Poll shows majority of holiday travelers say economic concerns will affect upcoming trips
10/16/2008|10:49:00 AM|Ehotelier
Oct 15, 08 | According to the latest poll from Travelocity, 66 percent of respondents say concerns about the economy will affect their holiday travel plans. Despite their worries, 78 percent plan to travel for at least one of the upcoming holidays.  When compared to last year, poll findings revealed a significant change in how travelers are getting to their destinations: 12 percent fewer respondents are opting to drive to their holiday destinations while only 2 percent more people said they would fly.
Despite worries about the economy, 62 percent of all poll respondents are even planning a leisure trip in addition to their holiday plans. Of the respondents who are not traveling this holiday season, 52 percent will be hosting a holiday celebration at their home, perhaps bringing relatives and loved ones to them.  For non-travelers, 19 percent of holiday plans don´t involve travel because it´s too expensive this year.

"With so many people still planning to travel, it proves that in a post 9/11 world most people are resilient and not willing to abandon what they love," says Amy Ziff, Travelocity editor-at-large. "Clearly there are those who are making adjustments, but for many, ‘where there is a will, there is a way´ to take their vacation.  This trend is surprisingly similar across all income brackets."

Respondents with an annual household income above $150,000 are far more likely to travel by plane this Thanksgiving, but income was less of a factor for travel during the December holiday period.  Respondents with a household income under $75,000 are most likely to be impacted by the economy and least likely to travel for a winter vacation. 

Despite industry-wide warnings, 65 percent of respondents who plan to travel for the holidays still have not booked. Forty percent say they´re holding out for lower fares, which is likely to be challenging given capacity cuts, fuel surcharges and the peak travel period .  This year also brings fees that were not a factor last holiday season. Just which of the fees are considered most offensive by travelers?  According to the poll: 

· 12 percent of travelers will avoid travel whenever possible based on the new fees

· 15 percent will consider alternate forms of transportation when booking as a result of new fees

· 88 percent think the first-checked-bag fee is unreasonable

· 59 percent think the second-checked-bag fee is unreasonable

· 41 percent will pack light to avoid paying additional baggage fees

"For all of the travelers who are holding out for lower fares, the time to buy is now," says Ziff. "We anticipate that actual airfares aren´t going to drop any time soon, but you can make up the difference if you buy something on sale or in a package."

Travelocity experts can offer a few tips on how to find the best value this holiday season:

· Book as early as possible to be sure to lock in a good price, as there are fewer available seats this holiday season

· Search flexible dates and consider similar, alternate destinations to get the best value

· Look for promotions and freebies, such as airport transfers, free breakfasts and big discounts from hoteliers happening right now

· Buy a package on Travelocity where you can save an average of $240 per couple by booking your flight and hotel together