club members – is available at any of the 75 Auto Club offices throughout Southern California. Auto Club online travel planning is also available.