AAA Texas Poll: Most Texans Sticking With Summer Travel Plans, but Caution May Affect Back-to-School Shopping

SOURCE: AAA Texas

IRVING, TX–(Marketwire – August 6, 2010) – Most Texans have not cut back on their summer vacation plans so far this year and are planning to take the same number or more trips in the next three months as they did during August through October of 2009, according to a new survey released by AAA Texas.

The AAA Texas Fall Travel and Spending Poll also revealed that about half of back-to-school shoppers feel more confident or have the same comfort level as last year about buying back-to-school items like clothing and supplies. Twenty-seven percent of shoppers with school-age children stated they are more hesitant to spend money on school-related items than they were last year.

Among travelers, 90 percent of those polled indicated they took the same number or more trips in June and July than they had originally planned, while 10 percent stated they had cut back on their number of summer vacations this year.

For their upcoming travel plans, 80 percent said they plan to take the same number or more vacation trips this August through October compared to the same time period last year. Also, 77 percent said they plan to spend the same amount or more on travel this August through October compared to last year, while 23 percent say they will spend less.

Just 12 percent of those surveyed stated that lower costs were their primary reason for vacationing from August through October, while 25 percent said they will travel during that time because of better weather and another 25 percent said they’re traveling in the next three months mainly because it will be less crowded.

“We continue to see signs of a slow recovery in travel,” said Rhonda Wilson, AAA Texas vice president and general manager. “However, while travelers are getting back on the road, they continue to be sensitive about getting the best deals and the most value for their vacation dollars.”

Some cautious attitudes toward spending also hold true for many back-to-school shoppers, according to the survey. Twenty-four percent of polled back-to-school shoppers said they don’t plan to do anything differently to save money on school-related purchases, but most shoppers say they will use multiple ways to save, including:

  • Shopping at discount stores or outlets — 40 percent
  • Searching for discounts or sales online — 36 percent
  • Only buying items that are on sale — 31 percent
  • Using more coupons — 27 percent
  • Reusing existing school supplies — 27 percent
  • Choosing less expensive stores to shop in — 26 percent
  • Purchasing fewer items overall — 20 percent

“The poll also revealed prevailing attitudes about back-to-school shopping, and showed that 37 percent of consumers view it as just another chore, 28 percent feel back-to-school shopping is time-consuming, 27 percent say it’s stressful, and 25 percent say it’s frustrating,” said Denise Bialek, manager of the AAA discounts program. “When value for each dollar spent is so important, we know that our members increasingly look to us to help them save money, and fortunately many of our discounts apply to back-to-school shopping.”

Polled back-to-school shoppers indicated they would spend money in the following categories:

  • Clothing — 67 percent
  • School supplies — 63 percent
  • Shoes — 54 percent
  • Books — 45 percent
  • Computer equipment — 22 percent
  • Prescription eyewear — 16 percent
  • Cell phone plans and accessories — 13 percent
  • Dorm room supplies — 12 percent

AAA Texas member discounts include online purchases at Target.com (use AAA.com/Target), Barnes and Noble.com (AAA.com/BarnesandNoble), Dell Computers (AAA.com/Dell) and Shoes.com (AAA.com/Shoes). For in-store shopping, members get discounts at Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Store, Payless ShoeSource, LensCrafters, Sears Optical, Target Optical and at several Texas outlet shopping centers. Visit AAA.com/discounts for more details.

The online survey of AAA Texas members was taken from July 20 through July 26 and has a margin of error of +/- 5.6 percent.

Contact:
Dan Ronan
(469) 583-7070 (cell)
Sarah Schimmer
(713) 284-6552
Marie Montgomery
(714) 885-2333

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