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Half of Southern Californians plan holiday trips, Auto Club says

A survey of Auto Club members found that 49% are planning one or more trips during the November and December holidays, up from 47% a year earlier. Sixty percent of respondents said they would spend $1,000 or less, up from 52% a year earlier.

November 09, 2011|By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times

Southern Californians are as likely to travel during the holidays this month and next as they were last year but more plan to keep their spending under $1,000, according to an Automobile Club of Southern California survey of its members.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they planned to take one or more holiday trips, up from 47% last year, according to a survey of 557 Auto Club members released Tuesday. About 60% of households in the region have club members, an Auto Club spokeswoman said.

The survey did not ask whether travelers planned to fly or drive for the holidays.

Of those who plan to travel, 60% said they would spend no more than $1,000 on their trips, up from 52% of travelers last year, according to the survey.

"We are definitely seeing more price sensitivity on the part of travelers because of the economy and high gas prices," said Auto Club Vice President Filomena Andre. "But we also see that travel is viewed as a high priority and people will continue to fit trips into their budgets however they can."

According to another survey in October, Americans who plan to travel for the holidays expect to spend up to 43% more this year.

The survey of more than 2,000 Americans, commissioned by American Express, found that the percentage of those planning to travel for the holidays will be about the same as last year. But that survey found that travelers expect to spend about $659 on holiday travel this year, an increase of $200, or 43%, over last year.

Among Southern Californians, 39% of those surveyed by the Auto Club said they won't travel for the holidays, up from 37% last year. Of those who won't travel, the most common reasons included high gasoline prices and other rising expenses, the survey said.

The survey also found a sharp drop in the number of travelers who planned to sightsee during the holidays. Of those Auto Club members who were surveyed, 28% said they plan to sightsee this year, compared with 42% in 2010.

The most popular holiday activities for travelers this year are visiting family (64%), celebrating the holidays (42%) and visiting friends (34%), the survey found.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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